Thank you for shedding light on the issue of alcoholic energy drinks [in the Dec. 3 article “Four Loko bans sweeping across country, campuses to keep drinkers safe.”]
However, I feel the opinion from the doctor consulted [in the article] was uninformed. I would like to fill in some of the blanks.
Although alcohol and caffeine have been mixed together in drinks for decades, the packaged alcoholic energy drinks contain up to five standard alcoholic drinks and as much caffeine as up to four cups of coffee.
Of course, drinkers always have a choice for how much they want to drink and what they drink, but companies like Four Loko and Joose are not openly warning how much alcohol and caffeine their products have.
According to the Core Institute’s Survey on Alcohol & Drug Use conducted at Bradley in April of 2010, the majority of Bradley students are drinking between zero and four drinks when they drink. If a Bradley student sets a limit of only having four drinks for the night and buys a Four Loko, they are already over the limit they set for themselves.
This tendency to over-consume alcoholic energy drinks has led to numerous deaths (the precise amount is unclear) in the U.S. in the past few months and many other transports to the hospital, including one at Bradley.
Also, according to a study conducted by Outside the Classroom, “Patrons consuming alcohol in conjunction with energy drinks had three times the risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated [leaving with a BAC of 0.109 vs. those drinking alcohol only who had a BAC average of 0.081] and were four times more likely to intend to drive after drinking than bar patrons who drank alcohol only.”
Furthermore, the Outside the Classroom study showed that college students who were consuming alcoholic energy drinks were expecting the alcohol energy drinks to help relax them, make them feel happier, and make them feel more attractive and outgoing.
But when asked what they experienced when they drank alcoholic energy drinks, the same college students reported the following: having a hangover, passing out, forgetting what they did, getting behind on schoolwork, missing classes, getting involved in a physical fight, driving drunk, riding with a drunken driver and experiencing friendship issues.
So with that all said, I challenge all Bradley students to set a limit of number of drinks they want to consume before they go out.
If you chose to drink Four Loko or other alcoholic energy drinks, know how much alcohol you are consuming and pace yourself throughout the night.
And finally, ask yourself why you are drinking. If you are doing so to escape from reality or cope with pain, please consider making an appointment with the Counseling Center by calling (309)677-2700.
Coordinator of Alcohol Education and Awareness Programs