Date PostedFebruary 5, 2013

RSA Update: Teens Combining Alcohol with Drugs

According to research that has emerged in Canada, students are commonly mixing alcohol with energy drinks. This mixture of alcohol and energy drinks is causing major concerns in that country.

Around 1 in five students, particularly those in high school are combining alcohol and energy drinks which is leading to more risk taking, such as unsafe sex and drink driving.

Even if the combination of alcohol and energy drinks do not directly cause health side effects for the person, they mask how drunk the person is, which in turn leads to them making dangerous decisions. Experts have stressed that stopping underage drinking on the whole should be the main priority of authorities and the community even more than stopping teens mixing alcohol and energy drinks.

Read more about the research below with an excerpt from a post that appeared on

si-energy-drink-220-cp-4975Students were asked if they consumed alcohol along with energy drinks in the previous year. (Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

Mark Ashbridge of Dalhousie University in Halifax used nationally representative data from 36,155 students who were in grades 7 to 12 in 2010-2011 to determine how commonly alcohol is consumed together with energy drinks or in premixes sold in a bottle or can.

About 20 per cent of participants said they did mix energy drinks and alcohol, which is in line with previous studies of university students in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Use was highest in British Columba (26 per cent) and Nova Scotia (26 per cent) and lowest in Prince Edward Island (16 per cent).

“Consumption of these drinks is substantial among Canadian high school students and can lead to many potential harms,” the study’s authors concluded in this week’s issue of the journal CMAJ Open.

“Given that youth continue to drink alcohol illegally, alternative strategies may be more effective than top-down, abstinence-based programs.”

The main concern should be underage drinking, the researchers said.


A similar problem exists in The United States as well as Oz. One of the solutions experts have offered is a flat tax on energy drinks or a variable tax depending on the caffeine content of the drink in addition campaigns encouraging teenagers not to mix alcohol and energy drinks and educating them about the dangers of doing so.

Interestingly the research also indicated that alcohol was mixed with energy drinks more often by younger students, marijuana users and students frequently absent from school, involved in sporting activities and had more money to spend.

Earlier this month researchers in the U.S. said the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled across the country over the past 4 years, with most of these cases involving teenagers or young adults.

The most dangerous ingredient in energy drinks is the caffeine which most energy drinks rely on for the ability to induce that feeling of alertness and keep the personawake, however it also dehydrates the person.

Excessive amounts of caffeine will not only dehydrate you but combined with alcohol, the effects could be enough to get you hospitalised or even killed. In addition to this, combining alcohol with caffeine has been shown to slow the recovery process of alcohol poisoning, extending the length of your hangover the next day. So the next time to want to drink alcohol mixed with an energy drink, think twice and educate your teenager’s as well.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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