Energy Drinks Promote Binge Drinking

alcohol and energy drinksA new study shows that consuming energy drinks with alcohol increase a person’s urge to drink. The study found that people who consumed a cocktails with energy drinks had a greater desire to keep drinking alcohol than someone drinking a cocktail without the added energy drink.

This new research could be used to restrict the use of energy drinks in bars as a means of fighting alcohol related harm and public drunkenness.

"The most important implication of the findings is in terms of policies around the sale of energy drinks in bars and night clubs where people are consuming alcohol, and the sale of pre-mixed A+EDs more generally," said Rebecca McKetin, a fellow at the Australian National University's Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Well-being. "Our findings suggest that energy drinks may increase people drinking to intoxication, and consequently increase the risk of alcohol-related problems like drunk-driving and alcohol-fuelled violence. Our study alone does not provide enough evidence to advocate for restrictions on the availability of energy drinks in bars, but it is an important step."

This latest study builds on the growing case for regulating the use of energy drinks in conjunction with alcohol. This could be especially important for harm reduction in young drinkers as they are statistically likely to consume energy drink based cocktails and they are already more likely to binge drink than many other groups.

While this study tested the interaction between energy drinks and alcohol, the study was limited by scientific ethics. Researchers were only allowed to use very small amounts of alcohol and energy drink which were diluted in fruit juice. This kept people in the study safe but it means the study did not mimic the drinking habits of people in bars and clubs. People drinking on a night out are far more likely to drink more alcohol and energy drink than they did in the study. This means the increased urge for alcohol could become greater with higher consumption. 

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