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Edgemont Students Talk About Use of Energy Drinks

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A can of Monster provides the perfect boost of energy 16-year-old J.P. Sayegh needs before Edgemont High School football games on Saturdays.

But now, energy drinks like Monster and 5-hour Energy are under scrutiny by the state. In July, the New York attorney general subpoenaed Monster Beverage, PepsiCo and Living Essentials, saying the companies are misleading consumers about caffeine content and the drinks' health risks, according to a New York Times article .

"They're good if you need energy for a short period of time," said Sayegh, an Edgemont High School junior.

Pepsi makes the popular AMP drinks, while Living Essentials manufactures 5-hour Energy. Drinks like these are readily available for students at any gas station or convenience store for about $3.

Some students know about the health risks the drinks already pose, yet continue to buy the drinks.

"I hear that if you're too small and you drink too much it can really hurt you," said Nick Petrilli, 15, an Edgemont sophomore who plays baseball and basketball.

But that doesn't stop him from drinking a Red Bull a few times a month to boost his workout routines, he said.

The high concentrations of caffeine the drinks contain can produce cardiovascular complications health experts say.

A 5-hour Energy drink contains about 210 mg of caffeine, which is roughly six times the amount of caffeine in a 12-oz. Coca Cola. State investigators claim there could be even more caffeine hidden in the drinks' additives like black tea extract and guarana.

Aware of their dangers, Edgemont athletic trainer Teresa Roane always tries to keep student-athletes away from the drinks.

"I try very hard to educate my athletes about the importance of drinking water and what happens when they are dehydrated," she said.

Roane said she doesn't have to deal with the effects of energy drinks often at Edgemont -- but that's not to say it never happens.

"In the past, there were certain teams that would go out and buy Monster or 5-hour Energy," she said. "But when they spent the majority of the game cramping and then listening to me and their coach yell at them for it, they decided it wasn't worth it."

Some students, like Colin Hopkins, are aware that the drinks can cause dehydration and cardiovascular problems, and choose to stay away from them. The caffeine and sugar can also cause him problems when he needs to cut weight before a wrestling match.

"They don't taste very good and they're bad for you," said Hopkins, a junior. "There's too much caffeine and sugar."

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