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Banning Alcoholic Energy Drinks Essay

2082 words - 9 pages

Introduction
Alcohol, the most commonly used and abused drug, has been in the history of the world for centuries. The use of this drug has been dated back to around 13,000 B.C.E., and over the years has transformed from being a source of nutrients and a part of a person’s healthy diet, to a substance used for recreation (Kelley, 2013).On the other hand, the introduction of energy drinks in the United States didn’t emerge until the 1990s, with Red Bull being the first energy drink to be sold (“The history of,”). Since then, the popularity of energy drinks has increased, with dozens of new energy drinks being developed, such as Monster and 5-hour energy. There was one energy drink, Four Loko, ...view middle of the document...

Alcohol also decreases glutamatergic signaling by inhibiting N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, receptors responsible to the brain’s ability to adapt to changes in the genes of a person and the environment (Gonzales, 1997). The decrease of excitation to glutamate results in a decrease in controlled brain function and signal-receiving neural activity exerted by glutamate. Both of these neurotransmitters work side-by-side to maintain normal levels of brain activity in an individual. Caffeine’s primary mechanism of action is it blocks adenosine receptors by binding to the receptor without activating it (“Caffeine,” 2014). Adenosine is a neurotransmitter found all over the body, but the adenosine found in the brain is responsible for suppressing neural activity from metabolic stress. Caffeine works by disinhibiting this neural activity.
The combination of alcohol and caffeine has a number of effects on the brain, especially when it comes to a person’s perception. One of common assumptions about drinking caffeine with alcohol is that the caffeine helps with the process of a person becoming more sober (Lagatella, 2005). This assumption is incorrect. “Mounting scientific evidence suggests that while caffeine does little to suppress the effects of alcohol, it makes the drinker feel less intoxicated than he or she really is,” (Kelley, 2013). Presumably, since caffeine has the ability to raise anxiety and alertness levels, when combined with alcohol, its gives off the perception that one is not as intoxicated as they really are. The consumption of caffeine does not directly and completely cancel out alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol alter different neurotransmitters in the brain. This means that by consuming the two simultaneously, a person is causing two groups of cells in to act abnormally compared to one. Caffeine also does not affect the metabolization of alcohol in the body (“Fact sheet,” 2014). The interaction between these two drugs can led to many negative consequences to whoever chooses to consume them, especially in the form of alcoholic energy drinks.
Consequences
There are many adverse consequences that alcohol and caffeine can have on not only the individual but the people surrounding them, particularly when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic energy drinks. Energy drinks are primarily marketed to adolescents and young adults to make a high risk-taking lifestyle appealing (Patrick, 2013), with 31% of 12-17 year olds and 34% of 18-24 year olds consuming them regularly (“Fact sheet,” 2014). Alcoholic energy drinks are no different; they look the same as non-alcoholic energy drinks, and they are marketed to a similar audience. Not understanding or caring about the consequences, adolescents look toward the euphoric effects instead of realizing the adverse effects. “Drinkers who consume alcohol with energy drinks are about twice as likely as drinkers who do not report mixing alcohol with energy drinks to report being taken advantage of...

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