Caffeine and Alcohol Can Be a Deadly Combination

If you’ve gotten used to serving your younger customers (and by young, we mean those in the 21-30 year old range, not the ice cream and soda pop set) Red Bull with vodka, you may soon have to rethink your plans for serving such drinks.

While alcoholic drinks mixed with caffeine tends to be a very common drink (rum and coke anyone?), new evidence has emerged that the combination can be extremely dangerous, especially for younger drinkers.

Caffeine Masks the Effects of Alcohol

The biggest problem with serving caffeine together with alcohol, doctors say, is that the caffeine has the effect of masking the effects of the alcohol. This makes it difficult for people to gauge just how drunk they actually are and they tend to over drink, potentially leading to serious problems.

Four Loko Especially Considered Dangerous

A fruit flavored drink called Four Loko, according to a recent report in the New York Times is considered to be particularly dangerous because it combines 12 percent alcohol with the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

A number of students from Ramapo College in New Jersey and another school, Central Washington University in Florida recently found themselves in emergency rooms after drinking the Four Loko drink.

State Attorney Generals Investigating

Eighteen attorneys general from various states have petitioned the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to investigate and to declare the drinks unsafe. Until now the FDA, while not approving of the mixture, has not done anything to stop it from being served.

Some states are also looking into passing laws specifically with the intention of banning the sale of such drink mixtures, though no such laws have as yet been passed.

Consider Non-Caffeinated Drinks

We are suggesting that restaurateurs with alcohol licenses consider offering non caffeinated alternatives to the caffeine drinks they have traditionally offered as a standard item and offer to substitute the more traditional drinks only on request from patrons. This way, you are protected from potential liabilities should one of your patrons get sick.

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