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Energy Drinks, Alcohol a Risky MixEnergy Drinks, Alcohol a Risky Mix

February 11, 2010

1 Min Read
Energy Drinks, Alcohol a Risky Mix

GAINESVILLE, Fla.People who consume energy drinks mixed with alcohol have a threefold increased risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated and are four times more likely to intend to drive after drinking than bar patrons who drink alcohol only, according to a new study published in the April issue of Addictive Behaviors.

Consumers of alcohol mixed 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, PhD, a professor and director of toxicology in the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Experts believe that among college drinkers, as many as 28 percent consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks in a typical month. The University of Florida 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.

Data for the UF study were collected in 2008 from more than 800 randomly selected patrons exiting establishments in a college bar district between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Bar patrons who reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks6.5 percent of study participantswere 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 grams of ethanol and were four times more likely to express an intention to drive within the hour than patrons who drank alcohol only.

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