Highly caffeinated beverages continue to be dangerous health risk to young people. A recent study shows some evidence that teens who consume energy drinks are more likely to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Researchers at the Journal of Addiction Medicine analyzed data from nearly 22,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12. Students who consumed energy drinks were two to three times more likely to say they’d recently used alcohol, cigarettes and drugs than those who didn’t consume energy drinks. While soft drink consumption was also linked to use of these substances, the association was much stronger for energy drinks.
“The current study indicates that adolescent consumption of energy drinks/shots is widespread and that energy drink users also report heightened risk for substance use,” wrote Yvonne Terry-McElrath and colleagues at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
Energy drinks, in addition to containing caffeine in amounts as high as 240mg per serving, are heavily sweetened and easy to drink, which appeals more to the younger demographic. Some of the serious side effects of major caffeine consumption include cardiac arrest, headaches, insomnia, drug interaction, risky behavior and more.
Although manufacture of alcohol-laced energy drinks have, for the most part, been discontinued in the US, it is extremely easy for a young person to create their own mixture. Health implications include blacking out and suffering from alcohol poisoning. The practice can expose communities to individuals who are “wide awake drunk”: because of the combo of alcohol and caffeine, a person is not aware how much they are drinking, so they continue drinking until they can’t take any more.
More information and resources:
- Energy drinks, alcohol don’t mix – TribLive
- Caffeine Info Often Misleading or Missing on Energy Drink Labels – WebMD
- Teens’ Energy Drink Habit May Be Linked to Booze, Tobacco, Drug Use – HealthDay News
- Teens Who Consume Energy Drinks May Be More Likely to Use Alcohol and Drugs – DrugFree.org
- The Trouble with Energy Drinks – Straight Up blog post by teen
- Alcohol + energy drinks — information and resources – Straight Up blog post
- New news about alcoholic energy drinks – Straight Up blog post
- More lives affected by dangerous energy drinks – Straight Up blog post
- Energy drinks ‘increase the risk of mental health problems and drug and alcohol abuse’ – Daily Mail
- Energy drinks may be linked to teen depression: Ontario study – Toronto Star
- Canadian teens’ energy drink habit linked to depression, substance abuse – Calgary Herald