A college has introduced a ban of the sale of energy drinks on its campus as of March 7, claiming that the drinks can lead to sexually risky behaviors.
Middlebury College in Vermont has banned the drinks due to the negative behaviors that can result from its consumption, including high-risk sexual activity and alcohol abuse. The college also claims the drinks can affect the academic performance of students at the school in addition to creating a culture of stress.
Included in the ban are brands such as Red Bull, Rockstar, and Five-Hour Energy. "The school has a responsibility to direct students to healthy choices through what they provide," Dining Software Intern Myles Kamisher-Koch told the school paper, The Middlebury Campus, reports Susan James for NBC News.
The issue began on January 19 when Dining Software intern Myles Kamisher-Koch arrived at a Community Council meeting with scientific research that suggested the health risks associated with the beverages contradict the Dining Service mission statement, which said in part, "Nourish and nurture today and tomorrow by sustaining mind, body, and earth."
Kamisher-Koch claimed that "up to 25% of current drinkers combine alcoholic beverages with energy drinks."
Despite the numerous reports that have been completed on the negative effects that consuming energy drinks can have on an individual, none of them discuss a connection to being more likely to engage in high-risk sexual activity. The studies do suggest that drinking these beverages can increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes.
A study performed in 2012 did suggest that mixing energy drinks with alcohol increased sexually risky behaviors in men, however. "Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication," lead researcher Kathleen E. Miller said.
Miller went on to say that the caffeine found in energy drinks can increase a person's desire to drink more alcohol. That person will then drink more overall, not just alcohol. Doing so, she says, encourages unsafe sex to take place, including not using condoms.
The college is not the first to place such a ban. In a statement from September 2011, the University of New Hampshire announced it would be no longer selling energy drinks in any of its retail stores or vending machines beginning in January 2012. The school said its decision came as a result of research showing that students who consume the beverages are twice as likely to injure themselves to the point of needing medical attention, or being taken advantage of on a sexual level, when compared to those who only drank alcohol, reports Kevin B. Atencio for MicroCap Magazine.
However, the school released a separate statement three days later saying the ban would not be taking effect, as university data did not find "clear medical evidence of consistent patterns of caffeine abuse or of alcohol abuse exacerbated by the use of energy drinks among UNH students."