Energy drinks such as Red Bull have become very popular for the mix of caffeine and chemicals that will increase energy. Now, anti-energy drinks are hitting shelves, and are marketed as a relaxant for those times when many people would go for a stiff drink.
“When you are stressed out, normally you’d have a drink,” said the founder of Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda, Matt Moody. “You can’t walk around smelling like vodka all day. I wanted to try to make something you can have to mellow you out. It’s not going to make you stumble, fall down and slur your speech. It’s a quick fix to slow things down when things get hectic.”
Some of the sodas contain herbal downers such as kava kava, passionflower, melatonin, valerian root, and even marijuana.
The Food and Drug Administration states that melatonin is not “generally recognized as safe” and is not approved as a food additive. The brand Drank was pressured about its use of the ingredient by the FDA, and subsequently changed the label of the product to “supplement” instead of beverage.
Many protestors of the drink liken it to a street concoction called “Drank” and “Purple Lean” that involves codeine cough syrup mixed with syrup and Jolly Ranchers. Many are calling it a gateway to harder drugs.
“The modeling of this drug is worse than candy cigarettes,” said Ronald Peters of the University of Texas Health Science Center. “It actually has sedatives in it. They didn’t have quasi-nicotine in candy cigarettes, but this one has it in it. It makes it an unethical product.”