Mixing alcohol with energy drinks seems to be the new fad among younger drinkers. The common thought among young drinkers is that mixing energy drinks with alcohol creates the buzz of being intoxicated without actually feeling “drunk.” However, researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., have recently discovered that the mindless mixture is increasing the risk of injury in its consumers. Mary Claire O’Brien, one of the authors of the study, stated that the reason for increased injury may be due to the false sense of sobriety the mixture provides. According to the findings, participants that consumed the mixture were more likely than those that consumed alcohol alone to:
• Take advantage of someone sexually, or be taken advantage of
• Become injured
• Ride in a vehicle with someone intoxicated
• Require medical treatment
The conclusion is straightforward; mix moderation with alcohol instead of energy drinks, if you must drink at all. Simply drinking less will provide the sobriety that consumers of the concoction seek after.
The following is an excerpt of an article from Science Daily that reviews the study:
For this study, the authors interviewed 500 students at the School of Medicine at the University of Messina about their use of energy drinks, alone and/or in combination with alcohol. Of the 500 total, 450 students (191 males, 259 females) also completed a questionnaire.
Results indicate that a significant proportion (56.9%) of the students consumed energy drinks. Nearly half (48.4%) of these reported mixing energy drinks and alcohol; and 35.8 percent had consumed that combination more than three times in the preceding month.
“This means that roughly 27 percent of the total sample of students interviewed mixed energy drinks and alcohol,” said Calapai. Even though the results were somewhat expected, both he and Navarra were surprised by the sheer popularity of energy drinks among the students, and even more so by the prevalence of combining energy drinks with alcohol.
“Normally, in my country, our youth have tended to drink their alcohol with meals,” said Calapai. “This new manner of alcohol consumption, mixing it with energy drinks, is largely due to a ‘silent promise’ of escaping the undesirable or sedating effects of alcohol and increasing the desired increase in excitation caused by alcohol.” He blames much of this change in drinking habits on advertising methods that target youth.
“The advertising of energy drinks is addressed almost exclusively to the world of youth,” said Calapai. “The colour and shape of the packaging, its presence at sporting events, and its dedicated sites on the Internet seem to be designed exclusively for young people. Add to this an increase in alcohol consumption among Italian youth, which is commonly believed to also be due to advertising that promotes a more exciting way of life that will supposedly accompany the new drinks being marketed.”