UWS Curriculum Specialist Dr. Conrad Woolsey, honored by Substance Abuse Journal

New faculty member’s article named “best manuscript of the year”

Conrad Woolsey, PhD, CC-AASP, USOC-Sport Psychology Registry, CHES, the newest faculty member in the exercise and sports science master’s program at UWS was recently honored by Substance Abuse, the official journal of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA). The journal selected Dr. Woolsey’s manuscript, “Frequency of Energy Drink Use Predicts Illicit Prescription Stimulant Use,” as best manuscript for 2014.

The manuscript was based on survey of 381 undergraduate and graduate students regarding their energy drink consumption and their usage of prescription pills. Results of the study indicated that an increase in energy drink use was a significant predictor of an increase in the use of illicit prescription stimulant pills, with the odds for using increasing by 6 percent with each day additional day of energy drink consumption in the past 30 days.

In this original study, all prescription stimulant users with or without a valid prescription also consumed energy drinks, which is contraindicated for safety reasons and considered drug misuse. This finding is important to medical practitioners because of the harmful interactions that can occur when mood enhancing energy drink ingredients, such as ginseng and yohimbe, are mixed with prescription stimulants.

According to Dr. Woolsey this is cause for alarm.

“The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ranks non-medical use of prescription drugs as the second most commonly used illicit form of drug use.  Additionally, the consumption of energy drinks has increased significantly in recent years,” said Dr. Woolsey. “It is time for concerted efforts to be made to address energy drink use and illicit prescription stimulant use on college campuses. College health promotion campaigns should focus on educating students on the risks of using these substances with particular attention on the promotion of physical activity, balanced nutrition, and mental health which can serve as healthy alternatives to energy drink use.”

In a letter from Substance Abuse Editor-In-Chief Adam J. Gordon, there were a couple of factors leading to the accolade. “All articles published between October 2013 and September 2014 … were eligible for consideration. The “best” manuscripts are those that clearly articulate research or policies designed to advance the identification and treatment of substance use disorders and/or the training of addiction care providers. The number of views a manuscript has received also factors into the nomination process, and your (Dr. Woolsey’s) article was one of our most downloaded manuscripts in 2014.”

“This is an important publication and Dr. Woolsey is an international leader in investigating the potential health risks of energy drinks,” said UWS Executive Vice President and Provost Will Evans, DC, PhD, MCHES. “This award shows progressive thinking on the part of the journal and I am sure there is more to come in this line of research.”

Dr. Woolsey will be recognized on Nov. 6, 2014 at the AMERSA conference in San Francisco, Calif.

The article was also co-authored by Dr. Evans.

Find out more information about the study and findings.

A follow-up study and manuscript was recently published by Substance Abuse Journal. The article entitled “Increased Energy Drink Use as a Predictor of Illicit Prescription Stimulant Use,” takes a more comprehensive look at the topic.