“Wide-awake drunk” isn’t a phrase you hear all too often. Sure there’s the functioning alcoholic, and blacking out (mentally, as opposed to physically), but only just recently have researchers begun to note how serious the problem of young adults mixing alcohol with their favorite energy drink really is. The effect can be somewhat similar to that of mixing “uppers” and “downers”: you get the best of both worlds, but without the negative effects being counteracted. Any pain, exhaustion, or other physiological cues are effectively tuned out, and you would be none the wiser—at least until the next morning.

According to findings posted in a recent article by Medical News Today, researchers Megan Patrick of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and Jennifer Maggs of Penn State University came to the conclusion that:

“…the public health implications include not only physical risks to individuals from blacking out and alcohol poisoning, for example, but also exposing the community to dangerous situations in which young adults may be “wide awake drunk” after a night of partying.

Patrick and Maggs analyzed data on 652 college students over a period of four semesters. During four two-week periods, the students answered questions every day about their consumption of energy drinks and alcohol, and about any negative consequences they experienced as a result – from having a hangover to getting into trouble.

‘Our findings suggest that the use of energy drinks and alcohol together may lead to heavier drinking and more serious alcohol-related problems,’ Patrick said. ‘As energy drinks become more and more popular, we should think about prevention strategies for reducing the negative consequences of using energy drinks and of combining energy drinks with alcohol.’

What do you think? Is there a way to cut down on the danger of mixing energy drinks and alcohol, or should efforts be turned towards stricter regulation to prevent.