Students Risk Health Mixing Alcohol, Energy Drinks
New research has found a link between consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and risk-taking behaviour.
A new Victorian government report shows that youth who mix their alcohol with energy drinks are also more likely to be problem gamblers, show other risk-taking behaviour such as heavy alcohol use or illicit drug use, and report more mental health problems. Evidence from around the world indicates that consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks leads to significantly higher levels of intoxication, risk-taking and potential harm
Overall consumption levels of these products were relatively low compared to consumption of beer or wine in the wider population. But among the student demographic the level of consumption was very high.
- More than 33% of Deakin University students included in one survey reported energy drinks mixed with alcohol being consumed in the past three months.
- Among school-leavers on the Victorian coast, 16% said they had consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks in the past 12 hours.
- One in five 18 to 24 year-olds and one in ten 25 to 39 year-olds reported using alcohol mixed with energy drinks in the past three months.
The researchers carried out six separate studies over three years to look at the pattern of alcohol consumption in young people.
Their research included watching pub-goers across five Australian cities, conducting online and phone surveys, interviewing school-leavers in the street, analysing ambulance data and interviewing 25 young people who consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks.
Heart health a major concern
According to The Conversation, Chris Semsarian, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Sydney, who as not involved in the study, said the health and medical implications of young people consuming large volumes of energy drinks, with or without alcohol, was a concern.
There is growing evidence that energy drinks, either alone or mixed with alcohol, can lead to serious cardiovascular effects, including increases in blood pressure, heart rate, life-threatening rhythm abnormalities, and even cardiac arrest and sudden death.”
Big Alcohol targets youth
Researchers report that the image of the products and their packaging also appealed to high school students as it wasn’t immediately obvious to adults that the prepackaged products contained alcohol. In addition, youth is already familiar with the taste of energy drinks and feel comfortable consuming them.