New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating whether energy drink companies are violating federal law by promoting the beverages as dietary supplements instead of cans of liquid speed. According to the WSJ the companies that received subpoenas were Monster Beverage Corp, PepsiCo (which makes Amp) and Living Essentials LLC, the company that sells, 5-Hour-Energy, those little vials of chalk-tasting juice that makes you feel like a squirrel is breakdancing in your ribcage.

According to the Times, Schneiderman's office is also looking into whether the products contain additional ingredients that raise the total caffeine content without including it on the label.

The American Beverage Association, the same trade group that is astroturfing the "grass roots" campaign against Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban, pointed out that consumers can make informed decisions for themselves by reading the caffeine content on the back of the cans (fact: cans of Monster or 5-Hour-Energy don't tell you exactly how much caffeine is in the product).

The statement points to "a number of voluntary policies pertaining to energy drinks over the last several years," such as "voluntarily displaying an advisory statement on packages, noting that energy drinks are not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women and people sensitive to caffeine," and "voluntarily not marketing energy drinks to children; and voluntarily not offering energy drinks for sale in K-12 schools.”

People need stimulants to maintain the misguidedly frenetic pace of their working lives to while away the hours before shuffling off this mortal coil, and as such the market for energy drinks is the fastest-growing in the beverage-shilling sector. Sales roles 16% last year to $8.9 billion, making up 12% of the carbonated soft drink market. Monster is the volume leader, followed by Red Bull, then Rockstar.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, emergency room visits resulting from energy drink use rose tenfold from 2005 to 2008. Half of the patients ages 18 to 25 had used alcohol or other substances with the energy drinks.

“A person who co-ingests an energy drink and alcohol doesn’t understand how drunk they are,” epidemiologist Amelia Arria tells the Times. She adds, “The term ‘energy drink’ is misleading. Energy should come from calories— this is more about stimulation.”

A rep for Monster told the WSJ, "Monster energy drinks are completely safe, and we stand behind our products."