Energy drinks are everywhere. They're one of the fastest growing drinks in America. Not only do they give you a buzz, but they are getting quite the buzz from college students.
"I think energy is just something that everyone wants and this is the newest way to get a lot of energy very fast," said college student, Steven Gillmer.
"It's really the boost you get immediately when you start drinking it because there is a lot of sugar in it. It will sustain you with the caffeine that is involved in it," said college student, Douglas Brady.
Some doctors are concerned. A new government report shows ER visits doubled in the last four years from about 10,000 to more than 20,000 after people drank them.
Dr. Timothy Wiegand is the Director of Toxicology at University of Rochester Medical Center. Wiegand believes a lot of those visits were from people combining energy drinks with alcohol or drugs.
"Usually the population of people that are doing it are binge drinking to begin with. They're looking for the intense intoxication. They are stuporous, drunk, vomited, drank too much that they can't wake up even in a coma," said Wiegand.
Most students don't end up in a coma but they admit they like the extra kick that alcohol and energy drinks give them.
"In terms of the Four Lokos, everyone liked those just because you would go out to the bar, you can stay out there, having a blast until 2 a.m. But in the end, just the combination of energy drinks with alcohol wasn't too healthy," said Gillmer.
"It's a way for kids to stay up later through the night if they are going to have a night of drinking," said Brady.
It might seem like Dr. Wiegand is against these drinks but it's just the opposite. If taken responsibly, he believes the drinks are okay. In fact, he says coffee has more caffeine than most energy drinks.
"The five hour energy, probably about 200 mg, which is still only about half as much caffeine as a large Starbucks coffee. This has about 400 mg of caffeine," said Wiegand.
The caffeine is what students like. They say that energy helps them stay focused and alert.
"More concentration. I guess they have specific chemicals in the energy drinks to improve concentration," said Gillmer.
But is that completely true?
"The caffeine will wake them up, it's fairly short acting, you are talking a couple of hours, this isn't something where an energy drink can make people be awake and study without problems for the night, they will be awake and then come down from the caffeine, and have to drink more, or usually, most commonly, people overshoot it at the start, lose their focus and then can't sleep," said Wiegand.
Everybody's different. While some people get their buzz from coffee, it seems like energy drinks are the choice of the younger generation
"Energy drinks are more hip in terms of keeping you up. Yea, I'm going to drink this energy drink. Not only do you get the sugar rush but you also get the caffeine, so it really amps you up when you start consuming it," said Brady.
"I just had more energy. That's what it came down to," said Gillmer.
For Dr. Wiegand, it comes down to safety and that means doing everything in moderation.