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Dr. Provet on the risks of caffeinated alcoholic drinks

The New York Times published a letter to the editor by Odyssey House President Dr. Provet on the dangers caffeinated alcoholic beverages pose to underage drinkers. Read the letter below and let us know what you think. To read the original article, click here.

November 3, 2010
The Risks in Alcoholic Drinks

To the Editor:

In “Doctors Point to Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks’ Dangers” (news article, Oct. 27), alarming reports of inebriated students ending up in emergency rooms are the tip of the iceberg.

The broader problem is the number of young people who are being manipulated by targeted marketing strategies into abusing this dangerous mix of chemical antagonists that could irreversibly damage their still-developing brains.

Treatment centers across the country repair the lives of thousands of troubled teenagers whose
multiple dysfunctions can be traced back to abuse of inexpensive alcoholic beverages explicitly created to entice the lucrative and impressionable youth market.

This latest business twist, adding a high dose of caffeine to mask the effect of alcohol in sweetened drinks, has long-term consequences: heavy alcohol use in adolescence has been found to lead to a reduction in attention and executive brain functioning.

How many more young people will fail to reach their full potential before we take Four Loko and beverages like it off supermarket shelves?

Peter Provet
President and Chief Executive Officer
Odyssey House

What do you think of this trend? Do you think the beverage companies are deliberately marketing to underage consumers?

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