Seen here at Felicita’s Campus Pub

Seen here at Felicita’s Campus Pub

Caffeine and booze a risky mix

Mixing energy drinks and alcohol boosts dangerous behaviour, says UVic researcher

A researcher at the University of Victoria is calling out the dangers of consuming energy drinks and alcohol, a widespread practice that poses serious risks to health and public safety, officials say.

Kristina Brache, a graduate student in the department of psychology with the Centre for Addictions Research, found that out of 465 university students, those who combined caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol, or consumed premixed caffeinated alcoholic beverages, were more likely than those who drank alcohol alone to engage in risky behaviour, including driving intoxicated or getting in a vehicle with a drunk driver.

Brache, who is the first to publish research of this kind in Canada, wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the study, given similar findings south of the border.

“What is important is that even after accounting for intrinsic risk-taking, we’re still finding there’s some difference in this group that combines alcohol and energy drinks,” she said.

Reported reasons for combining the substances included a desire to eliminate drowsiness and to stay awake longer.

“(Drinkers) may actually not be able to judge how intoxicated they are … given that some of the depressant effects have been attenuated,” Brache said, noting lab studies have documented a reported sense of feeling less intoxicated when people consume both substances at the same time.

Earlier in the year, Brache, in seeking support for stronger restrictions around the marketing of energy drinks and alcohol consumption, presented her data to the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission.

Alan Perry, acting chair of the commission, called the talk “eye-opening” and “dismaying.”

It may be a while before the commission, though interested in mitigating the risks to public safety, launches into action that could possibly include a public education component, he said.

“The energy drink industry is a highly profitable industry, a multi-billion-dollar a year industry,” Perry said. “It appears that sector is investing a lot of time and money in trying to ensure that their profits are not eroded.”

Once the commission has mulled over Brache’s findings, they will likely put forward recommendations to the Liquor Distribution Branch to restrict licensed establishments from marketing energy drinks and alcohol together.

“We’re struggling with this because we sense it has the potential to really have a negative impact on both health and public safety, but we’re up against a marketing juggernaut,” Perry noted.

Concern over energy drink consumption is too new and reliable statistics relating deaths to caffeinated alcohol consumption don’t yet exist, said coroner Barbara McLintock of the B.C. Coroners Service.

“The fact is, there are these risks being posed,” McLintock said. “It’s a new risk and a risk that people … all need to be looking at.”

Brache is currently analyzing Canada-wide data on alcohol and energy drink consumption and its relationship to drinking and driving and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Did you know?

-Sales of premixed alcoholic energy drinks in Canada has increased by 296 per cent between 2005 and 2010.

-Young adults consume the drinks at a level four times higher than the general public, according to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

Community members Ed Hutchinson, left, Dave Noren, and Pat Graham, president of The Ladies Guild, stand before the new book house outside the Church of the Advent in Colwood. The tiny library was built as a result of the annual Church of the Advent book sale being cancelled due to COVID-19. (Submitted/Joan Hoffman)
Colwood church builds little library

Church of Advent annual book sale cancelled due to health restrictions

(Courtesy Very Good Butchers)
Very Good Butchers brand adds cheese to its platter

The Cultured Nut products to be rebranded under Very Good Cheese banner

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read