Be sure to read Executive Director’s note at the end of story – more evidence the NC Legislature shouldn’t have approved “Pop the Cap”
University of Florida, Gainsville Press Release
Energy drinks, favored among young people for the beverage’s caffeine jolt, also play a lead role in several popular alcoholic drinks, such as Red Bull and Vodka. But combining alcohol and energy drinks may create a dangerous mix, according to University of Florida research.
In a study of college-aged adults exiting bars, patrons who consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol had a threefold increase risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated and were four times as likely to intend to drive after drinking than bar patrons who drank alcohol only.
The study appears in the April issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.
“Previous laboratory research suggests that when caffeine is mixed with alcohol it overcomes the sedating effects of alcohol, and people may perceive that they are less intoxicated than they really are,” said the study’s lead researcher Dennis Thombs, an associate professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Profession’s department of behavioral science and community health. “This may lead people to drink more or make uninformed judgments about whether they are safe to drive.”
Experts believe that among college drinkers, as many as 28 percent consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks in a typical month.
The UF study is the first of its kind to evaluate the effects of alcohol mixed with energy drinks in an actual drinking environment, that is, at night outside bars. Research on college student alcohol use in campus communities has traditionally relied on self-report questionnaires administered to sober students in daytime settings, Thombs said.
Bar patrons who reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks – 6.5 percent of study participants – were three times more likely to be intoxicated than drinkers who consumed alcohol only. The average breath alcohol concentration reading for those who mixed alcohol and energy drinks was 0.109, well above the legal driving limit of 0.08. Consumers of energy drink cocktails also left bars later at night, drank for longer periods of time, ingested more grahams of ethanol and were four times more likely to express an intention to drive within the hour than patrons who drank alcohol only.
Consumers of alcohol with energy drinks may drink more and misjudge their capabilities because caffeine diminishes the sleepy feeling most people experience as they become intoxicated. It’s a condition commonly described as “wide-awake and drunk,” said study co-author Bruce Goldberger, a professor and director of toxicology in the UF College of Medicine.
“There’s a very common misconception that if you drink caffeine with an alcoholic beverage the stimulant effect of the caffeine counteracts the depressant effect of the alcohol, and that is not true, Goldberger said. “We know the caffeine aggravates the degree of intoxication, which can lead to risky behaviors.”
This story was used by permission as printed in the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems.
Executive Director’s Note:
A May 28 news report from WABC in New York, New York, reveals that the latest craze in energy drinks is Four Loko. This energy drink is packed with caffeine and sugar and is 12 percent alcohol. Teens are referring to it as coke in a can and they don’t mean Coca-Cola.
Until the passage of the “Pop the Cap” legislation in 2005, which the Christian Action League fought hard to defeat and lost, any malt beverage above 6 percent was illegal to sale in this state. But now that the cap on alcohol has been lifted from 6 percent to 15 percent, energy drinks like Four Loco are eligible to be sold in this State.
If any of our readers know of where Four Loko is being sold in the Tar Heel State, please contact CAL at 919.787.0606, email: email@example.com.
For related story see: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7468431