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Energy drinks

Red Bull gives you wings. It also, apparently, gives you dehydration, insomnia, anxiety and heart attacks. A U.S. government survey estimates 20,000 visits to hospital emergency departments were caused by the consumption of energy drinks.

Of course, in many cases, we're not talking consumption. We're talking over-consumption.

"I had someone come in recently who had drunk three energy drinks in an hour, which is the equivalent of 15 cups of coffee," says Howard Mell, an emergency physician in the suburbs of Cleveland, who serves as a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians. A 14-year-old Maryland girl died after she drank two large cans of Monster Energy drinks.

It's also worth noting that almost half of the ER visits involved people who had also consumed alcohol or stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin.

So, it may not be fair to point the finger of blame solely at energy drinks. Overconsumption of anything can have a deleterious effect. Even water.

However, now that the energy drink alarm bells are sounding, somebody is inevitably going to start pushing for something to be done.

What might that be? Should the drinks be regulated? Banned? Watered down?

We've got a better idea. How about someone start working on a cure for human stupidity?

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 19, 2013 J12

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