Four Loko sickens Washington college students

Students who were sent to the hospital after a Central Washington University party weren’t poisoned by a date-rape drug but by the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, police said.

Nine students were sent to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of being drugged, and police initially suspected that the students were victims of Rophynol, the date-rape drug.

Tests found only traces of marijuana in the victims’ blood, and police traced the incident to consumption of the malt liquor drink called Four Loko.

The alcoholic energy drink has an alcohol content of 12 percent — a can of beer typically has an alcohol content of 4 percent.

The discovery led the president of the university, James L. Gaudino, to ban all alcoholic energy drinks on campus.

“The health and safety of our students has to come first,” Gaudino said in a statement. “We need to make sure that we’re sending a strong message to students about the dangers of AEDs, and we need to know more about the way it affects health and behavior.”