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Traffic Inj Prev. 2013;14(7):671-9. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2012.755261.

The effects of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) on traffic behaviors among Brazilian college students: a national survey.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo-FMUSP, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) may be contributing to hazardous drinking practices and risk-taking behaviors among college students. In this regard, this study aimed to assess the frequency of AmED consumption in a national sample of Brazilian college students and to estimate the risk that energy drinks pose on drinking and traffic behaviors.


A sample of 12,711 college students from across the country was asked to complete a research questionnaire on the use of drugs and other behaviors. Students who reported drinking in the previous 12 months (N = 8672) were divided into 2 groups: (a) those who reported drinking only alcohol (N = 4192) and (b) those who reported drinking AmED (N = 1119). The college students who reported the use of at least one illicit drug were excluded from data analysis. Descriptive and inferential analyses were subsequently carried out using the R library survey software 2.15.0. The null hypothesis was rejected at the level of P < .05.


AmED users are more likely to be hazardous drinkers. Being male, single, and involved with high-risk drinking behaviors are associated to AmED. After adjusting for demographic and drinking variables, the odds of being involved in high-risk traffic behaviors--for example, driving at high speed (odds ratio [OR] = 2.6; P < .001) and driving after binge drinking (OR = 2.8; P < .001)--were higher among AmED users than alcohol only users (AUs).


The current findings are consistent with the results of previous studies. Drinking AmED may make college students more vulnerable to the occurrence of risky drinking and traffic behaviors. Educational campaigns targeted to young people should be developed warning them about the potential risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

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