A study from Dartmouth finds that teens who mix alcohol with energy drinks are four times more likely to have an alcohol disorder than teens who have tried alcohol but never mixed it with an energy drink.
Investigators led by James D. Sargent, MD with first author Jennifer A. Emond, MSc, PhD published “Energy drink consumption and the risk of alcohol use disorder among a national sample of adolescents and young adults,” in Journal of Pediatrics.
“These findings are concerning,” said Emond. “They highlight that mixed use of alcohol and energy drinks may signal the development of abusive drinking behaviors among adolescents.”
Several studies have documented a link between consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and the increased rates of negative outcomes while drinking, including binge drinking. However, most studies to date have been conducted among undergraduate college students. Sargent’s team looked at a sample of 3,342 adolescents and young adults aged 15-23 years old recruited across the U.S. They found that 9.7% of adolescents aged 15-17 years old had consumed an energy drink mixed with alcohol. Analyses showed that group to have greatly increased odds of not just binge drinking, but also clinically defined criteria for alcohol use disorder.