Risks of alcoholic energy drinks for youth

J Am Board Fam Med. 2010 Jul-Aug;23(4):555-8. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2010.04.090261.


Ingesting alcohol and energy drinks together is associated with a decreased awareness of the physical and mental impairment caused by the alcohol without reducing the actual impairment. This is of particular concern for youth who have a baseline of less mature judgment. Adding energy drinks to alcohol tends to increase the rate of absorption through its carbonation and dilution of the alcohol, and keep a person awake longer allowing ingestion of a greater volume of alcohol. At low blood alcohol levels, caffeine appears to decrease some of the impairment from the alcohol, but at higher blood alcohol levels, caffeine does not appear to have a modifying effect on either the physical or mental impairment induced by the alcohol. Obtaining this combination is made easier and more affordable for under aged persons by manufacturers of premixed alcoholic energy drink combination beverages. Awareness by medical and educational personnel and parents of this activity and its potential for harm is unknown.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / drug effects*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Drug Synergism
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Judgment / drug effects*
  • Risk-Taking


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine
  • Ethanol