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New York Post, September 17, 2006

-- A new energy drink that crashed runway parties last week is called Cocaine, and its makers are billing it as "the legal alternative" to the white powder drug.

The drink's maker maintains that "doing Cocaine" - the beverage, that is - gives you a bigger and better high without the crash that other energy drinks cause.

They say a high hits you within five minutes, followed by a caffeine boost 15 minutes later. But hold on - the ride lasts five hours and the concoction is "350 percent stronger than Red Bull," they claim.

They argue that the effect is part chemical - this drink uses "simple" sugars that don't need to be broken down by the body to create a sugar buzz, and a much larger dose of vitamin B12 - and part psychological.

"When a person sees the name of the drink, some psychological effect happens and the person is already experiencing the energy buzz before they even open the can," speculates Cocaine inventor Jamey Kirby, whose company, Redux Beverages, is based in Las Vegas.

"I can think of no other product except real cocaine that could have that effect on the public," he said.

Does it get you high?

Taste-testers say the drink, which tastes something like a "liquid cherry Jolly Rancher" candy, hits you hard.

"It does give you a little rush," said one sipper of Cocaine, which is slated to be sold in nightclubs Mannahatta, Identity and Stereo, as well as groceries like West Side Gourmet, this fall.

"It's like I'm high . . . I keep bobbing my head to the music," said the guinea pig.

Another taster, however, hated the feeling the drink gave her. "I don't like the tingly feeling in my chest. I feel my heart racing - and I'm not being paranoid . . . I feel looped!"

Another said it led to an immediate and irritating onset of heartburn.

Kirby confessed that an ingredient was added to slightly numb the throat to add an oral sensation - much like cocaine does.

The company is marketing the drink to partiers instead of health nuts and workaholics, and has attracted rock-industry investors like Curt Cuomo, a Grammy-nominated writer and producer famed for penning KISS hits like "Psycho Circus."

It's so new, health experts haven't weighed in yet.