Doctors Warn Against “Cocaine” Energy Drink

It’s called “Cocaine” but it doesn’t contain the drug you think it does.

This is one of those ‘energy drinks’ that have become all the rage on store shelves, especially with the younger crowd.

It essentially delivers a jolt of high levels of caffeine, which gives drinkers a feeling of at least temporary energy and alertness.

But the fact that this particular drink is aimed at kids and has been given that name is upsetting a lot of people.

Cocaine was launched in September of last year and was supposed to be a competitor to Jolt Cola, Red Bull and other similar concoctions. 

But with 280 miilgrams of caffeine in each can, it went far beyond the others.

Its creators originally wanted to call it Reboot. But they got lucky when they found the name was already taken. So they decided to try something else.

“We knew we would get noticed against a thousand other energy drinks,” Hannah Kirby recalled last fall. “We knew kids would find it cool, but we also wanted to stress the idea that it’s an energy drink, you don’t need drugs.”

And so Cocaine – the drink – was born.

But with a moniker like that, it was bound to upset parents.

Many stores in the U.S., including 7-11, have banned it.

It’s technically not for sale in Canada, but you can order it over the Internet. Which is how CityNews got hold of it. And so can your kids.

And now many are asking is it dangerous for them?

It’s not the danger that’s the problem, believes Dr. Miriam Kaufman of the Hospital for Sick Children. It’s the example it sets.

“It’s made to appeal to kids … I don’t think it’s a good thing to make cocaine cool, to glamourize it,” she worries.

But would anyone actually want to take a swig? Not consumers like Jocelyn Merkley. “It’s just unappealing,” she responds. “I can’t believe they’d ever put it in stores.”

And Kaufman warns it’s not just a name or a taste issue that’s the problem.

“You knock back two or three of these, you might have heart palpitations, you might even have hallucinations.”

So how much caffeine is too much? Here’s a list of some of the most common sources of the substance and how they compare to the energy drinks.


Brewed – 237 ml (1cup) – 135 milligrams of caffeine

Roasted and ground, percolated – 237 ml (1cup) – 118mg

Roasted and ground, filter drip – 237 ml (1cup) – 179mg

Roasted and ground, decaffeinated – 237 ml (1cup) – 3mg

Instant – 237 ml (1cup) – 76 – 106mg

Instant decaffeinated – 237 ml (1cup) – 5mg



Average blend – 237 ml (1cup) – 43mg

Green – 237 ml (1cup) – 30mg

Instant – 237 ml (1cup) – 15mg

Leaf or bag – 237 ml (1cup) – 50mg

Decaffeinated tea – 237 ml (1cup) – 0mg



Cola beverage, regular – 355ml (1 can) – 36 – 46mg

Diet cola – 355ml (1 can) – 39 – 50mg


Cocoa Products

Chocolate milk – 237ml – 8mg

1 envelope hot-cocoa mix – 237ml – 5mg

Candy, milk chocolate – 28g – 7mg

Candy, sweet chocolate – 28g – 19mg

Baking chocolate, unsweetened – 28g – 25 – 58mg

Chocolate cake – 80g – 6mg

Chocolate brownies – 42g – 10mg

Chocolate mousse – 90g – 15mg

Chocolate pudding – 145g – 9mg

Energy Drinks

Jolt Cola: 71 mg. (1 can)

Red Bull: 80 mg. (1 can)

Cocaine Energy Drink: 280 mg. (1 can)

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world. It’s a central nervous system stimulant that’s derived from the coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut and cacao pod.

Health effects of caffeine

Research has shown that people who consume too much caffeine can experience the following side effects:

  • Insomnia,
  • Headaches,
  • Irritability,
  • Nervousness,
  • Abdominal or stomach pain,
  • Agitation,
  • Anxiety,
  • Excitement,
  • Restlessness,
  • Confusion or delirium,
  • Convulsions (seizures),
  • Dehydration,
  • Increased breathing rates,
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat,
  • Increased sensitivity to touch or pain,
  • Muscle trembling or twitching,
  • Nausea and vomiting.

What Is A Healthy Daily Amount Of Caffeine?

Health Canada recommends that average adults limit their daily caffeine intake to 400-450 mg. That level hasn’t been associated with any adverse effects.

But the daily dosage changes if you’re a woman in her child-bearing years or a child. Here’s the maximum daily caffeine intake recommended for those two groups:


4-6 Years: 45mg

7-9 Years: 62.5mg

10-12 Years: 300mg


Women planning on getting pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding mothers: 300 mg

Source: Health Canada & U.S. National Institutes Of Health

Caffeine is also the subject of much speculation on the Internet. One of the strangest sites devoted to the substance has to be “Death by Caffeine”, a place where you can calculate how much of the drug it would take to kill you. To see it, click here.

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