Consumption of energy drinks (ED), with or without alcohol, should be considered a warning sign that individuals might be at high risk for ‘alcohol-related consequences’ such as drunk driving.
So write the authors of a new study which examined the patterns of ED use amongst college students, and looked at its associations with risk-taking and alcohol-related problems.
In making their findings, the authors examined data relating to 1,000 individuals who were assessed annually via personal interviews. Consumption of highly caffeinated EDs, with or without alcohol, was frequent; 57 per cent consumed EDs at least once during the previous year. Among ED consumers, 71 per cent consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks and 85 per cent drank ED alone.
After accounting for other risk factors, ED consumption was associated with increased drunk driving frequency when consumed with or without alcohol.
Commenting on the findings, the authors said: “First, a direct path existed from ED frequency (without alcohol) to drunk driving frequency. Second, an indirect path existed from alcohol mixed with energy drinks frequency through alcohol quantity to drunk driving frequency.”
The study is published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.