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Drink Smart, A petition for increasing energy drink regulation

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Purdue Students Plan Rally Petitioning for Energy Drink Regulation

Drink Smart, a student group at the Brian Lamb School of Communication, will be holding a rally the week of finals to raise awareness about the dangers of energy drink overconsumption. The rally will take place Dec. 14 on Purdue University’s “Hello Walk” located in front of the Stewart Center.

“With so many students using energy drinks during the week of finals, few students know the harmful effects of consuming too much,” said group organizer Staci Smith.

The group is seeking to raise awareness about serving sizes and stimulants in energy drinks. Drink cans often come in two servings, and according to event organizers, students may be unaware of how much they are actually consuming.

Energy drinks are beginning to gain coverage by the U.S. government for their potential harmful effects. On a hearing about energy drinks, Senator Dick Durbin of Ill. reported, “Scientific studies have concluded that consuming large amounts of caffeine can have serious risks such as seizures, heart arrhythmia, and in some cases, death.”

Drink Smart is particularly interested in raising awareness about the number of people who have needed medical treatment from consuming too many energy drinks, and will be lining the Hello Walk with Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar cans marked to represent the number of people who have visited an emergency room or died from consuming energy drinks. As students walk through the energy drink can display they will be asked to sign a petition that will be sent to Senator Durbin requesting that energy drinks be sold in one serving containers and stimulants be properly labeled. According to Smith, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen a dramatic spike in energy drink overdoses, with as many as 1,685 confirmed reports in 2013 alone, 1,298 of which were children (Mowry, Spyker, Cantilena, McMillan, & Ford, 2014).

“Energy drinks seem like a harmless way to improve studying,” Smith said, “But the danger is real. Few people know how many stimulants they are consuming in one can of Monster, Rockstar, or Red Bull, and the threat is particularly strong for 18-24 year olds. We want to send that message at a time when students will be consuming energy drinks the most, during finals.”


Drink Smart is a group of graduate students at the Brian Lamb School conducting an energy drink awareness campaign for Dr. Marifran Mattson’s Health Advocacy Campaigns class. This is one of many health campaigns led by Mattson. Contact Staci Smith for more information about the rally:

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