Mixing alcohol, energy drinks could be dangerous

Lindsay Kriz

Jordan Boggs used to become tired after drinking alcohol. Then she tried her first alcoholic energy drink at party.

“I didn’t know they had energy,” said Boggs, a sophomore from Hendersonville, Tenn. “Then I got really hyper and I asked someone why I had so much energy.”

Alcoholic energy drinks, also called tilts, contain multiple stimulants, including caffeine.

Tilt is actually a brand name of one of the alcoholic energy drinks. Other brands include Four Loko and Sparks.

WKU Health Educator Jataun Isenhower said the drinks can have adverse effects on the body, including an irregular heart beat and an increase in blood pressure.

Because the drinks are not FDA-regulated, there hasn’t been much research done on them, though, she said.

However, what is known about the drinks so far is cause for concern, Isenhower said.

“They may have good stuff, but they may have too much good stuff,” she said. “You’re only supposed to have a certain amount of vitamins and stimulants a day.”

For example, Vitamin Bc, a vitamin found in many energy drinks, stimulates normal nerve cell communication. If you get too much of the vitamin, it can leave you paralyzed, Isenhower said.

“They just sound dangerous,” she said.

According to information gathered by Isenhower, those who drink alcoholic energy drinks are four times more likely to drink and drive.

The stimulants in the drink may mask the effects of the alcohol because it creates a balance, she said.

People may think they need to drink more because they can also feel dehydrated, she said.

Boggs said that while her experiences with the drink have been good so far, some of her friends have had a different experience.

“My friend Anna blacked out after drinking one,” she said. “It’s definitely not the best drink if you want to remember your night.”

Morgantown senior Brandon Waller, an employee of the Russellville Road Shell Station, said the drinks sell well in the store because of their flavor and cheap price.

He said that many people who buy the drinks enjoy them as a better-tasting alternative to beer.

Waller said many are bought for parties by young adults, although many older adults buy them as well.

“A lot of people buy after they get off work, just to sit back and relax,” he said. “One can definitely be enough.”

Adam Brown, a Campbell Lane Minit Mart employee, said his employer sells many of the alcoholic energy drinks as well, and most of those purchases are made by young adults.

While pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks appear to be popular among some young adults, Beaver Dam freshman Joey Sickles usually combines nonalcoholic energy drinks with alcohol.

His said his drink of choice is a mix of Monster energy drink and Jagermeister or a mix of Red Bull and vodka.

“I was bummed because I didn’t feel drunk, so I drank some more and then slept,” he said. “But when I woke up it really hit me. I woke up with the worst hangover ever.”

Sickles said that while he didn’t feel drunk, he could tell he had decreased cognizant skills, poor motor skills and poor reflexes.

“I perceived things differently,” he said. “I didn’t feel drunk, but I guarantee I would’ve blown over the legal limit.”