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Energy drinks + alcohol = public health threat

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Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is much riskier than just drinking alcohol alone, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and Penn State University found that the growing vodka-Red Bull trend puts young people at risk for substance abuse behavior.

"We found that college students tended to drink more heavily and become more intoxicated on days they used both energy drinks and alcohol, compared to days they only used alcohol," said Patrick, lead author of the study.

The U.S. no longer allows alcohol manufacturers to premix caffeine products with alcohol, but young people still make their own dangerous concoctions. The researchers said the risks of this behavior include blacking out, alcohol poisoning and situations where young people are "wide awake and drunk" after a night of partying.

More alcohol-related problems

After analyzing data on more than 650 college students, the researchers found that consumption of energy drinks mixed with alcohol led to more serious alcohol-related problems, which presents a public health threat, Patrick said.

"As energy drinks become more and more popular, we should think about prevention strategies for reducing the negative consequences of using energy drinks and of combining energy drinks with alcohol," he concluded.

Source: University of Michigan