A public safety watchdog group is warning about combining beer and caffeine drinks and criticizing manufacturers for marketing them to underage and college age drinkers.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest says that it plans to sue two major brewers unless they agree to negotiate a settlement within 30 days. The group is targeting Miller Brewing for the drink "Sparks" and Anheuser-Busch for it's products, "Tilt" and "Bud Extra". All three are marketed as so-called "alcospeed" energy drinks that combine stimulants with beer.
But now, the C.S.P.I. is seeking an injunction that will prohibit both companies from selling or even making any alcoholic beverage that contains caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, or any other ingredient that is not recognized as safe when combined with alcohol.
Dr. Mary Claire O'Brien, of Wake Forest University's Emergency Medicine Department, says that, "Students who mix alcohol with energy drinks were either twice as likely to be taken advantage of sexually, twice as likely to take advantage of someone else sexually, and more than twice as likely to ride with a drunken driver compared to students who did not mix alcohol with energy drinks. They were twice as likely to require medical attention as a result of their drinking, and twice as likely to be hurt of injured as a result of their drinking."
While holding up a glass of bright green liquid, George Hacker of The Center for Science in the Public Interest adds, "Don't tell me that this is a drink designed for grownups. This is a recreational drug designed for under age kids and the youngest of legal drinkers."
The CSPI argues none of these products has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, The Beer Institute, which represents the brewing companies, says it is aware of the lawsuit, but it can't predict what will come of this since the suit effects only two companies.