Mixing energy drinks and alcohol could be a dangerous concoction

Combining caffeinated energy drinks such as Monster or Red Bull with alcohol could be more dangerous than consuming either separately, according to a recent study conducted by Dennis Thombs, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Science. In Thombs’ research, bar patrons near a college campus were asked a series of questions after exiting several establishments, and their breath alcohol level was tested.

Bar patrons who reported consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol were three times more likely to exceed the legal limit for driving and four times more likely to intend to drive a vehicle after leaving a bar. Furthermore, analysis indicated that patrons who consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks, on average, exited a bar later in the evening, engaged in drinking for a longer period of time, consumed more total drinks and more grams of ethanol, compared to patrons who did not consume energy dinks that night or who consumed energy drinks and alcohol at different times in the same night (not mixed together).

Thombs and his findings were part of a segment televised on Canadian TV’s investigative program "16:9" this weekend.

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