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.

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Goodbye my lover

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.”

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Goodbye my friend

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.”

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You have been the one

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?

Probably not.