Teens Who Consume Energy Drinks at Risk for Substance Use

(HealthDay News) — Adolescents who consume energy drinks and shots may be at higher risk for use of alcohol and other substances, according to research published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed self-reported data from students in grades eight, ten, and 12 to examine the associations between beverage use and substance use.

The researchers found that students reported consuming daily regular soft drinks (40%), energy drinks or shots (30%), and daily diet soft drinks (20%). A strong positive association was found between beverage consumption and past 30-day alcohol, cigarette, and illicit drug use. The associations between energy drinks and substance use were significantly stronger than those between regular or diet soft drinks and substance use.

“Education for parents and prevention efforts among adolescents should include education on the masking effects of caffeine in energy drinks on alcohol- and other substance-related impairments, and recognition that some groups (such as high sensation-seeking youth) may be particularly likely to consume energy drinks and to be substance users,” the authors write.

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