Sept. 18, 2006 -- -- Most people know what cocaine is, and now Redux Beverages in Las Vegas is offering what it calls a "legal alternative" to the illegal drug in form of an energy drink.
Jamey Kirby, the drink's inventor, says the name for the drink -- Cocaine -- came to him during a brainstorming session at 1 o'clock in the morning.
"It's an energy drink, and it's a fun name," says Kirby. "As soon as people look at the can, they smile."
Kirby says Redux wanted to make a beverage that would send a sensation to the mouth. He describes Cocaine, the new beverage, as a "fruity, atomic fireball" drink.
The 8.4 fluid ounce energy booster has no actual cocaine in it, but it does contain 280 milligrams of caffeine. According to the company's Web site, the only way to get more caffeine per ounce is with an espresso.
"It's just a bad idea and has all the same downsides of too much caffeine plus a very bad name," says Dr. Charles O'Brien a professor and vice chairman of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
The beverage is marketed to give a person a "high" coupled with a tingly euphoric feeling within five minutes of drinking it. That initial boost is followed 15 minutes later by an energy buzz that will last five to six hours, according to the company.
Kirby claims Cocaine is "350 percent stronger than Red Bull" but that people do not experience the "sugar crash" or jitters that he says some of the other energy drinks can produce.
Kirby confesses that a "throat-numbing" ingredient is added to the drink to emulate its namesake, but he won't divulge the identity of that add-in, saying it's confidential.
"We're getting a phenomenal response," says Kirby, crediting the can's simple design and product promotion for the drink's early success among consumers from high school kids to 30-year-olds.
The company isn't hiding from mixing Cocaine with alcohol. On the drink's Web site, www.DrinkCocaine.com, it posts a variety of alcohol and Cocaine combinations.
Kirby, who says the world is ready for a beverage named after an illegal drug, has been surprised by the lack of controversy over the name of the drink.
"We've been shocked by its acceptance," he says. "We thought it would be a hard sell."
So far, the drink can be found only in bars and convenience stores in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas. It is expected to debut in San Diego this week. Kirby says the company is already getting inquiries about selling the product in England, Italy, Australia, South America and Central America.