Re: Making Sure Kids Are Wise to the Pitfalls (Jan. 27).
The recent column by David Vanderveen discussed an incident involving a first year high school student who came home from a party showing signs of incoherence and confusion. She believed that this was the result of drinking three cans of an energy drink, and the possibility that her symptoms could have been due to the caffeine content of such drinks was considered.
As a pharmacologist, it seems to me unlikely that incoherence and confusion would result from the ingestion of the caffeine content of a couple of large cups of strong coffee. Having professionally reviewed cases involving the “spiking” of drinks with illicit “party drugs,” “club drugs” and “date rape drugs,” I believe that parents should be aware of a few cautionary practices to help protect high school and college students from this hazard. Namely: Do not accept a drink from someone you don’t know well or trust; do not accept a drink from an opened can; protect your drink: do not leave it unattended, or if you do, discard it and get a new one; and do not drink anything from a punch bowl—you don’t know what has been added.
Individuals who believe they may be exhibiting symptoms of drug intoxication should seek medical evaluation at a hospital emergency department.
Manfred E. Wolff, Ph.D., Laguna Beach