Back in the day, caffeine was only popular with adults. They’d start off their day with a cup of coffee, usually black, and oftentimes drink several cups during the day. Now coffee shops are filled with teens and even middle school children consuming sugary coffee and tea concoctions. We’re also seeing more youth use energy drinks that are loaded with caffeine.
For example, a high school senior in Ohio died from cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure as a result of a lethal overdose of caffeine. The autopsy showed that the teen had consumed a powdered form of caffeine bought online. He had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system. A typical coffee drinker would have 3 to 5 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood.
We also know that energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and very popular with youth. However, according to a study by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, those who consume energy drinks are more likely to start drinking alcohol at a younger age and consumer more alcohol at each drinking session.
Food and Drug Administration Commission Margaret Hamburg said the agency needs to better understand the role of the stimulant in non-traditional products, especially on children. She said the science is not absolutely clear about its effects. However, the agency is investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death.