"Scientific" studies are getting more irresponsible every day. A recent study will be picked up by many media though, because the headlines are so sensational. “Coffee and Energy Drink Lovers More Likely To Become Drug Addicts” one article says. Others broadcast “A Love of Coffee Could Hook You on Drugs”, and “Caffeine Response Predicts Addiction”. Parents are being warned that their kids may become druggies if they like coffee or soda. The University of Vermont should be embarrassed by the hype over the study of 22 - count them, only 22 - subjects.
These subjects were given choices of caffeine or placebos and then given d-amphetamine. Those reporting a positive response to one were more likely to like both. The researchers stated that people responding favorably to caffeine’s effects might be more vulnerable to other stimulants’ effects. They were quick to point out that everyone who enjoys caffeinated drinks won’t take up cocaine, however. Well, don’t we already know that? There are millions of coffee drinkers, soda drinkers and energy beverage drinkers in the US who don’t take mind-altering drugs. Besides, drinking a caffeinated beverage and taking pure caffeine are too totally different things in terms of the effect on the body. In fact, without spending a dime on a study, it can probably be stated that the percentage of University of Vermont students who abuse drugs is higher than the percentage of soda and coffee drinkers who abuse drugs.
There is a world of difference between participating in a study which offers a person chemicals and that person’s experience in the real world. Most Americans grow up seeing people drinking coffee and soda and take up one or both of those beverages themselves. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cola and sugar “addicts”, but that’s still a long way from taking amphetamines. They give amphetamines to those diagnosed with ADHD, but how many of them go on to harder drugs?
While there likely are people who drink coffee just for the jolt, who soon want something stronger and move to drugs, there is more to it than just the sensation. The drug abusing personality tends to be one who is sensation-seeking, emotional, hostile or aggressive, impulsive, low in self-esteem, social conforming and lacking in self control. They are drawn to others with the same weaknesses who may be into drug use. So what parents should really be concerned with, rather than how much coffee or cola their teen likes, is how to help build self-esteem and self-control in their children. It takes much more than a liking of caffeine’s effects to predict drug abuse. Coffee is much more than caffeine, and enjoyed in moderation has many proven health benefits. Brew on in good health.