Caffeine, alcohol cocktail popularity appears waning

The dangerous cocktail of caffeine and alcohol may not be as popular as it once was in Red Deer.

The dangerous cocktail of caffeine and alcohol may not be as popular as it once was in Red Deer.

Once a common drink for young adults and a growing concern for Health Canada, Eric Peppinck, Red Deer College Student Association president, said they have declined in popularity recently.

“There was a huge boom where everything was Jager Bombs (Jagermeister and Red Bull) and vodka and Red Bull,” Peppinck said.

“But because of changing perspectives around energy drinks, it seems like it is going down.”

Although Peppinck is often the responsible one around friends and has seen the consequences of mixing alcohol and caffeine, he sees people keeping the two beverages separate more.

“A lot of people still will have a coffee or energy drink, but it doesn’t seem like they are mixing it with the liquor,” said Peppinck.

Although they may be declining in popularity, Health Canada is reminding people of the dangers of consuming an upper and downer simultaneously.

According to Health Canada, when drinking beverages that mix both alcohol and caffeine, the symptoms of alcohol intoxication may be lessened and the caffeine may compensate for the drowsiness associated with consuming alcohol.

These factors can lead to dehydration and overconsumption of alcohol, which could lead to alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injury.

The 2010 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey showed 30 per cent of youth aged 15 to 17 had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days, and of those five per cent, about 1.5 per cent of the total population of underage youth, had consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol.

In October 2011, Health Canada drafted a paper on a proposed approach to managing caffeinated energy drinks. In it, there are proposals to label energy drinks with a statement saying “Do not mix with alcohol.”

As well, they propose outright bans on the use of energy drinks as ingredients in pre-mixed alcoholic beverages.

Such a ban would prohibit beverages such as Four Loko and Rockstar with vodka, both of which currently can be legally purchased in Canada.

“Most people are finally just kicking in that maybe this isn’t the best thing for us,” said Peppinck.

Although Health Canada has made efforts to raise awareness regarding the issue, life experience and one bad night can be just as effective on deterring youth and young adults from mixing caffeinated drinks with alcohol.

“When you have a bad time with them once, you kind of shy away from it,” said Peppinck.

“It’s the whole mixing an upper with a downer. So you may be super drunk, but you can’t fall asleep or pass out because you have a whole bunch of caffeine and sugar running through you.”

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