About Energy Drinks

Drug Classification: Stimulant    Drug Schedule: N/A

Modes of Administration: Oral (drink)

Addiction Potential: Unknown

Onset of Drug Effect(s):
Energy drinks are beverages like Red Bull, Venom, Rockstar and Adrenaline Rush which contain large doses of caffeine and other legal stimulants such as ephedrine, guarana and ginseng.

Individual responses to energy drinks may vary, and these drinks should be treated carefully because of the amounts of caffeine contained in many of them.

Drug Action(s):
Energy drinks’ stimulating properties can boost heart rate and blood pressure (sometimes to the point of palpitation), dehydrate the body, and prevent or interrupt sleep patterns.

Energy drinks should not be used while exercising as the combination of fluid loss and sweating and the diuretic quality of caffeine can severely dehydrate the body.

It is important to know what you are drinking. Energy drinks are not necessarily bad for you, but they should not be seen as “natural alternatives” to other substances. Many marketing strategies aimed at college students claim that these products improve concentration and performance, but these claims are unproven!

Sample Energy Drink Products

A Word about Alcohol & Energy Drink Combinations

The marketing industry heavily advertises energy drinks to college students, particularly in energy drink-alcohol combinations such as Red Bull and Vodka. It is important to realize that, while the energy drink may allow someone to stay awake and “party” longer, it also serves to mask how intoxicated someone really is. Additionally, it can compound effects of alcohol and result in dangerous, even fatal, consequences.

No matter how many energy drinks you consume, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will continue to rise despite how awake or alert you feel. Once the stimulant effects of caffeine wear off, the depressant effects of the alcohol remain and could result in intoxication or poisoning.

Alcohol and energy drinks also dehydrate the body which further increases the risk for hangover.

Wake Up Call, Villanova!

56% of Villanova students have NEVER combined alcohol and an energy drink; however, Villanova students report that they believe over 94% of their peers have (National College Health Assessment 2011 survey data). 

For more information about energy drinks, download this.