Type to search

Energy Drinks and Substance Abuse Risk

Energy Drinks and Substance Abuse Risk

A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and carried out by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, determined that “college students who regularly consume energy drinks are at a greater risk for future alcohol use disorder, cocaine use or nonmedical (misuse) of prescription stimulants” (NIDA, 2017). 


The study was conducted on 1,099 college students over the course of five years, and examined their “past-year use of energy drinks—highly caffeinated products marketed primarily to teens and young adults” (Blakinger, 2017; NIDA, 2017). The study was controlled for “demographics, sensation-seeking behaviors, other caffeine consumption, and prior substance use” (Blakinger, 2017).


NIDA’s news release about the study explained that “In groups that showed consistent or increasing possibilities of using energy drinks over the years, researchers found higher rates of cocaine use, prescription stimulant misuse, and alcohol use disorder—but not marijuana or tobacco use” (NIDA, 2017). 


According to Amelia Arria, an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Center on Young Adult Health and Development, “Because of the longitudinal design of this study, and the fact that we were able to take into account other factors that would be related to risk for substance use, this study provides evidence of a specific contribution of energy drink consumption to subsequent substance use” (Blakinger, 2017). Arria also mentioned that “Future studies should focus on younger people, because we know that they too are regularly consuming energy drinks” (Blakinger, 2017). 




Blakinger, K. (2017). Could guzzling energy drinks lead to future substance abuse? Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/could-guzzling-energy-drinks-lead-future-substance-use
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2017). Energy drinks and risk to future substance abuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/08/energy-drinks-risk-to-future-substance-use