You can drink the Jager, or the bomb, but you may want to skip the Jager bomb.
New findings from of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research in B.C. suggest that mixing energy drinks and alcohol could cause serious harm as caffeine masks a person’s awareness to their level of intoxication.
According to the research, people who mix booze with energy drinks are up to 20 times more likely to injure themselves, which includes falling, getting into a car accident or attempting suicide.
Booze is bad enough on its own — those who consume two drinks are apparently twice as likely to get hurt, while those that have six drinks are six times as likely.
“When we look at alcohol alone, there’s a clear dose-response relationship,” Audra Roemer, lead researcher and a clinical psychology student at the university told the Victoria Times Columnist. “When you drink more, the risk goes up.”
But throw energy drinks (or anything else with high levels of caffeine) into the mix and the likelihood of injury skyrockets. It’s stimulant versus sedative, and the only loser is the drinker.
“Usually, when you’re drinking alcohol, you eventually get tired and you go home,” said Roemer. “Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol and engage in risky behaviour and more hazardous drinking practices.”
Roemer and her team reviewed all of the available published research on the risk of injury while on alcoholic energy drink concoctions to come up with the stats.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but most people have probably been there: Red Bull and vodka coursing through your veins in the middle of the night, taking a piggyback ride on a friend’s back on the way to get a slice of early morning shame pizza. Sound familiar?
“There are risks following alcohol, and there are risks following energy drinks, and it looks like there is even more risk following the combined use of both of those,” explained Roemer.
More research is still needed, but the team has a pretty good idea that the two substances consumed together can be dangerous. They also polled those who visited the emergency room in Victoria from 2013 to 2015, asking them about alcohol, energy drink and substance use. They’ll be compiling that data ASAP.
In the mean time, it might be time to switch back to martinis. Martinis are safe, right?