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Youth and Health Experts Call on the Governor to Take the Buzz Out of Energy Drinks
Date:10/19/2007

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Local youth teamed up with doctors, teachers, law enforcement officers and health experts at the San Diego County Alcohol Policy Panel's annual Legislative Forum on Underage Drinking to ask the Governor to reclassify alcopops as distilled spirits and to investigate the labeling practices of alcoholic products marketed to teens.

Youth gave law enforcement officers and teachers energy drinks, some with alcohol some without, to see if they can tell the difference between an energy drink containing alcohol and one without. "These drinks taste very similar to each other. Most adults we have found can't tell which have alcohol in them," said Mary Kate Foster, chair of the San Diego County Youth Council. "On top of that, the alcohol industry labeling practices make it too hard to tell the difference between drinks that contain alcohol and those that don't. It's not surprising some parents are accidentally purchasing these items for their kids."

Alcoholic energy drinks are prepackaged beverages that contain not only alcohol but also caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, a stimulant, masks the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Alcohol is associated with alcohol-related traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide. "Alcopops and other products like alcohol-laced energy drinks have special appeal to young people. We know that teenagers and young adults are the core consumer group for these products," says Judy Walsh-Jackson of The California Coalition on Alcopops and Youth. According to a recent report published by The Marin Institute (http://www.marininstitute.org) thirty-one percent of 12- to 17-year-olds and thirty-four percent of 18- to 24-year-olds report regular consumption of energy drinks. "Alcohol problems among youth constitute a public health and safety crisis of major proportions. Alcohol in energy drinks creates a dangerous mix," concluded
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SOURCE San Diego County Alcohol Policy Panel
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