Is alcohol and energy drink consumption associated with antisocial behaviour?


The consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) has become popular in Australia, particularly among young people. AmED research suggests there are associations between AmED consumption and harmful behaviours, including criminal offences. This study investigated the behaviours of a group of AmED consumers known to engage in high-risk activities—police detainees. It found most detainees had recently consumed energy drinks, but consumption of AmED was less common than in community samples.The study also compared the behaviours of AmED consumers with alcohol consumers, and analysed how AmED consumers behaved in AmED sessions versus alcohol sessions. It found AmED consumers reported drinking more alcohol in a usual alcohol session than in a usual AmED session. AmED consumers were also significantly less likely to report being assaulted or committing a traffic offence in an AmED session, compared with an alcohol only session.


URLs correct as at March 2024

Alford C, Cox H & Wescott R 2001. The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids 21(2): 139–150

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016— detailed findings. Canberra: AIHW.

Brache K & Stockwell T 2011. Drinking patterns and risk behaviours associated with combined alcohol and energy drink consumption in college drinkers. Addictive Behaviors 36(12): 1133–1140. DOI: 10.1016/j. addbeh.2011.07.003

Darke S 1998. Self-report among injecting drug users: A review. Drug & Alcohol Dependence 3(1): 253–263. DOI: 10.1016/S0376-8716(98)00028-3

de Haan L, de Haan HA, van der Palen J, Olivier B & Verster JC 2012. Effects of consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks versus consuming alcohol only on overall alcohol consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences. International Journal of General Medicine 5: 953–960. DOI: 10.2147/IJGM.S38020

Droste N et al. 2017. Combined use of alcohol and energy drinks: Dose relationship with self-reported physiological stimulation and sedation side effects. Addictive Behaviors 71: 68–74. DOI: 10.1016/j. addbeh.2017.02.031

Droste N et al. 2016. The right place at the right time: The social contexts of combined alcohol and energy drink use. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 23(6): 1-–12. DOI: 10.3109/09687637.2016.1156650

Forward J et al. 2017. Nature versus intensity of intoxication: Co-ingestion of alcohol and energy drinks and the effect on objective and subjective intoxication. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 180: 292–303. DOI: 10.1016/j. drugalcdep.2017.08.013

Fugh-Berman 2000. Herb-drug interactions. Lancet 355 (9198): 134–138. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(99)06457-0

Lubman D et al. 2013. Alcohol and energy drinks in NSW. Sydney: NSW Health.

Marzell M, Turrisi R, Mallett K, Ray AE & Scaglione NM 2014. Combining alcohol and energy drinks: An examination of psychosocial constructs and alcohol outcomes among college students using a longitudinal design. Addiction Research and Theory 22(2): 91–97. DOI: 10.3109/16066359.2013.804510

McKetin R, Coen A & Kaye S 2015. A comprehensive review of the effects of mixing caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 151: 15–30. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.047

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2009. Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Canberra: NHMRC.

O’Brien MC, McCoy TP, Rhodes SD, Wagoner A & Wolfson M 2008. Caffeinated cocktails: Energy drink consumption, high-risk drinking, and alcohol-related consequences among college students. Academic Emergency Medicine 15(5): 453–460. DOI: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00085.x

Patterson E, Sullivan T, Ticehurst A & Bricknell S 2018. Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2015–16 report on drug use among police detainees. Statistical Report no 4. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Peacock A & Bruno RB 2015. The young and the reckless: Do all consumers of alcohol and energy drinks engage in risk-taking while intoxicated? 38th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, 20–24 June, San Antonio, Texas: 82A

Peacock A, Bruno RB & Martin FH 2012. The subjective physiological, psychological, and behavioural risk-taking consequences of alcohol and energy drink co-ingestion. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(11): 2008–2015. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01820.x

Peacock A, Cash C & Bruno R 2015. Cognitive impairment following consumption of alcohol with and without energy drinks. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 39(4): 733–742. DOI: 10.1111/acer.12680

Peacock A et al. 2016. Awareness of energy drink intake guidelines and associated consumption practices: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 16(6). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-2685-2

Peacock A et al. 2015. Self-reported risk-taking behaviour during matched-frequency sessions of alcohol versus combined alcohol and energy drinks consumption: Does co-ingestion increase risk-taking? Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 39(5): 911–918. DOI: 10.1111/acer.12700

Peacock A, Pennay A, Droste N, Bruno RB & Lubman DI 2014. ‘High’ risk? A systematic review of the acute outcomes of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Addiction 109(10): 1612–1633. DOI: 10.1111/add.12622

Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R & Hauser E 2000. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and wellbeing. Amino Acids 19(3-4): 635–642

Sindicich N & Burns LA 2010. Australian trends in ecstasy and related drug markets 2009: Findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS). Australian Drug Trends Series No. 46. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

Snipes DJ, Jeffers AJ, Green BA & Benotsch EG 2015. Alcohol mixed with energy drinks are robustly associated with patterns of problematic alcohol consumption among young adult college students. Addictive Behaviors 41: 136–141. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.10.010

Sweeney J & Payne J 2011. Alcohol and assault on Friday and Saturday nights. Research in practice no. 14. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Thombs DL et al. 2010. Event-level analyses of energy drink consumption and alcohol intoxication in bar patrons. Addictive Behaviors 35(4): 325–330. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.11.004

Uporova J, Karlsson A, Sutherland R & Burns L 2018. Australian trends in ecstasy and related drug markets 2017: Findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS). Australian Drug Trends Series No. 190. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Sydney: UNSW.

Woolsey CL et al. 2014. Frequency of energy drink use predicts illicit prescription stimulant use. Substance Abuse 35(1): 96–103. DOI: 10.1080/08897077.2013.810561

Woolsey C, Waigandt A & Beck NC 2010. Athletes and energy drinks: Reported risk-taking and consequences from the combined use of alcohol and energy drinks. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 22(1). DOI: 10.1080/10413200903403224