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Emergency room visits associated with energy drinks have doubled in the past four years, suggests a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
From 2007 to 2011, the government found that the number of ER visits by energy drink users went from 10,000 visits to more than 20,000, reports the Associated Press. And in most of these cases, the individuals hospitalized were teens and young adults.
The study concludes that energy drink consumption is a "rising public health problem" that can cause insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat, and seizures. However, the survey did not specify which side effects led to the ER visits.
The surge in ER visits for energy drinks should not be all that surprising. After all, the energy drink market really took off during this period. So with more people drinking these highly caffeinated beverages, more people may be experiencing some unwanted side effects.
Experts say many young people consume energy drinks like soda or water, without realizing just how potent the product is. For example, one emergency physician in Cleveland described a patient who'd consumed three energy drinks in one hour. He said this is the equivalent of drinking 15 cups of coffee.
While the energy drink industry maintains that its products are safe, they are under greater pressure to provide more warning labels on their drinks and to shift their marketing strategy away from young adults and teens.
If the industry does not rethink its marketing and labeling, they could potentially be found negligent in a wrongful death or injury lawsuit. There have been numerous warnings and studies surrounding energy drinks. And while the products may be safe in certain doses and for certain individuals, more and more studies seem to suggest there are some risks that need to be addressed.