Makers of caffeinated, high-alcohol drink halt production in wake of teen’s death

The Quebec company behind a caffeinated, high-alcohol drink, called FCKD UP, has announced it will halt production following the death of a 14-year-old girl last week in Laval.  Geloso Group co-chair Aldo Geloso released a statement Sunday night saying he had ordered employees to “immediately cease production of the FCKD UP drink.”

The drink has an alcohol rate of 11.9 per cent.

Athena Gervais, 14, was found dead last Thursday behind her school in Fabreville. Her body was found in a stream behind her high school in Fabreville, in northwest Laval.  Police are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if she had been drinking. Investigators have said alcohol may have been a factor.

Quebec convenience store chain Couche-Tard said last Friday the drink would no longer be sold at its stores.

Health experts have criticized the makers of FCKD UP, claiming that Groupe Geloso was deliberately marketing to teenagers who are ill-prepared to handle the drink’s effects.

The statement from Geloso Group made numerous references to a similar drink — Four Loko.  “Last year, a foreign competitor introduced in Quebec a sweetened alcoholic beverage at 11.9 per cent (the maximum allowed for a malt product) named Four Loko, a first of its kind on the Quebec market,” the statement read.  It said the company was initially reluctant to introduce a competitor to Four Loko but that it decided to “compete with this American company that came to install itself on our territory.”

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