Teens and Energy Drinks: a Potentially Dangerous Combination

Researchers also discovered that about 15 percent of teens mixed their energy drinks with alcohol and about 9 percent consumed energy drinks in conjunction with other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Drinking energy drinks alone has some serious side effects, but adding drugs and alcohol to the mix can be a dangerous and potentially deadly combination.

Did you know that one energy drink can pose a danger to a young person, according to a Mayo Clinic study? These drinks not only cause blood pressure to rise but they also increase the release of stress hormones into the system, raising the risk of heart damage. Also, all that caffeine can start messing with a teen’s sleep-wake cycles, and according to research, teens are already sleep-deprived, getting on average only about seven hours of rest on a school night and needing around nine.

Without any age restrictions to limit sales of energy drinks to youth, any child or teen can purchase these products without parental knowledge. There is one state pushing to make a change though: South Carolina. This state is looking at requiring those purchasing energy drinks to be at least 18 years. If a proposed bill passes, South Carolina would be the first state in the nation to take a stance against selling energy drinks to minors – and maybe that would spur other states to do the same thing. Over time energy drinks can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms; after all, they do contain high concentrations of the drug caffeine.

To join the efforts to increase public awareness, the American College of Sports Medicine earlier this year put forth several recommendations for the sale and consumption of energy drinks. The ACSM advised:

  • Energy drinks should not be marketed to kids and adolescents.
  • These products not be consumed before, during or after vigorous exercise, since doing so has been linked to deaths.
  • We should do more to educate youth about energy drink consumption. It was suggested formal education about energy drinks be a part of school nutrition and covered in health and wellness classes.
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