Energy drinks and alcohol don’t mix. While each of these substances, alone, could be dangerous in large quantities, an energy drink with alcohol, or consuming both at the same time, can have fatal consequences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned the community about the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. When someone mixes an energy drink with alcohol, the caffeine in energy drinks masks the depressant effect of the alcohol. In other words, the person would feel less inebriated, and might even appear less inebriated or affected by the alcohol, but the caffeine would not have actually have lessened the speed with which the alcohol metabolizes in the liver. Therefore, if you’ve consumed energy drinks and alcohol together, you might feel as though you’re sober enough to drive, but your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) would still be enough to make you an unsafe driver, or to get you arrested for DUI. Some experts have begun to call this condition “wide awake drunk”.
Alcoholic energy drinks are a new trend, especially among teens. The industry has marketed these drinks heavily within youth-friendly media and messaging, and they are often associated with extreme sports and risk-taking activities. The FDA has removed some alcoholic energy drinks from the market, saying that they didn’t meet its standard of being “generally recognized as safe”. But, some remain — and some consumers take it upon themselves to create their own by mixing alcohol and energy drinks — which could be even worse.
What are alcoholic energy drinks?
Alcoholic energy drinks (sometimes referred to as caffeinated alcoholic beverages, or CABs) are premixed beverages that combine alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants. They usually have a higher alcohol content than beer (sometimes, more than double) and are malt- or distilled spirits-based. Generally, the amount of caffeine in the beverage is not reported. However, in 2010, the FDA required that manufacturers of these pre-mixed beverages had to take them off the market because they were not considered safe. As a result, people are taking it on themselves to mix their own—using a heavily caffeinated energy drink as a supplement to their alcoholic beverage of choice.
How many people are harmed by mixing alcohol and energy drinks?
The CDC reports that 31% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 34% of 18- to 24-year-olds regularly consume energy drinks. Those who consume energy drinks and alcohol are twice as likely to report being a victim of unwanted sexual advances, taking advantage of someone else in a sexual manner, or to being a passenger in a car driven by someone under the influence of alcohol as those who do not regularly mix energy drinks and alcohol.
Driving and bad judgments aside, did you know that mixing an energy drink with alcohol has other physiological effects on your body? Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics (essentially, a diuretic is a substance that causes your body to urinate more often), which means that when you combine the two, you are more likely to become dehydrated. And, of course, if you are dehydrated, you’re more likely to experience being “hungover”. Aside from that, though, it’s important to remember that drinking a stimulant (caffeine) and a depressant (alcohol) does not cancel each other out—it makes everything worse!
Because of the way energy drinks and alcohol can make the user feel less drunk than he really is, it raises the likelihood of binge drinking.
So, energy drinks are a problem. What are we going to do about it?
That’s where McIntyre Law comes in. Some people have already realized the dangers of energy drinks because they’ve had car accidents or medical problems as a result. If that sounds like you or someone you know, McIntyre Law can help. The energy drink manufacturers aren’t looking out for your welfare — but we are. We’re going to take them to task for creating and marketing a beverage that is dangerous and doesn’t warn the consumer about its effects. If you’ve been injured in an event that happened as a result of consumption of an energy drink, contact us. We’ll fight back against the drink manufacturers and get you the compensation you need.