A new study suggests teens who consume high-caffeine energy drinks such as Monster or Red Bull may be more likely to use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes.
The study included almost 22,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12, HealthDay reports. The researchers found 30 percent said they drank high-caffeine energy drinks or shots, while more than 40 percent drank regular soft drinks daily, and 20 percent drank diet soda daily. Teens who consumed energy drinks were two to three times more likely to admit recently using drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, compared with teens who didn’t consume energy drinks.
Eighth graders were more likely than older students to use energy drinks. Boys, teens without two parents at home, and those whose parents had lower education levels, were also more likely to consume the drinks. Drinking sodas was related to substance use, but the association was much weaker compared with energy drink consumption.
“The current study indicates that adolescent consumption of energy drinks/shots is widespread and that energy drink users also report heightened risk for substance use,” the University of Michigan’s researchers wrote in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
The researchers note teens who are risk-taking may be more attracted to both energy drinks and to other substances.