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Caffeine and alcohol: A dangerous mix

There are many drinks out there that mix caffeine and alcohol. From coffee mixed with a shot of alcohol to Red Bull poured into a mixed drink, many people opt to have a little additional punch to the drink.

Mixing alcohol and caffeine is dangerous, though. Energy drinks, for example, have sugars, caffeine and other additives. Caffeine masks the depressant side effects of alcohol, making it harder for people to know how intoxicated they are. As a result, drinkers may think they're more alert or sober than they are, which results in poor decisions.

Does caffeine "sober you up?"

No. This is a dangerous myth. In reality, caffeine does nothing to make you less intoxicated. It doesn't reduce impairment or reduce your breath or blood alcohol concentration.

Those who drink alcohol combined with caffeine often drink more because they think they're less intoxicated than they are.

Who mixes drinks with caffeine?

It's most common to see people around 19 to 28 mixing alcohol and caffeine. Interestingly, those between 15 and 23 who mixed drinks were four times more likely to binge drink at a high intensity, putting them at a higher risk of alcohol-related health conditions as well as driving while intoxicated.

Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages were most popular in the early 2000s, but they're still around today. Usually, there is a higher alcohol content than in a beer, making these drinks particularly potent. CABs, as they are known, were heavily marketed to young drinkers.

What happens if you're caught drinking alcohol and caffeine?

It's legal to drink the mix, but you shouldn't get behind the wheel. If you drive while thinking you're sober or less intoxicated than you are, the likelihood is that you'll have a higher BAC than expected. For particularly high BAC levels, you could face an aggravated offense, which would end up costing you more money and potentially put you in jail.

Any time you plan to drink, whether that drink has caffeine or not, you need to plan a safe way to get home. Opt to call a ride-share service or get a friend or loved one to drive you home safely. It's not worth putting yourself in harm's way, even if you think you could be reprimanded by friends or family for your behaviors. Being safe and protecting yourself and others on the road is necessary. Driving could result in injuries or deaths, which is the last thing anyone wants to see happen.

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