Biology lab uses real life hungover students to warn against effects of mixing energy drinks and alcohol

AJ Lawrence, Staff Writer

This study came about when biology majors Jill Hoffmeh ’22 and Luke Cassidy ’23 noticed that their mutual friend had a horrendous hangover the morning after one Super. Their friend, anonymity requested, reported having a “wild time” at Super, then consumed two energy drinks to get “jacked up” for partying later that same night. The next day, the friend reported feeling “jacked up, but in the bad way.” 

Cassidy and Hoffmeh wondered how mixing energy drinks and alcohol affected their friend. The two aspiring scientists researched the effects of these drinks on the human body, finding the commonly known fact that alcohol is a depressant drug and energy drinks count as stimulants; combining the two causes their effects to become less prominent, causing the partier to take more of both, or “full send it.” Despite many previous studies, the two continued their study anyway, moving onto the experiment phase. 

They contacted the fraternity, Alpha Alpha Alpha (colloquially known as triple-A, but not to be confused with American Automobile Association), and asked if the brothers would like to participate in a study where all drinks would be provided. Naturally they agreed, happily signing safety forms and participating in a seven week long experiment of drinking different energy drinks each Saturday between Super and nighttime wilding. Cassidy and Hoffmeh took note of each subjects’ physiology and normal tolerance, asked them all to drink the same amount at Super and two energy drinks each and then recorded how many drinks they had later in the day and their BACs every hour. 

The results of the study ended up being the same as every other study on depressant and stimulant drugs, and their only source from research was the University’s own drug and alcohol safety awareness courses. But, their study was successful as their hypothesis proved correct. The professor who reviewed their study was concerned about their practice of using University students and providing the alcohol for their tests, but was impressed by the thoroughness of Hoffmeh and Cassidy’s trials. A recent addendum to the report states that Cassidy, Hoffmeh and all test subjects are being required to complete the aforementioned awareness courses as punishment for having alcohol on campus.

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