Energy Drinks Now a Companion to Some Drug Abuse Habits

Energy drink companion to drugs abuse.

In a recent and startling revelation, we are now seeing a critical link between hospital ER visits involving drug use and involving energy drink consumption as well. As the popularity of energy drinks has skyrocketed in recent years, one can understand why their use, and the negative side-effects of their use, would become more prevalent. Furthermore, as energy drinks are highly caffeinated and produce a sort of “high” of their own, it makes sense why people use energy drinks and drugs in tandem.

According to research from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, between 2007 and 2011 the ER visits from energy drinks in tandem with drug use more than doubled from about ten thousand incidents to over twenty-one thousand. The vast majority of such incidences involved teenagers or young adults.

Caffeine Content in Energy Drinks

The first concerning factor about energy drinks, especially when it comes to energy drink consumption in tandem with drug abuse, is the sheer caffeine content in energy drinks. Let’s look at some comparisons:

Energy drink cane
  • Energy drinks vary widely in their caffeine content. The lowest-content energy drinks will have about eighty to one-hundred milligrams of caffeine in them. However, those are the lowest caffeine content energy drinks of them all. More frequently, energy drinks have a caffeine content of about two-hundred to five-hundred milligrams.
  • The average cup of coffee has about one-hundred milligrams of caffeine in it, a little bit more if espresso is added to it. But even the strongest of coffees rarely meets the caffeine content of the average energy drinks.
  • A twelve-ounce soda or similar carbonated beverage has about fifty milligrams of caffeine. And even a two-liter bottle of soda has less caffeine than some of the strongest energy drinks.

This is just a look at the caffeine discrepancy with energy drinks, as compared to other, accepted and normal high-caffeine content beverages. When people put this much caffeine into their bloodstream while also taking certain drugs, it can have a very adverse effect on them.

Medical Concern Over Energy Drinks

Doctors are concerned about energy drinks because such beverages drive the heart rate up while simultaneously driving blood pressure and other function out the roof. According to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at the Lenox Hospital in New York City:

“In anyone who has any underlying heart condition, these two effects (increasing blood pressure and heart rate) can be deadly. Know what you're drinking before you drink it…”

“In anyone who has any underlying heart condition, these two effects (increasing blood pressure and heart rate) can be deadly. Know what you're drinking before you drink it.”

Another expert, Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien, also had this to say about energy drink consumption:

“The issue is not the doubling of emergency department visits. That is the symptom. The 'disease' is the failure of the federal government to regulate energy drinks as beverages.”
Emergency room visit.

And Dr. O’Brien is right. For some reason, energy drinks are able to be sold in the U.S. to consumers with absolutely no FDA regulations placed on them! It’s almost as if the U.S. government wants the American people to drink highly addictive and potentially debilitating energy drinks. And when drug abuse is added to the mix? Game over.

Curbing Unhealthy Habits

According to the report, the most common drug that people consume when they consume energy drinks is pills of some kind, usually ADHD drugs or other forms of psychotropic medications. Marijuana is another common drug that is paired with energy drink consumption.

It’s important to curb unhealthy habits and to try for a life of healthy choices over unhealthy ones. The FDA needs to regulate energy drinks, and consumers need to know the unhealthy implications involved in energy drink consumption.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.