Pubdate: Fri, 11 Aug 2017
Source: Herald News (West Paterson, NJ)
Copyright: 2017 North Jersey Media Group Inc.


Energy drinks could be a gateway to cocaine use, according to a new

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health
found that young adults who said they'd consumed energy drinks yearly
between ages 21 and 24 were at greater risk for subsequently doing
cocaine, using prescription stimulants for non-medical uses and
problem drinking.

The 1,099 study participants were recruited as 18-year-old college

Those who didn't consume energy drinks as they got older were less
likely to develop substance-abuse problems.

Amelia Arria, director of the university's Center on Young Adult
Health and Development, explained that factors contributing to a
propensity for risk taking, susceptibility to peer pressure and and
changes in energy-drink users' brain that make them like stimulants

"Energy drinks are not as regulated as some other beverages. One
policy implication is to consider options for regulating the maximum
amount of caffeine that can be put in an energy drink." she said.
"Parents need to be aware of those risks when their child or
adolescent or young adult wants to make a decision about what sort of
beverage to consume. They need to be aware of the potential risk."

Energy drinks are a booming segment of the beverage market. Last year,
North American retail sales were close to $11 billion, up from less
than $5 billion in 2007, according to the market research company

Big names among energy drinks include Red Bull, Monster, Amp and

Anheuser-Busch announced last month that it was acquiring the organic
energy drink maker Hiball Energy.

Arria and her co-authors cited existing data that an estimated one in
every three American teens and young adults consume energy drinks or
energy shots with 50% of college students reporting they've taken them
in the past month.

William Dermody, vice president of policy for the American Beverage
Association, questioned the methodology and comprehensiveness of the
University of Maryland study and said it didn't prove causation.

"Mainstream energy drinks have been extensively studied and confirmed
safe for consumption by government safety authorities worldwide,
including a recent review by the European Food Safety Authority.
Nothing in this study counters this well-established fact," he
explained, adding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates
the drinks' ingredients and labeling.

Dermody said that mainstream energy drinks contain about half the
caffeine of a similarly-sized cup of coffee shop coffee and that they
account for about two percent of Americans' caffeine intake from all
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MAP posted-by: Matt