Is 'Cocaine' legal alternative to drugs?

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London, Jul 5 (UNI) How about Cocaine becoming a ''legal alternative'' to drugs? Don't be surprised as a new energy drink named Cocaine, billed a legal alternative to the Class A drug, is soon going to be on shelves. The 8.4 fluid ounce energy booster has no actual cocaine but does pack 280 milligrams of caffeine-- three times more than its rival Red Bull.

The anti-drugs charities have, however, accused the drink's makers of ''cynical and irresponsible'' marketing which could tempt young people in trying drugs.

Alcohol groups are also likely to protest against the drink as fears grow about the effects of high caffeine drinks on young drinkers.

DrugScope director Harry Shapiro said, ''This is clearly a piece of cynical and irresponsible marketing. However, I hope people will not be fooled by it.'' ''They have obviously picked this name because it is a high energy stimulant drink and there are other high energy stimulants out there -- cocaine being one of them.'' David Raynes of the UK National Drug Prevention Alliance said it was a cynical tactic of exploiting illegal drugs for their own benefit.

''The fact is that subliminally it is making the image of drug use cool and that's what kids want to be-- COOL. Kids will be drinking Cocaine and will inevitably link the two. The drink is relatively innocuous, but they will be linking it with cocaine use and the market, which is far from innocuous.'' However, the manufacturers stated, ''It is going to create controversy, but that's the beauty of this name. Moreover, You've got products like the perfumes Charlie and Opium and they're fine.'' UNI XC SYU PM1136

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