A 10-year-old Massachusetts boy came home sick after drinking an energy powder, terrifying his mother.
Josee Tolles' son, Dylan Butler, came home acting strangely, and she knew something was wrong right away.
"He was stumbling down the stairs, he was slurring his words, he couldn’t really walk straight. He seemed like he was spacing out a bit," Tolles said, according to WBZ4. "Certainly there was something going on that was not normal. It was not behavior that I had ever seen before."
Dylan began throwing up, and Tolles took him to the emergency room. A friend from school had given Dylan G Fuel, an energy drink mixture containing caffeine and taurine, chemicals that are designed to increase energy and concentration, but are potentially harmful to children, particularly in combination.
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“He was told it was Kool-Aid, but it kind of helps you concentrate better and it tastes wonderful, so try it,” Tolles said.
"I was nauseous. I was dizzy. I couldn't see straight," Dylan Butler told WCVB.
Energy drinks like G Fuel are becoming more popular with American youth and some use it to increase concentration to play video games, reported The New York Times. That has troubled some doctors, who worry about the health effects.
Dr. Marcie Schneider, an adolescent-medicine specialist in Greenwich, CT told the Times that she worries most parents do not recognize the dangers of the drinks.
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“I feel like we have a better sense of how many kids are smoking pot than how many kids are using energy drinks,” Schneider said.
Schneider is an author of an American Academy of Pediatrics study that concluded that children and adolescents should not consume energy drinks because of caffeine's potential to disturb sleeping patterns, increase heart rates, and slow brain development.
Despite the potential health risks, many energy drink companies like G Fuel actively market to youth markets, and sales from energy drinks are expected to rise to $21 billion by 2017.