College Bans Energy Drinks Citing Link To Excessive Alcohol Use And High-Risk Sex

By May Wilkerson 03/02/16

The students will not be banned from consuming the drinks—they'll just have to purchase them off-campus. 

College Bans Energy Drinks Citing Link To Excessive Alcohol Use And High-Risk Sex
Photo via Shutterstock/Chones

Past research has shown that mixing alcohol and energy drinks, though an especially popular combo among college students, is just generally a pretty bad idea.

For this reason, schools across the nation are "cracking down" on energy drinks, citing the potential dangers of mixing highly-caffeinated beverages with alcohol and college students. Vermont's Middlebury College is the latest to spurn the drinks. As of March 7, the school's dining services will no longer sell energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster and 5-Hour Energy, according to the Middlebury Campus.

The debate surrounding energy drinks on the Vermont campus peaked in January, when Dining Software intern Myles Kamisher-Koch presented a paper at a Community Council meeting about the drinks’ potential health risks, specifically​ that students are frequently mixing them with booze. “Up to 25% of current drinkers combine alcoholic beverages with energy drinks,” said Kamisher-Koch at the meeting.

A flyer distributed by the school announcing the decision to ban energy drinks cited "scientific literature revealing a connection between energy drinks and unsafe behavior in young people," said the Middlebury Campus. Unsafe behavior that may include "increased alcohol consumption, increased likelihood to drive while intoxicated, increased probability of use of other intoxicating substance and increased participation in high-risk sexual activity.”

Kamisher-Koch argued that these health risks contradict the mission statement of the Middlebury College Dining Services, which promises that the school’s food and beverage options should “nourish and nurture today and tomorrow by sustaining mind, body, and earth.”​ And her campaign succeeded.

Middlebury is not the first American college to take a stand against energy drinks. In September 2011, the University of New Hampshire issued a statement explaining that it “will no longer sell energy drinks in its retail and vending locations beginning in January 2012,” for similar reasons. “Students who mixed alcohol and energy drinks reported double the incidence rates of injuring themselves, requiring medical attention, and being taken advantage of sexually than those who drank only alcohol,” reads the UNH statement.

There have been additional studies from past research that only emphasize the potential risks of mixing caffeine with other risky elements, like teenagers. A recent study found that teens who consume energy drinks are more likely to suffer head injuries. ​And a study from last year suggested that drinking just one large can of energy drink a day could raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart problems in young adults.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.