It’s Friday night, you’re tired after a long, hard week, but you really want to go out with your friends and do a little partying. The solution: mix your alcohol with an “energy” drink like Red Bull or Monster. It’s the new way to have your alcohol but stay awake and party all night, too.
Not a good idea, according to 11 State Attorneys General, including California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who recently announced an agreement with Anheuser-Busch Inc. that requires the company to discontinue production of all alcoholic energy drinks (AEDs), including its two current brands -- Tilt and Bud Extra. Similar negotiations are going on with Miller Brewing Company.
The problem, according to these State AG’s and many others, is that mixing alcohol with drinks high in caffeine or other stimulants not only keeps you from feeling the sedative effects of alcohol that normally tell you when you’ve had enough, it also masks many of the other effects as well--like impaired judgment, slower reflexes, and lowered inhibitions. You feel “normal” even though you’ve had quite a bit to drink, and that makes you more likely to keep on drinking, to the point that you may become a danger to yourself and others. Studies have shown that students drinking alcohol combined with caffeine were twice as likely to be involved in automobile accidents than those drinking alcohol alone.
This isn’t really a “new” problem. Back in my day, we used to drink rum and Coke to achieve the same effect. Irish coffees were pretty popular, too. But these days, energy drinks are much more popular and easy to find--they’re in every convenience and grocery store. And they’re quite a bit more potent than a regular soft drink.
A little bit of alcohol can be fine, maybe even healthy, but it can be hard enough to stop after one or two as it is. Who needs something that can make it even harder?
What do you think? Do you use energy drinks as mixers? Do you think it affects how much you drink? Is it a good idea to ban alcoholic energy drinks?