FCKD UP, the sweetened alcoholic beverage at 11.9 per cent, has been sold in Quebec since last fall. (Radio-Canada)

FCKD UP drink thought responsible for 14 year-old’s death.


FCKD UP is the name of the energy drink that is said to have left 14 year-old Athena Gervais unable to save herself.

The girl was with a group of friends last week drinking the concoction when she apparently was left behind, then reported missing, and eventually found in a stream behind her high school in Fabreville, a suburb of Montreal.

A toxicology report will soon determine if Gervais had been drinking but investigators have said alcohol may have been a factor in her death.

The beverage is available in grocery stores and at corner shops in Quebec as it comes just under the designation of an alcoholic drink.

Alcoholic beverages of 12 per cent are restricted to sales in government controlled outlets, to people over the age of 18, in the province of Quebec.

At 11.9 per cent alcohol, FCKD UP was more widely distributed, though still restricted to those over 18.

Hubert Sacy has been sounding the alarm over these new drinks and the dire consequences teens are suffering as a result of consuming them.

He warned a death was inevitable as recently as last week.

Sacy is the director general of Educ’alcool, the non-profit group that works to educate Quebecers about the power of alcohol.

“Moderation is always in good taste” is their motto.

FCKD UP is what 14 year-old Athena Gervais may have been drinking with she disappeared last week, and then found dead in a creek behind her high school. (Laval police/CBC)

But moderation is not even possible with the way these new concoctions are created, packaged and marketed.

Sacy explains the danger in this new trend, with a drink known as “Four Loco” in the United States and FCKD UP in Quebec, lies in the toxic combination of alcohol, stimulants and lots of sugar.

“So they have created a malt-based alcoholic drink with 11.9 per cent alcohol per volume, which is the equivalent of wine in fact, and the taste and the effect of alcohol is covered here by guarana, which is a stimulant, and a huge quantity of sugar, which is the equivalent of 660 calories of sugar, or 13 spoons,” he says.

“So the added product covers the taste of alcohol, because as you know young people don’t like the taste of alcohol, when you cover this taste with a lot of sugar, then they like it. And the effect of alcohol, because when someone drinks a little bit too much our body sends us signals: we speak slower, we move, our motoricity is changed, our vision is different and therefore we stop drinking because our body is telling us, “Hey, you’ve got enough!” While the stimulants and the sugar inside those drinks covers the effect and the signals that your body is sending you and therefore you drink too much before you even are aware of how much you’re drinking.”

Added to this masquerading effect is the amount young people are drinking.

“These products are put in cans that contain the equivalent of four standard drinks, and this makes young people drink them quickly, they drink a lot, and you know after two cans you’ve already reached the level of eight standard drinks, which is the level of dangerous drinking, the equivalent of one and a half bottles of wine, so it’s huge, it’s immense!” Sacy says.

Over the last six months there’s been a sharp increase in young people, particularly minors, being brought to emergency rooms in various states of alcoholic coma.

Sacy says himself and emergency workers have been trying to make people aware of what is happening.

“We shouldn’t wait until somebody dies before we do something” he said in warning about the consequences.

“But unfortunately nothing has been done.”

Sacy says the federal government’s Health Canada website advises against mixing alcohol with energy drinks, that it is dangerous, yet, he says the same government allows producers to do exactly that.

“If you can’t count on your own government to protect you, there’s something wrong here.” Sacy says.

“the principle of precaution must be applied everywhere on planet earth”

While not a “prohibitionist” Sacy wants the government to put a hold on the sales of these drinks until further research can establish in what quantity, and where they should be available, if at all.

Apply the principle of precaution Sacy says, and not just in Canada, but everywhere these drinks are available.

In the meantime, the Montreal-based company, Geloso, that makes FCKD UP, announced this morning it has ceased production and taken the product off its web site.

Several shops and grocery chains had already stopped selling the cans as well.

Radio hotline shows were lighting up with callers throughout the day in Montreal, looking for someone to blame, including the adolescent friends who left Athena Gervais alone in that inebriated condition.

But as other callers chided, they were all only kids, “they didn’t know any better”, as one caller said, with great empathy.

After the recorded interview Hubert Sacy said he has “never been so sad to do interviews”, and never been so sad to be right.

Posted in Health, International, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “FCKD UP drink thought responsible for 14 year-old’s death.
  1. Steve says:

    While the death of this young girl is terribly tragic… and that, at 14 years old, she was said to be drinking alcohol during her school lunch break is a testament to the neglect of those surrounding her… and teenage drinking and drug us is something to which more attention should be given, please get your facts straight before publishing an article…

    These drinks ARE NOT legally available to “anyone, of any age”. They are designated as an alcoholic beverage. No person under 18 years old can legally purchase these drinks any more than they can legally purchase beer or wine – whether at a ‘depanneur’ or grocery store, or liquor outlet.

    It’s bad to tell falsehoods simply for the sake of sensationalism and reader attention.