Precinct 333

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What Would They Do About Tic Tacs?

They were only mints, not drugs. They contained caffeine and another ingredient often found in energy supplements. But they caused a panic at a school in Ohio when several students ate them and began to feel their hearts race.

Now the boy who brought them to school will “only” be suspended for 10 days under a policy banning any item that resembles a drug.

Police won't charge a 13-year-old boy who was suspended for 10 days after he brought caffeine-laced mints to school and his classmates got sick.

Nine students between the ages of 12 and 14 were sent to a hospital last month after eating the mints. The students at Jackson Memorial Middle School near Canton were treated and released for symptoms such as a racing heartbeat.

Police considered filing charges against the boy until they tested the ingredients in the Blast Energy Supplemints.

"We found no illegal substance whatsoever. Just caffeine," said Major Tim Escola.

Besides caffeine, the pills contain taurine, a common ingredient in energy drinks such as Red Bull.

Police estimated about 39 mints could have been eaten by the students. According to the label, a single serving is six mints, which contains 15 milligrams of caffeine. That's about half the amount of caffeine in a regular can of soda.

The mints are distributed by Bally Total Fitness Corp. and advertised on the company's Web site as an ephedra-free pick-me-up for "quick energy support for work, play, school, athletics, weight training and much more."

The boy's mother said she bought the mints at a drug store and that her son took them from her purse without her permission.

School officials suspended the boy for 10 days because school policy prohibits anything that resembles a drug.

So how much caffeine did the kids get from this so-called look-alike drug? About half that provided by a can of soda in the school cafeteria.



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