Musicians rock on with energy drinks, pharma misuse

Professional musicians and substance abuse. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or, like Keith Richards and...anything. Right? Well, turns out, according to new research, the stereotype of the musician/substance abuser might need to be modified with the era of the energy drink. According to scientists at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions, frequent use of energy drinks is associated specifically with misuse of legal prescription drugs among musicians.

In a survey published in a new journal that studies this sort of thing--the Journal of Caffeine Research--Kathleen E. Miller and Brian M. Quigley caught up with 226 Western New York professional and amateur musicians between the ages of 18 and 45. Ninety-four percent were caffeine users and 57 percent reported use of energy drinks specifically, according to a report in ScienceBlog. And among the musicians who abused legal prescription drugs, a significant number of them also used energy drinks heavily.

It's no wonder, say researchers, since some energy drinks specifically target aspiring musicians--or, at least those who pretend to follow the lifestyle--with Rockstar the second-most popular energy drink in the United States.

"No question, we've got quite a caffeine habit," Miller tells ScienceBlog. "But energy drinks bring something more to the equation."

That extra something is in the branding of energy drinks specifically for those, like musicians, who work odd hours and are regularly sleep-deprived. Combine that with a rebel self-image, and there you have substance misuse and hypercaffienated drinks in a single cocktail, the researchers say.

- read more about the survey on ScienceBlog