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Study discusses dangerous mix on college campuses

July 24, 2012
by Gary Enos
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 Consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks among college students increases the likelihood of risky sexual behavior, indicates a study from the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

The study of 648 public university students, to be published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, found that students who consumed these increasingly popular combinations were more likely to report having a casual sex partner and/or being intoxicated the last time they had sex. The study did not find an association between consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks and incidences of unprotected sex.

Institute senior research scientist Kathleen Miller said in a news release with regard to the drink combination that these drinks “have stronger priming effects than alcohol alone. In other words, they increase the craving for another drink, so that you end up drinking more overall.”

The researchers cited earlier studies that have linked energy drink consumption with other risky behaviors, such as binge drinking and fighting.

This most recent study reported that 29.3% of sexually active college students said they had used an alcohol and energy drink combination in the past month.

Miller says the study’s findings could form the basis for consumer outreach efforts, such as warning labels citing the danger of mixing energy drinks and alcohol.

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