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Officials Issue Warning After Healthy Teen Dies From Consuming Popular Drink

Just because a drink is popular, that doesn't mean it's good for you. This story serves as a tragic example.

An Arizona teen was visiting Mexico with a friend's family, trying to get in some fun in the sun before school started again. The girl, an otherwise healthy, athletic 16-year-old, unexpectedly died. Doctors believe that the child overdosed on energy drinks.

Lanna Hamman of Peoria, Arizona suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack while vacationing with friends in Rocky Point, Mexico. She was only 16 years old and she was on vacation with her friend and her friend's parents. Her stunned family couldn't understand how this could have happened to the softball player.

Her mother Kris says that the mystery began to unravel when her friend confessed that Lanna had not been drinking any water on the beach that day. She had, however, consumed multiple energy drinks.

Later that evening, Lanna started complaining to her friend's father that she was feeling ill. Shortly after that, she collapsed. She went into cardiac arrest.

The friend's parents never realized that Lanna was consuming a dangerous amount of energy drinks, and Mrs. Hamman doesn't blame them. She realizes that Lanna could have made the same mistake at home in Arizona while out in the heat having summer fun.

The mom does blame the makers of energy drinks. The drinks are touted as soft drinks that give you a boost. With colorful cartoons and funny commercials, they're often marketed to young people, even though they can be dangerous.

The Hammons organized community action aimed at Red Bull, the manufacturer of Lanna's energy drink of choice.

"Hundreds of us tried contacting Red Bull through email, Twitter, phone and not one response was given back," said Lanna's friend, Noa Thomas.

Red Bull has not responded to the flood of questions and concerns.

After several deaths related to caffeine overdoses in recent years, the FDA has launched an investigation into the safety of caffeine products for youths and adolescents. Large amounts of caffeine are known to be dangerous to the heart, but at this point there is no clear link between energy drinks and health dangers. "When it comes to energy drinks and supplements, there are so many things in the product it's hard to isolate the caffeine," said a spokesperson for the FDA to Time Magazine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends minors avoid energy drinks. The medical journal, 'Pediatrics', conducted a study that showed youths are consuming more energy drinks and coffee than ever in the past.

Many of Lanna's friends are vowing to lay off the energy drinks from now on, though. "I won't be purchasing any energy drinks in the future, and I'm considering no longer consuming soda products as well," says Joey Kobold, a former friend of Lanna. "I never really thought there was an issue—just a good-tasting drink."

Thomas supports the efforts of Lanna's family and friends to try and raise awareness about the dangers of energy drinks. He says of Lanna, "She always wanted to ... change the world. Maybe this way she can."

Source: Daily Mail, Time
Photo: Refinery 29/Kris Baron Friedman

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