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HHS HealthBeat (April 11, 2014)

Energy drinks and alcohol

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study of college students indicates alcohol and energy drinks might be worse than alcohol alone. At the University of Michigan, researcher Megan Patrick looked at survey data on 652 students over four semesters.

Patrick says the students reported drinking more heavily when they used energy drinks and alcohol – and got into more trouble, as well – compared with using alcohol alone.  

“People who consume energy drinks and alcohol are combining the stimulant effects of caffeine and the depressant effects of alcohol. This combination can make people feel less drunk when they’re actually just as impaired by alcohol.”

And this can lead to big problems if, for instance, the drinker feels good enough to drive.

The study in the Journal of Adolescent Health was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 11, 2014