A study preformed in Northern Kentucky University, involving college students between the ages of twenty one to thirty three, shows that consuming an energy drink alcohol cocktail significantly raises the dangers of alcohol consumption. The secret ingredient in Energy drinks, caffeine, potentiates the toxic effects of alcohol.
When doctors prescribe medication, they always tell patients about potential drug interactions ? i.e. what dangers they should be aware of when combining certain medications together. What is lesser known, however, is that many ingested substances have harmful potential when ingested concomitantly. Regulation is less stringent when it comes to beverages and this prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban ready-made mixes of caffeinated alcoholic drinks back in November 2010.
The trouble lies in the fact that people, especially young adults and university students, prepare these cocktails themselves, adding stimulating energy drinks (which contain large amounts of caffeine) to alcoholic beverages. This misguided behavior is operated under the premise that the kick they will get from caffeine will somehow improve their response to alcohol, thus lessening its effect. Yet, in fact, the opposite is true. The caffeine jolt will make the person more likely to drink, giving them a false sense of improved performance.
The study has shown that all the college students who consumed alcohol showed decreased impulse control, whether they used stimulating energy drinks or not. The only difference was that those who had concomitantly consumed energy drinks had a false sense of security about their performance. This, according to the researcher, makes them more likely to engage in risky behavior, like driving under influence.
It is note-worthy that such dangers are not associated with the age old practice of mixing Cola with an alcohol beverage, such as rum ? namely because of the small amount of caffeine present in soda as compared to the stimulating energy drinks.
Researchers thus suggest that it would be appropriate for the authorities to force energy drinks manufacturers to put warning labels on their products indicating that they should not be mixed with alcohol. It is also important to challenge the current notion that caffeinated drinks can actually help a person ‘sober up.’