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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2015 Jul;76(4):615-9.

Combined Use of Alcohol and Energy Drinks Increases Participation in High-Risk Drinking and Driving Behaviors Among College Students.

Author information

1
Northwest Center for Lifestyle and Functional Medicine, University of Western States, Portland, Oregon.
2
Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
3
Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
4
Department of Health and Human Performance, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

A recent study suggested that college students who combined alcohol and energy drinks were more likely than students who consumed only alcohol to drive when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was higher than the .08% limit and to choose to drive despite knowing they had too much alcohol to drive safely. This study sought to replicate those findings with a larger sample while also exploring additional variables related to impaired driving.

METHOD:

College students (N = 549) completed an anonymous online survey to assess differences in drinking and driving-related behaviors between alcohol-only users (n = 281) and combined alcohol-energy drink users (n = 268).

RESULTS:

Combined users were more likely than alcohol-only users to choose to (a) drive when they perceived they were over the .08% BAC limit (35.0% vs. 18.1%, p < .001), (b) drive despite knowing they had too much alcohol to drive safely (36.3% vs. 17.0%, p < .001), and (c) be a passenger when they knew the driver had too much alcohol to drive safely (44.1% vs. 23.6%, p < .001). Combined users were significantly more likely (p < .001) to report indicators of high-risk alcohol use, such as larger number of drinks consumed, number of days drinking, number of days drunk, number of heavy episodic drinking episodes, greatest number of drinks on one occasion, and average hours of consumption.

CONCLUSIONS:

Combined use of alcohol and energy drinks may place drinkers at greater risk when compared with those who consume only alcohol. College students in this sample who combined alcohol and energy drinks were more likely to participate in high-risk driving behaviors than those who consumed only alcohol.

PMID:
26098038
DOI:
10.15288/jsad.2015.76.615
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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