Energy Drinks Again — This Time, With Alcohol

I recently blogged about controversy over energy drinks, and particularly over marketing them to young people.

Well, energy drinks are back in the news. And this time, they’ve got added booze.
See: Caffeine and Alcohol Drink Is Potent Mix for Young, (by Abby Goodnough, for the NYT).

Mixing alcohol and caffeine is hardly a new concept, but a rash of cases involving students and others who landed at hospitals after drinking beverages that combine the two in a single large can has alarmed college and health officials around the country.

The drinks are dangerous, doctors say, because the caffeine masks the effects of the alcohol, keeping consumers from realizing just how intoxicated they are.

OK, so caffeine isn’t new. And booze isn’t new. Drinking them together isn’t all that new: lots of people enjoy rum-and-cola, and I have a friend who likes to alternate whisky and espresso. So should these new energy/alcohol drinks be considered especially dangerous?

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the tasting:

“This is one of the most dangerous new alcohol concoctions I have ever seen,” said Dr. Michael Reihart, an emergency room doctor at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa., who said he had treated more than a dozen teenagers and adults over the last three months who had been brought there after drinking Four Loko.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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