Energy drinks: A gateway to drug use?

Posted at 4:46 PM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 10:54:17-04

A new study finds energy drinks can lead to substance abuse among college students. 

This research is startling to say the least because energy drinks are popular and roughly one-third of teens between 12 and 17 are consuming these drinks. 

The study involved just over a thousand college students. Researchers found those who drank the most highly caffeinated energy drinks, consistently over the four-year study period were at a much higher risk for substance use. 

I’m talking cocaine use, nonmedical prescription stimulants drugs, and a greater risk of getting diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder by the time they were 25 years old.

The biological reason as to why this happens is unclear and needs to be investigated. But energy drinks typically contain caffeine which is a stimulant. The study results link high consumption of them over several years puts you at a heightened risk for other stimulants.

Drinking moderate amounts also came with higher risks for substance use when compared with those who didn’t drink or reduced their consumption of energy drinks.  

I’m not a fan of energy drinks so here’s my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX
1. Avoid energy drinks. If you need a mental or energy boost, get active.  Movement amps up the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin which make you feel good.
2. Don’t mix energy drinks with alcohol or other drugs.  It can lead to staying up later, drinking more and becoming more impaired than you realize.
3. Be aware of the high levels of caffeine and sugar in some energy drinks.  Consuming too much caffeine can increase blood pressure and potentially lead to death if you drink too much.
4. Seek help if you feel you’re at risk for addiction. Signs include the inability to stop using a substance, overly focusing on a substance, or dealing with withdrawal symptoms like cravings, moodiness, anger and frustration.

Energy drinks are not regulated by the FDA and caffeine content or additional ingredients do not need to be listed on the label. 

The FDA states that you should see your doctor to confirm you don’t have any undiagnosed medical conditions that could get worse due to drinking energy drinks.