Los Angeles News
The updated version of the report, published on January 10, 2013 by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), focuses on the doubling of emergency room visits from 2007 until 2011 as a result of energy drink intake.
ER visits as a result of energy drink consumption started at 10,000 in 2007 and doubled to 20,000, according to the report. The updated survey of
The original study, released on November 22, 2011, saw a tenfold increase of ER visits related to energy drink consumption from 2005 until 2009, with 1,128 visits in 2005, 16,053 in 2008, and 13,114 visits in 2009. Another study that was cited in this article reported that those who drink alcohol with energy drinks are 3 times more likely to leave the bar “highly intoxicated,” and 4 times more likely to drive while intoxicated. The study cited in the DAWN report speculates that this sense of courage to drive along with skewed judgment is a result of caffeine’s ability to mask certain symptoms of being intoxicated, such as feeling lethargic.
The original, 2011 version of the DAWN report claimed that 52% of patients visiting the ER for energy drink consumption were also combining the drink with other drugs, including Adderall, Ritalin, and alcohol. The newly updated report saw there has been an increase to 58% of patients visiting the ER for energy drink consumption who were just drinking the caffeinated beverage.
SAMHSA and the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality argue, “consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake,” according to the DAWN report. Behavioral consequences are said to include sexual risk taking, fighting, smoking, drinking, etc. It is believed that physical problems as a result of excessive energy drink consumption include arrhythmias, hypertension, dehydration, and sleeplessness. The study also argues that already existing physical and mental problems can play a part in how energy drink consumption will affect the mind and body, such as prior cardiac conditions, eating disorders, diabetes and anxiety disorders.
The American Beverage Association (ABA) released a statement to the public on January 16 in regard to recent findings in the report. Despite the report claiming that these drinks contain anywhere from 80-500 milligrams, comparing that to the 100 milligrams of caffeine found in a 5 oz. cup of coffee, the ABA stated that most mainstream energy drinks contain about half the caffeine of a similar size cup of coffeehouse coffee. They also refuted this article, calling it “more sensational than substantive.”
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