WKYT Investigates: Energy drinks send teen to the ER

HARRISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - They're blamed for a growing number of trips to the emergency room. Energy drinks claiming to keep drowsiness away, instead seem to be sending some teens to the hospital.

In a WKYT investigation, we spoke to a teen who drank one energy drink too many and ended up in the ER.

"She had had a Red Bull when she left the store, and then turned around about an hour later or so and she told me a part of another one," noted teen Sierra Ritchie's mother Dawn Ritchie, describing to WKYT the symptoms her daughter had shortly after drinking one.

"Me and my friends were going into town to just ride around and I got another one. And I took three or four drinks, then five minutes later my chest started hurting," Sierra Ritchie explained, "It was like I couldn't breathe. Like I was getting short of breathe."

Pediatrician Donna Grigsby says those symptoms are normal when young adults and energy drinks mix.

"Your body isn't really set up at that age to drink a lot of caffeine," Dr. Grigsby said. "Obviously caffeine is a stimulant and it stimulates receptors in the body that control your blood pressure and your heart rate and your state of alertness."

We checked the numbers with Mayo Clinic research. They say one can of Red Bull has almost as much caffeine as three cans of Coke. Ritchie's mother wants the cans labeled better.

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