Friday, April 15, 2011 - 3:39pm

Popularity of dangerous energy drink/alcohol cocktails skyrockets.

Combine Red Bull and a shot of Jagermeister and you've got a Jager Bomb, a popular drink among the college crowd.

"The energy drink just allows you to stay in that awake, alert, happy state longer," explains Dr. Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor at Northern Kentucky University.

Long enough that you don't realize how intoxicated you really are according to a new study from the university.

Researchers divided nearly 60 college students into several groups.

One group drank alcohol mixed with regular soft drinks, another mixed with energy drinks.

In the end both groups had the same blood alcohol level, but very different experiences.

"These energy drinks don't change what happens to your behavior and how drunk you feel, but it changes your perception of how intoxicated you are," Marczinski says.

A potentially dangerous state of mind.

Studies show people who combine high-caffeine energy drinks and alcohol are more likely to binge drink and then get behind the wheel.

The American Beverage Association agrees that binge drinking is a serious health problem, but in a statement the organization says the issue won't be addressed by focusing on non-alcoholic beverages, rather through efforts teaching young adults about the effects of consuming alcohol.

Researchers say education is their goal.

Their lab study indicates energy drinks can mask the alcohol buzz and consumers need to be aware of that before they take that first sip.

A spokesperson from Red Bull said:

"To get Red Bull's full effect of vitalizing body and mind it is best to consume it on its own."

The researchers say these drinks attract people who tend to drink too much anyway, so some of the reports of severe intoxication could be because of their drinking problem.




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