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Alcohol and Caffeine

Drinking alcohol and caffeine together can put people at greater risk of harm than drinking alcohol alone. That's because caffeine keeps people awake and drinking alcohol for longer periods than they otherwise would. Caffeine can also make people think they are less impaired than they actually are, which can lead to more risky behaviour, such as drinking and driving.

Caffeinated alcoholic beverages, also known as alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AMED), are available in two forms:

  • Pre-mixed by manufacturers and sold in liquor stores or licensed establishments; and

  • Hand mixed by people themselves.

The hand-mixed drinks are riskier because there is no standardized serving size for either the caffeine or alcohol.

Youth and young adults at greatest risk from mixing alcohol and caffeine

Youth and young adults are at greatest risk as they are the biggest consumers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, drinking at levels up to four times higher than the general public according to Health Canada's 2010 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey.

For safer drinking, view Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

Also view the legal drinking age for alcohol in Canada.

Reducing the harmful effects of combining alcohol and caffeine

CCSA partnered with the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC) to develop policy responses to alcohol and caffeine and a policy brief to inform policy makers, healthcare providers and health organizations, as well as fact sheets for parents and youth.