According to a federal report issued last month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, emergency room visits involving young adults and energy drinks have skyrocketed in the United States since 2005.
The drinks, which contain high amounts of caffeine, when consumed in excess can cause heart palpitations, dizziness, headache and fainting.
The report states that 56 percent of those treated in the ER for complications attributed to high caffeine consumption were the result of energy drinks alone. But many kids are choosing to mix their poisons. The idea is that by consuming more energy drinks, they will be able to stay awake long enough to drink more alcohol. Not only are they becoming dangerously inebriated, but their hearts are taking a beating as well.
The American Beverage Association countered the report saying that the 13,114 people treated last year for abuse of energy drinks was insignificant compared to the 123 million people treated in the ER every year.
Despite its claim the drinks contain half the caffeine of coffee, the journal Pediatrics revealed that the drinks actually contain three times that of an equal-sized cup of joe.
Medical professionals are calling for government enforced regulations on all energy drinks. Some suggest warning labels would be a good start. Others are calling for their marketing campaigns to change direction, with less attention placed on sports played by younger people.
Would warning labels be effective in thwarting the abuse of energy drinks among teens and young adults? Would an age restriction be more effective?