Published On: Sat, May 23rd, 2015

Teenagers Mixing Alcohol with Energy Drinks Increases Risk of Alcohol Problems

There has often been concern about the consumption of energy drinks, especially for teenagers. In the past, people have blamed Red Bull for the death of several young people. Although the truth of the matter is usually more complicated. But it may be that people shouldn’t be worrying about energy drinks on their own. Instead, they should be concerned about their effect when mixed with alcohol.

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A study suggests that teenagers aged 15-17 who drink alcohol mixed with energy drinks have a greater chance of developing problems with alcohol later on. The study was by Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center. It revealed that this behavior made an alcohol use disorder four times more likely. This was in comparison to teenagers who had never mixed energy drinks with alcohol. Dartmouth conducted the study using a sample of 3,342 adolescents and young adults. They were aged between 15 and 23. The inclusion of high school students sets it apart from similar studies. Previous studies have often focused on college-aged young adults. These studies had already shown that mixing alcohol with energy drinks made risky drinking habits more likely.

The study surveyed American teenagers and young adults. It revealed that 9.7% of teenagers aged 15-17 had consumed alcohol mixed with an energy drink. Analysis showed that this behavior increased their risk for binge drinking. It also made them more likely to meet the medical criteria for an alcohol use disorder.

Researcher Jennifer Emond said, “These findings are concerning. They highlight that mixed use of alcohol and energy drinks may signal the development of abusive drinking behaviours among adolescents.” She continued, “Identifying those most at risk for alcohol use is critical.” Emond suggested that conversations about alcohol with adolescents could begin with discussing energy drinks.

Getting help for alcohol abuse can be difficult, but it’s made easier by having an open dialogue about the issues involved. Getting help from facilities such as starts with being aware of who is at risk. This study could help people understand the factors increasing the likelihood of alcohol abuse. Recognizing the signs of an issue or even a future problem will enable people to address alcohol abuse sooner.

Abusive use of alcohol in adolescents can be exceptionally dangerous. It can cause chronic illness and even lead to death. Developing an alcohol problem at a young age could lead to further issues in later years. It’s important to prevent teenagers and young adults having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. And this study could help. Previous research has suggested other adverse impacts of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. For example, one study suggested it could make people want to drink more. So there could be even more detrimental consequences to drinking alcohol with drinks such as Red Bull.


This one study is not conclusive evidence of the effects of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. But several others have shown negative findings when exploring a similar issue. Further research might help us gain a better understanding of why it appears to lead to such consequences.