The former Managing Director of the Liberia Medicine and Health Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) Dr. David Sumo, has flagged out the danger of proliferation of street sale caffeinated energy drinks and called for strict regulation by the Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“These days, our streets are flooded with the increasing wave of unregulated street selling of caffeinated energy drinks, young boys and girls are usually seen between and among moving vehicles and the sidewalks with varieties of brands of Energy Drinks for sale,” Dr. Sumo said.
According to him, it is a deadly potential weapon that, if left to thrive in the population unregulated as it currently is, there will be a continued loss of precious lives of very important members of the society.
On his official Facebook page, Dr. Sumo revealed that some, if not most of these energy drinks, are usually near expiry or have already expired before finding their way to the open market at a very low cost.
Dr. Sumo, who has been critical when it comes to fighting fake, expired, or counterfeit drugs or drinks and other harmful substances on the Liberian market, disclosed that the daily consumption of caffeine concentrated caned-drinks (Energy Drink) is on the rise.
“People of various ages, young and old (some with pre-existing conditions including hypertension and diabetes), are seen consuming anywhere between two to three servings of these dangerous drinks daily as a means of replacing lost energy,” Pharmacist Sumo averred.
Dr. Sumo said research has found that the health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content.
Speaking on some of the potential risks associated with energy drink consumption, Pharmacist Sumo said caffeine overdose lead to a number of symptoms, including palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, convulsions and, in some cases, death.
The former LMHRA Boss pointed out that perhaps this is one of the contributing factors to the increase cases of stroke among young people in Liberia now.
He stressed that one of the risks associated with huge consumption of energy drinks could be type two diabetes; as high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity; adding that this is another growing health problem in Liberia as of now.
The former LMHRA Managing Director said the danger associated with the huge consumption of expired energy drinks could lead to late miscarriages, low birth-weight and stillbirths in pregnant women; adding that this could also be caused by a call for cushion among young underprivileged women of child bearing ages.
Research has shown that energy drinks also contain a variety of other ingredients, such as guarana, and the effect of long-term regular consumption of the combination of the substances in energy drinks is unknown but could be harmful.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sumo has called on relevant authorities including the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Health to curtail this situation by helpubg to create prevention awareness to abolish the intake of mixed energy drinks with alcohol.
He said the increased practice of mixed energy drinks and alcohol as often seen at drinking spots around Monrovia also carries risks and young people specifically are urged to stop.
Mr. Sumo disclosed that research shows that the consumption of high amounts of caffeine (as found in energy drinks) reduces drowsiness without diminishing the effects of alcohol, resulting in “wide awake drunkenness.”
“Therefore, there is the risk that people will engage in risky and dangerous behavior, such as violence or sexual assault, as the mixing of alcohol and caffeine can lead to the loss of inhibition,” he said.
Pharmacist David Sumo has Medical Degree (MD) in Pharmacology and Medicine, and practiced medicine for many years.
According to Dr. Sumo, there is a need for policy development and enforcement to regulate and control the sale and advertisement of energy drinks in Liberia.
Speaking from a medical point of view on his official Facebook page, Sumo suggested that restriction on the sale of energy drinks to children, adolescents and proper education provided by healthcare providers to recognize caffeine intoxication, withdrawal and dependence are some ways to help the situation.