Caffeine and Alcohol: Just a Wide-Awake Drunk
Once again, energy drinks are in the news. Looks like the FDA will be putting the kibosh on alcoholic energy drinks as soon as this week. Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma have already banned these beverages, and other states are planning on following suit. It was only a matter of time, with the ever-increasing concerns about the risk of health and safety issues.
The problem with mixing caffeine with alcohol is the inherent illusion of cognizance one experiences. Someone may “feel” less drunk, but they are more than likely drunker than someone who had no caffeine mixed with their alcohol. In fact, test results measuring motor skills and other measures of intoxication are the same as those who drink alcohol with no caffeine. There’s also a false perception that the caffeine will counteract the depressive qualities of alcohol, but according to Bruce Goldberger, a toxicology professor at the University of Florida, that’s not the case. Bottom line: you’re just a wide-awake drunk.
Parents, beware: These products are skillfully marketed to look “fun.” Often sold in brightly-colored cans with zippy designs, the alcohol content isn’t always in plain site. In fact, it’s often noted in small print somewhere on the bottom. In Europe, it’s been outlawed to sell energy drinks to anyone under the age of 12. Even here, it’s recommended not to drink them if you’re under 12. Still, the number of kids between 12-17 who admit to drinking these on a regular basis is about 30%. Clearly, this is a problem, particularly when you have a teen in crisis with drugs and alcohol.