Energy Drinks Increase Substance Use
Energy Drinks May Increase Substance Use in Teens and Young Adults.
By Justin L. Mangana.
In a study reported earlier this year in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, teens that regularly consume energy drinks or “shots,” have been shown to have higher rates of alcohol, cigarette, or drug use.
The scientists analyzed data on nearly 22,000 US secondary eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders. In response to questionnaires, about 30 percent of teens reported using caffeine-containing energy drinks or shots. More than 40 percent said they drank regular soft drinks every day, while 20 percent drank diet soft drinks daily. Some of the findings indicated that boys were more likely to use energy drinks than girls and that use was also higher for teens without two parents at home and those whose parents were less educated.
Students who used energy drinks were also more likely to report recent use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs. Across age groups, teens who used energy drinks were two or three times more likely to report other types of substance use, compared to those who didn’t. While soft drink consumption was also related to substance use, the associations were much stronger for energy drinks. Energy drinks and shots are products containing high doses of caffeine, marketed as a “pick-me-up,” promising to increase energy, concentration, or alertness. Studies in young adults suggest that consumption of energy drinks is associated with increased use of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.
The new study is one of the first to look at consumption of energy drinks by US adolescents, and how they may be related to other types of substance use. While the study does indicate that the link is not necessarily that of causation (cause and effect), the findings do indicate that exposure to stimulants at an early age does increase the likelihood of substance use later on. However, the question of whether the consumption of energy drinks by teens accurately predicts substance use behavior is still a pressing topic worth pursuing in order to understand how addiction starts and may provide insights in combating it.
Occasional use may not lead to abuse, but gradual use could potentially and quickly become regular use if left unchecked. Like all problems, addiction is not one, until it becomes one. If you or someone is afflicted with substance abuse, contact us immediately at 305-883-5188, or come give us a visit Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm at 705 East 8th Avenue, Miami, FL 33010. Help put a stop to it before it’s too late.