A new study shows that teens who drink high-caffeine energy drinks are more likely to use alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. Researchers believe that the uplifting effect produced by these drinks is similar to the high gained from consuming drugs and alcohol.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Dalhousie University, both of which are Canadian institutions. Those behind the study found that the students who smoked marijuana and drank alcohol on a regular basis were more likely to consume high-caffeine energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster.
The researchers suggest that teenagers who consume energy drinks on a regular basis may be suffering from a mental illness and the high produced by consuming these products is part of a teen’s way of dealing with these issues.
“While it remains unclear why these associations exist, the trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption among teenagers,” noted the study’s lead author, Sunday Azagba.
“These drinks appeal to young people because of their temporary benefits like increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy,” Azagba added.
What’s clear is that more and more teenagers are consuming these beverages. The researchers surveyed more than eight thousand high school students and found that two in three reported using energy drinks at least once in the previous year.
About one in five said they consumed energy drinks at least once each month.
Many experts believe this is a problem. Consuming these caffeine-loaded drinks can result in cardiovascular problems, sleep impairment, anxiety, and nauseau.
So, why are so many teens turning to these drinks in search of a pick-me-up?
Azagba says that the companies behind these beverages are specifically targeting teens with their advertisements.
“Marketing campaigns appear designed to entice youth and young adults,” Azagba said. “It’s a dangerous combination, especially for those at an increased risk for substance abuse.”