PLYMOUTH (CBS) – Josee Tolles is a busy mother of seven. On her list of parental concerns, she said this didn’t even make the cut.
“I was shocked by so many different things,” Tolles said. “We’re talking fifth grade kids. This is young.”
Her 10-year-old son, Dylan, came home from school Wednesday and almost immediately Josee recognized a problem.
“He was stumbling down the stairs, he was slurring his words, he couldn’t really walk straight. He seemed like he was spacing out a bit,” Tolles recalled.
“Certainly there was something going on that was not normal. It was not behavior that I had ever seen before.”
When Dylan began to vomit, he was rushed to the ER. Eventually he revealed he had ingested some kind of energy drink on the bus.
“He was told it was Kool-Aid, but it kind of helps you concentrate better and it tastes wonderful, so try it,” Tolles said.
She found what remained in his backpack. Police were called, tracked down the fifth grader who supplied the product and determined it was GFUEL, an energy formula designed to enhance focus and sharpen reactions.
Parents at Federal Furnace Elementary in Plymouth were notified of Gamma or GFUEL and its so-called benefits, the company’s own website touts the product’s ability to improve video game performance.
“I’ve kind of gone back and forth between being really angry that this is even available to being concerned,” she said.
As this mother should be, says Marcia Richards, a registered dietitian at Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth.
“The synergy between caffeine and taurine is said to improve athletic performance and perhaps attention, but also has a strong effect on cardiac function.”
Twenty-four hours later, Dylan was back to his normal self just in time for a serious conversation.
“It’s really important to be talking about these kinds of things younger and younger,” she said.
WBZ reached out to the energy drink company for comment. A representative said “he was horrified” and claims this is the first time they have heard of such an instance.
He says the product is marketed to those over 18. The product is only available online and you must have a credit card to purchase it.