Red Bull gives you injuries

Study: energy drink cocktails lead to questionable behaviour

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Red Bull and Alcohol

Jonas Hrebeniuk

WHO DO I LOOK LIKE? BETTY FORD? POUR ME ANOTHER! A new study shows that mixing caffeine and alcohol can have dangerous consequences. It must have really taken a prodigy to figure that out.

If you enjoy throwing back Red Bulls with your vodka, read on " mixing alcohol and energy drinks is a recipe for disaster, according to new research.

A study headed by Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina found students who consume energy drink cocktails are more likely to suffer injuries, ride with an impaired driver and make regrettable sexual decisions.

WFU’s web-based survey of 4,271 students found nearly a quarter of those who consumed alcohol in the past 30 days also drank energy drink cocktails.

According to the study, students who consumed energy drink cocktails were more likely to be taken advantage of sexually, or take advantage of someone, than those who just drank alcohol.

Certain results of the study are staggering " nearly 40 per cent of cocktail drinkers traveled with a driver under the influence of alcohol, compared to about 23 per cent of non-mixers. Also, students who consumed mixed beverages were approximately twice as likely to be hurt or injured when drinking.

Students who are male, white, athletes, fraternity members or pledges, and older students were most likely to enjoy cocktails like a Jäger bomb.

Dr. O’Brien attributed the results to the fact students “can’t tell if they’re drunk ... and can’t tell if others are drunk.”

Western sociology professor Paul Whitehead further explained the study’s results.

“You have two drugs working in slightly different directions. Alcohol is a depressant, caffeine is a stimulant,” Whitehead said.

“What you’ve got is a situation where the power drinks hide the effect of the alcohol so people don’t feel as intoxicated as they are.”

Whitehead said people who drink only alcohol are more likely to recognize its effects and learn their limits.

Second-year science student David Feldman is not concerned about mixing beverages: “When I bring out Red Bull and vodka, that’s when you know I’m going hard.”

Alex Graham, a second-year math and philosophy student, said, “No matter what you’re drinking, you don’t think about it ... [energy drink cocktails] don’t change the playing field that much.”

On the flip side, third-year health science student Linda Bi doesn’t see the point in mixing alcohol and energy drinks " especially due to the controversy.

The WFU study suggests those who drink just alcohol, versus drink cocktails, are more likely to drink responsibly.

“I’m not against moderate drinking [or] drinking energy drinks,” Dr. O’Brien stressed. “I’m against mixing the two.”

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