Energy drink alcohol combos- lots of people calling for a ban but how about the massive elephant in the room?

Posted by on 06 June, 2012

Have you ever had a real affogato? Yummy! Ice cream with a shot of espresso coffee and a shot of liqueur (often Frangelico). If you think combining caffeine and alcohol is a recipe for catastrophe you might want to run a literature search on studies showing the number of fatalities from dessert at the local Italian. None? Oh- I see so let's just deconstruct the hysteria around banning caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol.

There is no doubt that teenagers drinking energy drink alcohol combos have a high rate of ending up legless drunk. But is it a case of a complex pharmacological interaction between of the caffeine in energy drinks with alcohol or is it the fact that teenagers looking to get hammered for a big night out chose this combo because they have a belief it's a more potent cocktail?

Studies have looked at the combination of ingredients and there's simply no hard evidence that caffeine in energy drinks 'masks' the effects of alcohol so that the usual red light in your head fails to go off making kids drink MORE. Kids drink more because the culture around teenaged partying is sick; you can't have a good time unless you and all your mates are off your young faces. I don't think there's any evidence that teenagers plan to stop at one drink but the energy drink ingredients makes them throw caution to the wind. They PLAN to get smashed. That's why they BUY a six pack of mixers for a big night out in the first place.  That's a HUGE issue. Because kids and large amounts of alcohol don't mix. In fact I'd argue teenagers and any amount of alcohol is a potentially dangerous combination. Whether you've poured your own Vodka and Red Bull combo or bought a ready made mixer ... or you're just going to down massive amounts of beer as so many boys do, the net result is the same; LOTS of kids will be paralytic, legless, vomiting and at HIGH risk of alcohol poisoning and potentially death.

I wouldn't blame one subset of drinking for this issue. I'd blame the alcohol full stop. Banning energy drink alcohol combos won't protect kids. Let's get real and tackle the issue head on. If you want your kids to be safe, explain the effects of alcohol to them and don't buy into the idea that drinking is safer when it's done at home or at a friend's. It's UNSAFE. Period.

More advice on Sunrise today- click HERE to see the segment