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Last Updated: Tuesday December 09 2008 05:47 GMT

Maddy meets a girl addicted to caffeine

Maddy and Naomi

A 13-year-old girl who ended up in hospital because she drank too many energy drinks is trying to stop other children being able to buy them.

Naomi, who lives on the Isle of Wight, got addicted to caffeine, which is one of the ingredients in the drinks. Energy drinks like these are aimed at adults.

Maddy went to meet her.


"From the moment I arrived at the flat Naomi shares with her family, she was really friendly and chatty.

She showed me the room she and her two sisters sleep in. It was full of girly stuff like body sprays, magazines, hair bobbles and some really cool bangles!

Naomi ended up getting addicted to the energy drinks, after her friend's dad gave her one to try when she was just 10.

'Buzzing'

She enjoyed the taste and says she felt "energetic and buzzing" afterwards.

Naomi
Soon she started spending all her pocket money on them, then she borrowed money from her mates to buy even more! By the time she was 12, she was drinking seven a day!

Naomi used to sneak in energy drinks and hide them in her bedroom. But her dad found out, and now he makes sure there are never any in the flat.

In the end drinking so many made Naomi ill. It made Naomi moody, tired and snappy, and she often had big rows with her family and friends.

One day, she collapsed after a parade at sea cadets and ended up in hospital.

Naomi told me the whole thing was really scary. It was made worse because she found the food on the wards really yucky compared with her dad's cooking.

Doctors say Naomi became ill because she got addicted to an ingredient called caffeine that's in a number of energy drinks.

How much caffeine in...?
Maddy checks out what's in an energy drink
A glass of cola - around 35 milligrams
A cup of coffee - around 65 milligrams
Energy drinks in the UK - up to 160 milligrams
It's also found in tea and coffee but in much smaller amounts.

Experts say it's OK for adults to have a few drinks with caffeine in them every day, but the chemical has a much bigger effect on children.

Warnings

The people who make these energy drinks don't want people younger than 16 to be able to drink them and most big companies like Red Bull do put warnings on the cans or bottles.

Major supermarkets usually stop children buying them too, but many smaller shops don't.

Naomi told me she really wants everywhere to be banned from selling energy drinks to children. She thinks they should be put behind shop counters like cigarettes are. I could tell she was really worried about other kids getting as ill as she did.

Naomi now goes to see a doctor every week to check she is getting better. A counsellor has also been giving her tips on how to relax and enjoy herself without drinking energy drinks.

Brave

I reckon Naomi has been following that advice because she was calm and smiley the whole time I was at her flat. And her oldest sister told me she's become a much nicer person to share a room with since she gave up her habit!

Overall, I think Naomi's been very brave and I really hope she manages to stay away from energy drinks until she is older."

Maddy