College students have been spiking their energy drinks just like the star do. The practice has been a Hollywood fad for some time now. But is it safe? Not so much, according to researchers at Wake Forest university School of Medicine.
College students in the United States have followed the fad of the stars but it's at a high risk. More people get injured while consuming the mix. More students needed medical attention or choose to drink with a drunk driver after mixing the two beverages.
Another startling fact emerged from the research. Those who mix the drinks are more likely to take advantage of another person sexually and visa versa. The researchers believe it is the combination of the high caffeine level that masks the effects of excessive alcohol. The classic signs of being drunk such as slurred speech and sleepiness is covered up by the energy drink's ingredients.
"What I would describe it as is a person for whom the symptoms of drunkenness are reduced, but the drunkenness is not," lead author Dr. Mary Claire O'Brien said in an interview. "So you're drunk. But you just don't know that you're drunk."
One problem in convincing college students of the risks is the fact that the makers of energy drinks also make mixed drinks in cans. In some cases the mixed drinks are less expensive than the popular energy drinks.
The most likely to imbibe are white male athletes who are frat members and older students.
In some of these drinks the caffeine level is higher than three cups of coffee. It appears that the caffeine overrides the brain into thinking that it isn't as impaired by the alcohol in the blood stream as it actually is.
Dr. Karen Leslie, a pediatrician at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital, specializes in substance abuse with adolescents. She says that the combination increases the dangerous pattern of binge drinking that teenagers tend to do.
"So it's entirely not surprising that if young people are taking in more alcohol because they're not noticing the effects of it earlier on because of the caffeine, these are not surprising things at all," Leslie said.