A new study released by Dartmouth Norris Cotton Cancer Center determined that teens aged between 15-17 years of age who had mixed energy drinks with alcohol were four more times to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse syndrome. The study compared alcohol and energy drink use with a control group that had consumed neither.
The study was published in the journal pediatrics and illustrated a new public health concern as it related to underage teen drinking. “These findings are concerning,” said Jennifer A. Emond, MSc, PhD. “They highlight that mixed use of alcohol and energy drinks may signal the development of abusive drinking behaviors among adolescents.”
The research participants consisted of 3,342 adolescents and young adults aged 15-23 years recruited across the U.S. and it was determined that 9.7 % teenagers aged 15-17 years old had consumed an energy drink mixed with alcohol. Statistical analyses revealed that group to have greatly increased odds of not just binge drinking, but also clinically defined criteria for alcohol use disorder.
“Abusive alcohol use among adolescents is a dangerous behavior that can lead to injury, chronic alcohol use and abuse, and even death,” said Emond. “Identifying those most at risk for alcohol use is critical. Given that this is a sensitive issue, it’s possible that clinicians, parents, and educators might open dialogues about alcohol use with adolescents by starting the discussion on the topic of energy drinks.”
Jennifer A. Emond, Diane Gilbert-Diamond, Susanne E. Tanski, James D. Sargent. Energy Drink Consumption and the Risk of Alcohol Use Disorder among a National Sample of Adolescents and Young Adults. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2014; 165 (6): 1194 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.08.050