DRUGS IN THE COUNTRY: Caffeinated Energy Drinks Can Kill

As I mentioned, I recently attended my college reunion.  A good friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while told me he was working selling caffeinated energy drinks mixed with alcohol to a younger demographic – read: 18-24 year olds. I was kind of disturbed by the news – this is a very nice guy – but tried not to give him too much grief. And later, I heard some of those drinks are being banned by the FDA after too many accidents: hospitalizations that often end in fatalities.

There’s still a problem, however.  It isn’t just caffeine mixed with alcohol, two extremely toxic and addictive drugs, that is dangerous.  It turns out, like alcohol, even too much caffeine alone can be a problem – an overdose can kill. Caffeine is sold in increasingly concentrated amounts.  Two shots of distilled caffeine within 24 hours can give you a heart attack.

Well thank god, it’s legal.  Living across the street from a middle school, I see kids drinking expensive cups of coffee every morning. Don’t they get stomach aches?  Or jitters?  Before caffeine kills you, you get side-effects.  And unlike marijuana, currently a schedule one drug, even skipping a day without caffeine can give you a severe headache.

It seems like the FDA and the US government are about 50 years behind both in drug classification and drug research.  Disturbingly, the DARE program preaches at every public school in California lots of stuff about the evils of marijuana, but doesn’t mention its medical uses.  Nor does it mention that the war on drugs is completely outdated and the biggest problem our society faces in terms of controlled substances is prescription drugs.

Upon questioning a doctor about a related issue, he said, “Well, at some point you have to just trust the FDA.”  I couldn’t disagree more – after all, wasn’t it the FDA that discouraged breastfeeding in the 50s and 60s, all because of a partnership with Nestle formula makers?  As long as we in the US put profits before everything else, it won’t matter who the president is – we’re all going to hell.

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