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Study links energy drink use and substance abuse in teens

February 12, 2014

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Ann Arbor, MI – Teens who consume energy drinks are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, concludes a new study from the University of Michigan.

Using data from the Monitoring the Future study, researchers examined the habits of almost 22,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade from 2010 to 2011. Roughly 30 percent said they had consumed caffeinated energy drinks or shots, and 40 percent reported drinking soda on a daily basis. Although both soft drink and energy drink consumption was associated with using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs in the previous 30 days, the link was significantly stronger for energy drinks, according to the study abstract.

Researchers also found energy drinks were more popular among boys, 8th graders and teens from a single-parent household.

Researchers noted the findings probably apply to adolescents as well, and suggested educating teens about how energy drinks can mask the effects of alcohol.

The study was published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.