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Teen Behavior Linked To Energy Drinks

Armen Hareyan's picture

There's growing concern among school officials and health care workers that teen use of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Spike Shooter are early warning signs of the willingness to take risks.

According to researchers, high consumption of energy drinks is associated with aggressive and risky behaviors, including substance abuse, violence, and unprotected sex. No one is saying yet that these energy drinks cause such behaviors, but parents should probably be aware that teens who are willing to abuse caffeine may be more likely to engage in other risky behaviors as well.

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The research is published in the March issue of The Journal of American College Health and discussed in a recent news article ("Taste for Quick Boost Tied to Taste for Risk", New York Times online May 27, 2008.)

The energy drink Spike Shooter contains 428 mg of caffeine in 12 ounces, or about 12x that of Coke or Pepsi and 2-5 times that in a cup of coffee. Teens have been sent to the emergency room with heart palpitations, jittery behavior, and sweating as a result of drinking too many energy drinks. Some teens are combining these drinks with alcohol in the mistaken belief that it makes them less drunk.

Do your students use energy drinks, and do they know what's in them?