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Vodka-Red Bull Mixture Can Have Cocaine-Like Effects on Brain: Study

Vodka-Red Bull Mixture Can Have Cocaine-Like Effects on Brain: Study

Sloppy Joe's bartender Crystal Petersen mixes a Red Bull energy drink with vodka on July 22, 2001, in Key West, FL. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 27 October 2016 05:46 PM EDT

Caffeine-heavy energy drinks mixed with alcohol, such as the popular mixture of vodka and Red Bull, can mimic cocaine usage and cause changes in the brains of adolescents who consume them, a new study shows.

The study by Purdue University used young mice to show the possible effects of the caffeine and alcohol concoction. In the study, a protein that has been found at elevated levels in long term drug users was also elevated in mice who had ingested the alcohol and energy drink mixture.

“It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behavior and changes the neurochemistry in their brains,” said Purdue researcher Dr. Richard van Rijn.

Van Rijn explained the similarity: “That’s one reason why it’s so difficult for drug users to quit because of these lasting changes in the brain. Mice that has been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults. ... They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect.”

Researchers weren’t sure if the immediate intoxicating effects of the vodka and Red Bull mixture were the same as those of cocaine, but the mice who had ingested vodka and Red Bull when young had a slight tolerance to the effects of cocaine as adult mice, researchers found.

Mixing alcohol with caffeinated energy drinks is not uncommon for teenagers, and is typically seen as less harmful than taking hard drugs like cocaine.

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TheWire
Caffeine-heavy energy drinks mixed with alcohol, such as the popular mixture of vodka and Red Bull, can mimic cocaine usage and cause changes in the brains of adolescents who consume them, a new study shows.
vodka, red bull, cocaine, brain, study
245
2016-46-27
Thursday, 27 October 2016 05:46 PM
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