Energy Drinks: I Love Them but Please Ban Them

rockstar2Fifteen years ago I was sitting in my dorm room studying for a test when my roommates came running in with packets of free pills they had picked up from a booth somewhere on campus. They were stoked and they immediately popped a couple pills out of the packaging and gulped them down. Then they offered me a couple packs of the pills and were stunned when I turned and said “no thanks.”

That was the first time I heard about people purposely taking caffeine as a supplement to stay awake. Admittedly, I grew up in a small town in Utah that was largely made up of Mormons, so I was probably sheltered a bit more than most people throughout the country. It just seemed odd to purposely take a substance to help stay awake. In my mind, why not take a nap if you’re tired?

But back then I loved Dr. Pepper and I drank a lot of the stuff. My fridge was always loaded with Dr. Pepper. I would buy 24 packs every 3 or 4 days just to make sure my supply never ran out. I always seemed to have an open Dr. Pepper somewhere within 5 feet of me. But I never made the connection between the caffeine in my Dr. Pepper and the caffeine pills that my roommates offered me.

Now 15 years later caffeine substances are majors sellers and in high demand. It’s tough to go to any store that contains drinks and not find a Monster energy drink or a Rockstar energy drink. One time I badly needed an energy drink while I was at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and sure enough, Monster energy drinks were sold in the cafeteria.

I’d be the first to admit that I’m hooked on energy drinks. My favorite is the Rockstar Lemonade energy drink. It’s made with real juice. Really, check the can. It’s also non-carbonated and only has 20 calories per can. Of course, it has a bunch of other stuff in it that lots of health conscious people aren’t too pleased with, but it’s all natural, right?

I know, I know. I shouldn’t be drinking much (if any) energy drinks, but I rely on the suckers. Life as a lawyer has its peaks and valleys. At times I get to feel an adrenaline rush like no other. Try standing up in a courtroom full of people to question a witness while your client has years of his/her life or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line and tell me how much adrenaline flows through your body (it’s also nice to begin questioning and feel the switch in my head switch me from flight into fight mode). But at other times being a lawyer can be downright tedious. Try examining 500 pages of medical records just because you need to. There aren’t many tasks more boring than that.

For the days that are filled with tedious tasks, I use Rockstar energy drinks to get me through the day. I don’t drink a Rockstar every day, but it’s probably pretty close to every other day. But when I look back at my dad when I was a kid, that guy had 100s of 2 liter bottles of Pepsi in the basement of his office. He probably went through 2 bottles of Pepsi per day. That guy had to have been consuming far more caffeine than I ever have or will.

Even though I’m a big fan of energy drinks, I still find it hard to believe that my 8-year-old could walk into the local gas station and purchase an energy drink. There’s something majorly wrong with that picture.

When I was 17 years old I had to have my 18-year-old friend buy fuel cleaner for me because the store wasn’t allowed to sell it to someone under the age of 18. But a 17-year-old today can walk into Wal-Mart and buy 20 cans of Rockstar. And then that same 17-year-old can just as easily go home or out with his/her friends and drink 10 of those cans in one night. That same 17-year-old could seriously damages his/her health by consuming that quantity of caffeine in one day.

I’m an adult and the law recognizes me as being competent enough to make decisions as to what I want to put into my body. Minors are viewed differently in that regard by the law. And it boggles my mind that products like energy drinks are available for minors to purchase.

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