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Jan 25, 2013 7:00 PM by Matt Stafford

Energy drinks creating an emergency

The number of emergency visits to hospitals because of energy drinks is climbing fast; doubling over five years to more than 20,783 visits in 2011. That's according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

These days there's no shortage of options for people looking for a jolt. A gas station near News 5 has a full window of the energy drinks, several more options than they would have a few years back, and they're adding more just because they sell so well.

You don't have to look far on a college campus to find people drinking them.

"I usually drink it throughout the day," says UCCS student Daniel Morris. "It's just a drink to me."

"It is kind of a pick me up; I mean, I do work two jobs and I'm a full-time student," adds Stephanie Hester.

The Food and Drug Administration has reported several deaths possibly related with two of the drinks; five for Monster energy, and 13 with 5 Hour Energy.

Both companies disagree that they're products were at fault.

Dr. Gregory Collins at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs doesn't agree with the safety of energy drinks.

"Who's at risk here?" asks News 5.

"Can I say everybody?" responds Dr. Collins.

Dr. Collins just saw a patient complaining of problems from an energy drink.

"Chest pains, palpitations, trouble breathing," lists off Dr. Collins, who's seeing more of these patients. "Not my first patient, he won't be my last patient; unfortunately there will be more and more episodes like this."

Dr. Collins says some of the problem is variety; there are so many options. Also, Dr. Collins says a major problem is mixing these drinks with other energy drinks, coffee, or medicines.

"Sometimes one-plus-one does not equal two; it can equal ten," says Dr. Collins. "I doubt very few people know exactly what's in them."

Also a part of the SAHMSA report; market analysts expect sales of these drinks to go up.

To see the SAHMSA report, click here.

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