Jägerbombs lead to cocaine addiction, study shows
They cause permanent changes in the brain
Every student’s favourite cocktail – if you can call it that – could give rise to increased cocaine use in adulthood, a study has shown.
Mixing energy drinks and alcohol causes permanent changes in the brain similar to the effects of cocaine and other drugs, according to research by Richard van Rijn and Meredith Roberts at Purdue University.
The brain’s neuro-chemistry is altered in a way that means more of a pleasurable substance is needed to get high, and so vastly increases the chances of addiction.
In a study on mice, van Rijn discovered: “Mice that had been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults.
“Mice that were exposed to highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks later found cocaine was not as pleasurable. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect.”
Tests on humans in this area are illegal, however mice serve as a good analogue due to similar reward pathways in the brain, and the enjoyment of cocaine as a result of it releasing dopamine. They are commonly used for research into drugs, with findings strongly correlating to those in humans.
Researchers detected increased levels of a protein, FosB, a phenomenon also occurring in those abusing heroin and cocaine. Van Rijn added that:
“Their brains have been changed in such a way they are more likely to abuse natural or pleasurable substances as adults.”
This is bad news for lovers not just of the humble jägerbomb, but of vodka Red Bulls too. Is it time to forego that delectable, slimy, fizzy, sugary, slurp-it-down-and-savour-the-taste staple of a good night out?
Will students abandon the lovely little boost?