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New study links energy drinks to substance use in teens

Rochester, N.Y. -- Rafael Martinez said he was drinking energy drinks just about every day, twice a day.

He was trying to boost his energy levels for a special workout training.

Every morning I would drink it and it would feel like the need that I also always needed it through the morning and the afternoon, Martinez said.

But Martinez said he found himself doing something else -- smoking.

The Journal of Addiction Medicine suggested that's not uncommon.

Its recent study surveyed a group of secondary school students and found that of those who consumed energy drinks, 30 percent were more likely to turn to cigarettes and illicit drugs.

The study pointed to many reasons for the link, including mixing energy drinks with alcohol.

In those individuals, particularly in adolescents, there is that part that's looking for that make me feel high, different experience and it might start with energy drinks," said Terry Shelmidine of Unity Behavioral Health. "Usually what happens is that gets old after a while and then you move on to other things."

Health experts said other causes could be social pressures or family history, a main reason why Shelmidine suggested parents educate their children on the risks.

A parent's best defense is always talking and listening to your child, said Shelmidine.


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