Thursday, February 27, 2014

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Energy Drinks and Alcohol Consumption

Cold Red Bull CanA recent study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine explored the possible associations between the use of of energy drinks and soft drinks and the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs among nationally representative samples of adolescents in the United States.

The researchers found that the link between consumption of energy drinks and substance use during the past 30 days was greater than the association of either regular or diet soft drinks and substance use. While the authors of the study cautioned against interpreting their findings as suggesting that the use of energy drinks causes increased alcohol or drug use, it is worth noting:
  • The use of energy drinks is fairly common among adolescents
  • The use of energy drinks was associated with an increased risk for substance use
The authors suggest that parents of adolescents should be informed about the potential health risks associated with using energy drinks and alcohol or other substances together. For example, caffeine may reduce how intoxicated an individual feels while under the influence of alcohol; however, it does not lessen his or her impairment on activities such as driving a motor vehicle.


Terry-McElrath, Y. M., OʼMalley, P. M., & Johnston, L. D. (2014). Energy drinks, soft drinks, and substance use among United States secondary school students. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 8, 6-13.