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Energy drinks threaten health, scientists warn

Researchers from University of Maryland and Wake Forest University warn that energy drinks may threaten individual and public health even if they don't contain alcohol.
 
Previous studies have shown that energy drinks with additional alcohol did not improve reaction time and performance on a driving test. Even so, these mixed drinks are still popular among young people, especially sportsmen.
 
"Individuals can still mix these highly caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol on their own. It is also concerning that no regulation exists with regard to the level of caffeine that can be in an energy drink," said Amelia Arria, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development of University of Maryland.
 
On November 17, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic beverages.  It will prohibit sales of several “premixed” alcoholic energy drinks in the United States, according to the background information in the article.
 
"Recent action to make pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks unavailable was an important first step, but more continued action is needed," Amelia suggested.
 
According to the study paper, the combined use of energy drinks and alcohol was also linked to crime, alcohol dependence and other street drug use.

Stephen Lau and editing by Denise Reynolds