WA town bans sale of energy drinks to under 18s to combat declining mental health

A small town in Western Australia will ban people under the age of 18 from buying energy drinks as part of a four-month research trial.

Doctors in the South West community of Bridgetown hope the move will improve the mental health of young people and reduce antisocial behavior.

Researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute will survey young people, parents and retailers before and after the trial, and use nearby communities with similar demographics as a control study.

Bridgetown GP’s Sarah Youngston said she’s seen firsthand the impact energy drinks are having on the town’s youth.

“I’ve noticed some issues with anti-social behavior all over the city. Young people are a little impulsive, a little insecure,” she said.

“And indeed, in my own practice working one-on-one with young people, I have noticed an increase in insomnia and anxiety that is undoubtedly related to energy drink use.

Sarah Youngston says the study is probably the first in Australia. (ABC South West WA: Jackie Lynch)

Younger people are at higher risk

Youngston said energy drinks can affect the heart and cardiovascular system and cause high blood pressure.

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