VICTORIA, British Columbia — A new study from the University of Victoria in Canada finds that people who mix alcoholic beverages with caffeinated energy drinks could be at a higher risk for injury.
The research, published in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, searched for peer-reviewed journal articles on this subject from 1981 to 2016 and found 13 that fit the criteria, according to a news release.
Researchers then deduced that 10 of the 13 articles confirmed a link between mixing the substances and an increased risk of intentional or unintentional injury due to caffeine masking the effects of alcohol.
“The stimulant effects of caffeine mask the result that most people get when they drink,” says Audra Roemer, lead author of the study, in the journal’s release. “Usually when you’re drinking alcohol, you get tired and you go home. Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol, and engage in risky behavior and more hazardous drinking practices,” she adds.
According to the study, the use of caffeinated alcoholic drinks is on the rise in North America — the mixture of Red Bull and vodka being a popular combination.
“We know that these are risk factors for alcohol-related injuries, and some research has suggested that people who have these traits might prefer the awake-drunk state that you get from mixing alcohol and energy drinks,” Roemer says. “This could be a population that’s at even higher risk for injuries.”
Surprisingly, Roemer found difficulties in locating a significant amount of prior research on the topic. Her study, she says, is the first in a series of three articles linking alcohol and energy drink consumption to a raised risk of injury and determine if it’s a serious public health concern.