PERKIN, Ill - A high school in Illinois has suspended four students for eating caffeinated mints.
School employees at Pekin Community High School initially thought the students were taking illegal drugs. After an inspection, school officials found out the pills were legal, but they stood by their decision citing the potential health risks.
According to some doctors, it was probably the right decision.
Seventeen year-old Jake Walker and three friends were suspended from school, after they were caught with the caffeinated mints.
"I see people bringing in energy drinks and coffee to school everyday," Walker said. "I thought it's healthier. Why not try to get more energy."
Officials with the school issued a statement, saying in part: "Pekin Community High School approaches consumption of mood-altering substances very seriously given both the health risks at issue and a mission to keep both illegal and legal drugs and substances out of the school."
Doctors said the mints pack more caffeine than a serving of coffee, a soft drink and an energy drink.
"If you want to get a lot of caffeine, its hard to do with a cup of coffee or an energy drink -- you'll get bloated and too full after two or three drinks and stop. With mints, it's very easy to overdose because you just keep on popping them," said Dr. David Zich, an emergency physician.
Walker and his friends were not hurt by the mints, but they did miss their homecoming as a result of their punishment.
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