Teens just want to have fun, but sometimes that means snorting chocolate up their noses. This summer, the Florida-based company Legal Lean took advantage of the huffing-raw-cacao trend with a product called Coco Loko, becoming the first company in the United States to sell snorting chocolate. At the time, it was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but it was sold online anyway. More recently, the FDA caught on to the trend, and now it’s officially declaring Coco Loko an “unapproved drug” that violates multiple sections of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The FDA issued a warning letter of concern to Legal Lean on Monday, taking a decidedly unchill stance on people choosing to blast the mixture of cacao, gingko biloba, taurine, and guarana up their nostrils in hopes of achieving an energy high:
“The claims made in your promotional materials for Legal Lean Syrup and Coco Loko demonstrate that these products are intended to be used as alternatives to illicit street drugs. Drug abuse is a serious public health issue and the Agency is concerned that products such as the ones mentioned above encourage drug abuse in individuals, including minors.”
On Tuesday FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb took to Twitter to expand on why the FDA decided to crack down on the “snuff”.
The FDA points out numerous health risks linked to snorting Coco Loko, namely that doing so can “trigger laryngospasm or bronchospasm and induce or exacerbate an episode of asthma.”
The FDA also determined that Legal Lean Syrup, Legal Lean’s other major product, contained but did not list the drug doxylamine as an ingredient. Doxylamine, an antihistamine occasionally used for a “purple drank”-like euphoric high, is a short-term sedative and is dangerous for people with glaucoma, asthma, bronchitis, and anyone who takes it while having already consumed alcohol
Coco Loko, Legal Lean claims, causes the feeling of euphoric energy, triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin. The idea is that it combines the ingredients of an energy drink plus, uh, the pleasure of snorting drugs — all under the legal guise of chocolate. The FDA’s new statement makes it decidedly unlawful: According to the group, Coco Loko is officially an unapproved new drug. Furthermore, Legal Lean Syrup officially violates FDA standards because it doesn’t meet the requirements of being a dietary supplement.
With the issuing of its letter, the FDA gave Legal Lean team 15 working days to address the grievances, with the understanding that “failure to correct violations may result in regulatory action such as seizure or injunction,” which is probably why the company’s online store and Amazon page are down.