Many people, mostly teenagers and young adults, rely on energy drinks to give them the extra energy they need on a daily basis. The occasional can of Monster, of course, won’t harm you or cause you to start popping prescription pills. But energy drinks do have large amounts of caffeine and offer no true health benefits. In fact, the ingredients (some of which are caffeine, inositol, taurine and yohimbine hydrochloride) affect concentration, motivation and how we think, feel and perform. A new study, published in Substance Abuse, concludes that college students who consume energy drinks are more likely than those who don’t consume them to misuse prescription stimulants. As expected, the risk of prescription drug abuse increases as the consumption of energy drinks increase. The most commonly abused drug among college students is Adderall – a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
The participants in the study were undergraduate and post-graduate college students. The students completed a web-based survey about their energy drink and prescription drug consumption and whether or not the prescription drugs were prescribed to them legally.
According to the survey, all of the students who legally consumed the prescription stimulants all consumed them in combination with energy drinks. This is a very concerning trend among this age group not only because it is extremely unhealthy but because prescription pills are highly addictive. Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths due to overdose.