Do Energy Drinks Plus Alcohol Equal More Injuries?

Mixing caffeine-loaded energy drinks with booze can lead to trouble. According to a study, the popularity of the party duo increases the chances that someone will get hurt.

Canadian researchers analyzed 13 previous studies. They found that alcohol paired with energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster Energy causes more injuries than drinking alcohol alone.

Audra Roemer, a University of Victoria graduate student, said that current research supports the relationship between alcohol consumption and energy drinks and its connection to increased risk of injury.

Researchers also looked at suicide and violent behavior, in addition to car accidents and falls. Roemer found that the injury risk for combination drinkers could be multiple times greater, whether it is accidental or intentional.

Roemer stated that energy drinks have stimulant effects that can mask the sedative effects of alcohol, but don’t diminish the harmful effects of alcohol.

She added that this could lead to people underestimating their intoxication.

Cecile Marczinski, an alcohol use researcher, says that mixing alcohol with highly caffeinated beverages became very popular around 10 years ago. She is a Northern Kentucky University psychology professor.

Marczinski, who was not involved in the study, said that it is a “young person’s drink.” She said that it is often sold in bars and restaurants as a mixture of vodka and Red Bull or Monster Energy.

They are considered party drinks. She said that you don’t usually see someone at home mixing energy drinks and alcohol.

The United States and Canada have banned prepackaged caffeinated alcohol drinks. Although, Marczinski stated that you can purchase the components individually and mix them yourself in a glass.

These results are not always pleasant. The number of emergency department visits that involved energy drinks almost doubled between 2007-2011, with approximately 15% of these visits being related to combination alcohol-energy drink use.

Roemer stated that approximately 25% of Canadian college students indulge in the drink combination. She said that many devotees enjoy the flavor and the stimulant effects of highly caffeinated energy drinks.

Roemer stated that they also enjoy being able to stay awake longer and party harder. She said that some people feel they can have more alcohol without getting drunk.

Marczinski stated that although people may feel more alert when they drink alcohol and take in caffeine, this perception is not consistent with reality.

Red Bull claims that an 8-ounce container of Red Bull contains approximately 80 mgs of caffeine. This is comparable to a cup of coffee.

Roemer and Tim Stockwell, a University of Victoria professor, reviewed 13 studies. Only five of them were American. All of the studies examined the links between caffeinated alcohol drinks and suicidal thoughts, unsafe driving/motor vehicle accidents, and injuries.

The study used several methods to analyze the issue. It also looked at different groups of people such as U.S. college students and high school seniors from the U.S., and manual workers in Taiwan.

Ten studies showed that drinking the alcohol/energy drink duo was associated with higher rates of injury than drinking alcohol alone. It’s not known how often these injuries occur. The studies do not prove that combination drinks are to blame for these mishaps. The extra risk could be caused by other factors.

One of the three studies that found no connection between the two was an Australian paper that found that people who drank alcohol alone were more likely to be injured than those who added energy drinks to their alcohol.

The studies also suggested that combo drinkers were more likely to take chances and seek sensation. This could explain the higher risk of injury.

Marczinski recommends that people refrain from combining alcohol and energy drinks to avoid potential dangers.

The March issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs features the study.

Updated on 01/20/2022