If a young person drinks too much alcohol, one of their friends may stop at the nearest Starbucks or Coffee Bean and get them a strong cup of coffee to try and “sober them up.” Or, they may try to throw them in a cold shower or toss them into an icy backyard pool, but all of these tactics will fail miserably.
The problem is, none of these tricks will lower the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) because they are all myths. The only thing that lowers a person’s BAC is time.
Since we’re talking about coffee, we wanted to discuss the topic of caffeine and alcohol as it pertains to sobering a drunk person up (or the way it doesn’t) and mixing alcohol with energy drinks, such as a vodka and Red Bull. Since there are a few myths circulating about caffeine and alcohol, we wanted to clear a few things up.
Mixing Energy Drinks With Alcohol
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), energy drinks are “very popular among young adults” and 31% of 12 to 17 year-olds consume them regularly, and 34% of 18 to 24 year-olds consume them on a regular basis, but you already knew that.
When people mix alcohol with energy drinks, a popular thing to do among young people, the caffeine in the energy drink can mask the depressant effects of the alcohol, meanwhile the caffeine does absolutely nothing to reduce the person’s BAC. In effect, the person becomes a “wide awake” drunk and they can be more inclined to engage in risky behavior, such as drinking and driving.
The CDC reports that when people mix alcohol with energy drinks, they become 3 times more likely to binge drink than people who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.
Drinkers who mix alcohol with energy drinks are about twice as likely to take advantage of someone else sexually, or be taken advantage of sexually, and ride with a drunk driver as people who do not mix energy drinks with alcohol, the CDC reports.
Coffee Won’t Ever Sober a Drunk Person Up
Like we mentioned earlier, no amount of coffee will sober a drunk person up. While caffeine in coffee and energy drinks counteracts the depressant effects of alcohol, this can be dangerous because caffeine fools people into believing they are more sober than they are. Caffeine can make a drunk person feel more “alert” but it has no effect on BAC whatsoever.
We hope this clears up your questions on caffeine and alcohol. If you know someone who could use this information, please feel free to share our blog with your friends and family who think that coffee can combat drunkenness, because research proves that it can’t!