A Sussex MP has raised concerns about the safety of energy drinks following the death of a 25-year-old man said to have consumed up to 15 cans a day.
Maria Caulfield met with the family of Justin Bartholomew, of Newhaven, who believe that his mental health concerns were exacerbated by the highly concentrated energy drinks they say he was drinking every day.
Having listened to the family’s concerns, the MP questioned Ministers in the Department for Health in the House of Commons.
She said, “My constituent Justin Bartholomew, a young man of just 25, recently committed suicide by hanging himself. His family are convinced that the high energy drinks he was taking, over to 15 cans a day, increased his anxiety and contributed to his suicide.
“Can I ask the Minister therefore as there is growing concern about the safety of these energy drinks, what assessment the Department is taking to look at the safety of these drinks?”
Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price replied, “I thank my honourable friend for sharing this very moving case. I can say though that we have no evidence that such drinks cause that at this stage, but we do know that all stimulants whether its alcohol or caffeine do actually have consequences which can affect people’s mental health, so this is something I think does bear examination.”
Following the exchange in the House of Commons Maria Caulfield said, “I was very moved to read of Justin Bartholomew’s case and met with the Bartholomew family to discuss their concerns about how they believe his consumption of so many energy drinks affected his mental health and contributed to his suicide.
“I said I would do all I can to help them and that included ensuring that their concerns were brought to Government. I will continue to do all that I can to help the family at this sad time.”