In the fight against underage drinking, adding caffeine to the mix only complicates the matter even further.
On February 20th Anita Jurkowski, PH.D., as a representative of MYAA and Compass Prevention, talked with 312 seventh grade students of Smith-Cotton Jr. High School in Sedalia about Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse. Over six class periods the dangers of underage drinking of alcohol, underage drinking of caffeinated alcohol, and underage vaping of alcohol were discussed.
Although few students were aware of vaping alcohol, they were well aware of caffeinated alcoholic drinks. A high percentage of Sedalia students reported the habit of “slamming” caffeinated energy drinks, which currently are legal to underage consumers. In fact, caffeinated energy drinks and caffeinated alcoholic drinks are primarily marketed to teenagers and young adults, respectively1. The jump from caffeinated energy drinks to caffeinated alcoholic drinks is easy to follow, especially since the cans for both are extremely similar.
Research is demonstrating that drinking caffeine in high amounts quickly primes the brain toward future binge drinking of alcohol2. Greater consumption of caffeinated energy drinks in teens and pre-teens is linked to earlier initiation of alcohol drinking, to greater amounts of alcohol drinking, and to a higher propensity toward sensation seeking, risky behavior, and future alcoholism3.
With the overconsumption of caffeinated energy drinks in teens and the aggressive targeted advertising toward the young of caffeinated energy and caffeinated alcoholic drinks, combined with the unawareness on the part of teens and parents alike to the association between caffeinated energy drink consumption and future alcohol, nicotine, and other substance dependence it is not a far stretch to predict an increase in underage drinking as a direct result of caffeinated energy drink use, abuse and addiction. It behooves teens, parents, and society to learn more about the dangerous combination of caffeine and alcohol.
- Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-marketing-strategy-this-energy-drink-used-to-take-on-red-bull-and-become-a-billion-dollar-brand-2012-2
- GP, 11/19/2010: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.ccis.edu/chc/detail?sid=e56cb98e-9158-479e-88f9-d54ca5e1e11c%40sessionmgr111&vid=4&hid=109&bdata=JnNpdGU9Y2hjLWxpdmU%3d#db=cmh&AN=67291691
- Eur J Pediatr (2013) 172:1335–1340: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.ccis.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=7aab0d87-af91-4cd3-b6b1-37160d6642e5%40sessionmgr114&vid=11&hid=119
- Caffeinated Energy Drinks: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/canada/ban-energy-drink-sales-to-minors-say-health-officials-37573.html
- Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks: http://www.freemanrecoverycenter.com/caffeinated-alcoholic-beverages/]]]