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Energy Drinks Pose Risks to Teens, Study Finds

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According to the latest report, one unnamed 23.5-ounce alcoholic energy drink packs the booze of a six-pack of beer and the caffeine of five cups of coffee.

The American Beverage Association, which counts energy drink companies among its members, took issue with the report.

"This paper contains misinformation about energy drinks and does nothing to address the very serious problem of underage drinking and excessive alcohol consumption among young adults," the ABA said in a statement released Thursday.

"Contrary to the misperception perpetuated by this paper, most mainstream energy drinks contain only about half the amount of caffeine of a similar size cup of coffeehouse coffee," the ABA added.

The association also noted that it has issued a recommendation to all energy drink companies that they state on the label exactly how much caffeine is contained in each drink, and that the beverage is not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women and people who are sensitive to caffeine.

While Blankson's report doesn't call for banning the drinks, "as a doctor who cares for adolescents, I can't tell them or their parents that these products are safe," he said. "I can't even tell them for sure how much caffeine is in some of these drinks, since many don't include that information on the label."

Dr. Sean Patrick Nordt, director of the section of toxicology at University of Southern California, offered a milder perspective on the danger of the drinks, saying they appear to be "relatively safe," especially if someone only drinks one or two.

Still, he said, they are potentially dangerous to some people and "should be viewed as more like medication than beverages." In particular, he said, they shouldn't be combined with alcohol, illegal drugs or drugs.

More information

For more on the dangers of combining energy drinks and alcohol, try the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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