Criminal, DUI and Personal Injury Lawyers in Marietta

Energy Drinks and False Positive Drug Tests

Following on the heels of reports about the dangers of certain energy drinks and links to caffeine intoxication and deaths, come new reports of energy drinks causing false positive drug test results.  Recently, while in court on a drug test compliance calendar, my client tested positive for the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  Based on these results, he was facing numerous adverse consequences, including, revocation of his probation, loss of first offender sentencing and jail time.  My client swore that he had not consumed marijuana nor been around anyone that had.  After much deliberation, we were able to get the court to agree to allow him to take a second test.   I took my client to the side and quizzed him about the positive test result and how it could have occurred.  My client reiterated that the only thing he had consumed that day was a Monster brand energy drink a half an hour or so before his drug test.  After some quick research, it turns out that Riboflavin (a B vitamin and an ingredient in Monster) and ibuprofen, an alleged unlisted ingredient in Monster brand energy drinks, can cause false positive drug screens for THC.  After waiting an hour and retesting, my client’s second drug test came up negative for all drugs, including THC.  Needless to say, my client was beyond relieved and the Court was quite perplexed by the turn of events.  This is a great lesson for attorneys to make sure their clients are aware of this potential problem and for anyone subject to random drug screens as part of a bond condition, probation condition or for their job to be aware that they could screen positive for THC despite not having consumed any illegal substance.


Comments (1)


    July 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I just came across this article by googling unlisted ingredients in Monster energy… I had consumed two lo carb monster energy drinks to help me stay awake on a 2000 mile drive across the US, and I thought I would drink Monster as a change from the usual Red Bull and Pink Rockstars. Anyway, during my trip I have felt really sick, I ending up vomiting eventually, and I had the worst migraine ever. Also, I had to pull over several times because I felt like I was very incredibly and unwillingly under the influence of tetrahydrachloride, which doesn’t make sense because I don’t smoke weed. I don’t like smoking weed.

    Anyway, thought I would comment, because I think the problem is deeper than a false-positive issue. The fact that Monster puts THC in their energy drinks without labeling it as an ingredient (active or inactive) is unconstitutional. Seriously, I feel like such shit right now, and it could have just been avoided if on the ingredients list, THC was listed, even in trace amounts.

    I never thought I would be sitting at a rest stop at 6 am trying to get sober from Monster’s apparent THC [or whatever mystery ingredients are making me feel like this]. But I am, and I’m writing this e-mail to you because I have to do something with my time, and really, it seems like a very worthwhile incident to note from a legal perspective.



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