Energy drinks plus alcohol pose a public health threat

December 2, 2013

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is riskier than just drinking alcohol alone, according to a new study that examines the impact of a growing trend among young adults.

Published in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study was conducted by Megan Patrick of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and Jennifer Maggs of Penn State University.

"We found that tended to drink more heavily and become more intoxicated on days they used both and alcohol, compared to days they only used alcohol," said Patrick, lead author of the study.

While the U.S. no longer permits manufacturers to premix high-caffeine products with alcohol, mixed drinks such as vodka Red Bulls and Jäger bombs, made by dropping a shot of Jägermeister liquor into a glass of Red Bull, are becoming increasingly popular.

According to the researchers, the public health implications include not only physical risks to individuals from blacking out and , for example, but also exposing the community to dangerous situations in which may be "wide awake drunk" after a night of partying.

Patrick and Maggs analyzed data on 652 college students over a period of four semesters. During four two-week periods, the students answered questions every day about their consumption of energy drinks and alcohol, and about any negative consequences they experienced as a result—from having a hangover to getting into trouble.

"Our findings suggest that the use of energy drinks and alcohol together may lead to heavier drinking and more serious alcohol-related problems," Patrick said. "As energy drinks become more and more popular, we should think about prevention strategies for reducing the negative consequences of using energy drinks and of combining energy drinks with ."

Related Stories

French lawmakers approve tax on energy drinks

October 24, 2013

French lawmakers on Thursday approved a tax on energy drinks such as Red Bull over health concerns, amid growing claims that high-caffeine products are hazardous to young people.

Recommended for you

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

July 7, 2015

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.