Local news media have done stories focusing on retailers and law enforcement to do a better job, but Simon says "We can't leave it all up to local law enforcement. The industry is basically making police officers' jobs more difficult by creating all these products and generating confusion in the market. We're looking for people to come together and put pressure on the alcohol industry to stop this practice and make parents' and law enforcement's jobs easier."
Rebecca Kanable is a freelance writer based in Milton, Wisconsin, with more than 10 years of experience writing about public safety.Police Fuel: a caffeinated boost for law enforcement
Police work can be exhausting. Whether working late at night, working long hours or working on search and rescue missions, police officers can find themselves needing fuel — "Police Fuel," says Al Samson, who witnessed firsthand the dedication of law enforcement while working with rescue teams in New York City after 9/11.
Police Fuel, a light citrus-tasting energy drink, available from the company Police Fuel since 2006, offers "an extra boost." "It keeps you going," he says.
Americans have increasingly turned to energy drinks to get them through the day and stay awake late at night ever since Red Bull was introduced in the United States in 1997. Whether they're drinking Red Bull or Police Fuel, law enforcement officers can be among those who benefit from moderate consumption of energy drinks. (See "How much 'energy' is too much?" on Page 14.)
Police Fuel, from the company that also makes Police Coffee, is designed specifically with the demands of law enforcement in mind. When officers are tired and need energy, Samson, founder of Police Fuel, says this power "punch" will replenish energy, improve concentration, enhance reaction speed, increase physical endurance, stimulate metabolism, assist in breaking down toxins and provide refreshment. The energy in Police Fuel comes from caffeine, carbohydrates, taurine, glucuronolactone and B vitamins. The caffeine in one 8-ounce serving is "roughly equivalent" to the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee, says Samson.
Police Fuel is available in resealable 20-ounce or 1-liter plastic bottles, and in concentrate form for fountain machines in police stations or convenience stores.How much "energy" is too much?
Typically the energy behind energy drinks comes from B vitamins, caffeine, carbohydrates (which sometimes include glucuronolactone) and taurine, says James Wesley, M.S. Wesley, a clinical toxicologist and forensic chemist, has been researching and speaking about the history and effects of power potables since 2001.
Some of these ingredients, like taurine and glucuronolactone, have been raising eyebrows.
Food sources provide 1 to 2 mg glucuronolactone per day, while a Red Bull contains 600 mg per 8.3-ounce can, says Wesley. In theory, he says glucuronolactone increases glucuronides, which should help remove toxins from the body.
Given that most energy drinks have 1,000 grams of taurine per 8 ounce, and medical journals report 2 to 3 grams of taurine have been effective treating congestive heart failure, Wesley suggests energy drink users should consider limiting themselves to no more than 2000 mg of taurine. In 2001, when all energy drinks were the 8-ounce type, that wasn't much of a concern, but now, he says, 16-ounce energy drinks with 2000 mg of taurine represent 50 percent of the market, and three popular drinks are available in 24-ounce super size.
"Taurine makes the heart beat harder, not faster, and it does not raise blood pressure," he says. "It acts in a unique way to increase blood flow and this results in improved alertness without nervous stimulation, but that's just the taurine effects."
In Kentucky, Rep. Danny Ford introduced a bill on January 25, 2008, to prohibit the sale of any carbonated beverage that exceeds a caffeine content of 71 mg per 12-ounce serving and contains taurine and glucuronolactone, commonly referred to as "energy drinks," to anyone under 18 years of age.
Although energy drinks seem to be morphing into "everyday soft drinks," Wesley cautions that these power potions should not be used as fluid replacements nor should they be consumed by children. When energy drinks were first introduced, they were 8.3 ounces (and some still are). Today 16 ounces is standard, and he predicts 24 ounces may become the next norm. Wesley says he's concerned that larger sizes encourage increased daily consumption. Exotic ingredients including yohimbine, bitter orange (synephrine) and others also should be avoided, he adds.