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Energy drink-related ER visits skyrocket.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of emergency department visits associated with the use of nonalcoholic energy drinks--from less than 1,200 in 2005 to about 10,000 in 2007 to more than 20,000 in 2012, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Washington, D.C.

Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of stimulants such as caffeine. They often are sold in cans and bottles and readily are available in grocery stores, vending machines, bars, and other venues. Energy drinks are marketed to appeal to youth and are consumed by up to 50% of children, adolescents, and young adults.

Overall, 44% of the emergency department visits involving energy drinks are associated with the combined use of an energy drink with other substances such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals, or illicit drugs. The rate of combination use is greatest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (52%).

The report notes that 77% of these visits were made by people aged 18 to 39 and that males make up 64% of all the visits.

Energy drink-related emergency department visits involving males are twice as likely as those involving females to include the use of alcohol (20% vs. 10%) or illicit drugs (12% vs. five percent). Female visits are more likely than male visits to involve the combined use of energy drinks and pharmaceuticals (35% vs. 23%).

"Energy drinks used in excess or in combination with alcohol or drugs can pose a serious health risk," says administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "The beverage industry, consumer groups, community coalitions, the health care community, teachers, parents, and others must get the word out that quick-fix energy drinks are not a solution and carry great risks, especially in combination with other substances of abuse. Sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet rather than stimulants in a beverage are the keys to quality performance, sustained success, and overall wellness."

Studies indicate that excessive caffeine intake can cause adverse reactions such as arrhythmias, hypertension, dehydration, and other more serious medical conditions. Combining energy drinks with substances of abuse raises the risk of serious--even life-threatening--injury, as well as the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors like driving under the influence.

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Title Annotation:YOUR LIFE
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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