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Coffee is Addictive 569

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the my-headaches-proved-it dept.
zpok writes "According to scientists, coffee is really addictive, which I guess must mean they'll come in and confiscate your latte any moment now..." Can't wait for the study proving sugar is sweet.
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Coffee is Addictive

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  • Irresponsibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_mad_poster (640772) * <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:36AM (#10419559) Homepage Journal

    ...who released a study that could result in the official classification of the condition as a mental disorder.

    Seriously... is there ANYONE in ANY part of this country anymore that just takes a little bit of responsibility for their own goddamn actions? The idea that the effects of drinking a cup of coffee could even be considered being classified as a "disease" is absolutely ludicrous.

    People are so pathetic these days. I think the only disease involved in all this "you're not an irresponsible jackass, you just need medical help!" attitude is an acute affliction of stupid.

    • by mcovey (794220) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:37AM (#10419567) Journal
      I didn't read the article I'm too jittery from the caffeine.
      • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

        by riscthis (597073) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:07AM (#10419741)
        Maybe I've just become immune to caffeine, but I do drink a lot of caffeine-containing drinks throughout the day, and I can't say I've ever noticed being hyper from it. More to the point, I've never really noticed anyone else becoming hyper from caffeine either.

        So I've been wondering if this is more a cultural expectation thing. In Britain it just doesn't seem to be discussed in the same way -- I've known people (including myself) complain of caffeine withdrawal symptoms -- evil headaches and suchlike -- but almost never about any "hyper" effects of over-consumption of caffeine.

        Yet often American sitcoms will refer to coffee in reference to making people hyper, to the point where you'd think that half an espresso is meant to send you crazy. Or maybe it's genetic differences between the populations that mean that caffeine has different effects in the two countries?
        • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:5, Informative)

          by allism (457899) <alice.harrison@g ... com minus distro> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:17AM (#10419801) Journal
          Go buy a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans and scarf em down. You'll know what caffeine jitters are then.
          • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:5, Informative)

            by whidbey island geek (812051) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:46PM (#10420408)
            Just to clear up any misconceptions, the more you process a coffee bean the more caffeine you remove.

            As a former *$ barista and manager I know form where I speak. They spend a lot of time on coffee education if you are willing to listen.

            If you want a better 'buzz' go with a lighter roast coffee. Darker roasts like French have been toasted longer to produce a deeper flavor but loose some of the caffiene in the process. The same is true for using an espresso roast for drip coffee. It makes a mean cup of coffee but sure has less caffeine than a cinniamon roast you will find in cheap 'over the counter' coffees in the supermarket.

            Perhpas the biggest misconception is that multiple shots of espresso will really light you up. Wrong. All you are getting is a very concentrated flavor not a super boost of caffiene. That is cuz by the time it gets in to your latte the beans have been deeply roasted (to an espresso roast) and then 'super brewed' (as compared to traditional drip coffee)in the espresso maker. So if you are thinking that the quad shot Americano (espresso and water) you get to impress you buddies is some superdrink then just put on a dress and change you name to Sally. That is about as far removed from the 'manly' coffee my dad drank in the navy that you can get and still call it the same drink.

            • by 0racle (667029) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:15PM (#10420603)
              While true, eating the bean directly will give you more then almost any made coffee, and he also said scarf down a whole bunch which would be a whole lot more then any cup of coffee.

              Ignoring all that and moving on to your, 'to be a man have a light roast' some of us like a darker roasted coffee, and actually like espresso. If your drinking a coffee to impress people, your going to be a dick no matter what level of roast you drink.

              All the previous is anecdotal evidence, but I do have extensive experience with many different types of coffee's, I go for taste, and while I do often prefer a stronger, darker roast I try all sorts of different ones. its nice that one beverage has so many different subtleties that change the experience just a little each time.
            • by Daetrin (576516) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @02:42PM (#10421220)
              Darker roasts like French have been toasted longer to produce a deeper flavor but loose some of the caffiene in the process. The same is true for using an espresso roast for drip coffee.

              And don't forget the Starbucks "cremate the coffee beans and then glue the ash back together into a bean-shaped lump" method of roasting.

              It's pathetic that Starbuck's ubiquitousness has convinced most americans that that's the way coffee is supposed to be.

            • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:5, Informative)

              by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @03:26PM (#10421512)
              Perhpas the biggest misconception is that multiple shots of espresso will really light you up. Wrong.

              Not a misconception: a fact. If the espresso isn't pepping me up, what is? The demi-mug?

              All you are getting is a very concentrated flavor not a super boost of caffiene. That is cuz by the time it gets in to your latte the beans have been deeply roasted (to an espresso roast) and then 'super brewed' (as compared to traditional drip coffee)in the espresso maker.

              This flies in the face of a chemical experiment I did in organic lab. We STEAM EXTRACTED caffeine from some coffee grounds. You wouldn't believe the volume of crystals that precipitated from solution. "Super brewing", by which I take it you mean steam extraction, does an excellent job of pulling caffeine from the grounds.
            • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:4, Informative)

              by imuffin (196159) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @06:17PM (#10422603)
              Perhpas the biggest misconception is that multiple shots of espresso will really light you up. Wrong. All you are getting is a very concentrated flavor not a super boost of caffiene. That is cuz by the time it gets in to your latte the beans have been deeply roasted (to an espresso roast) and then 'super brewed' (as compared to traditional drip coffee)in the espresso maker. So if you are thinking that the quad shot Americano (espresso and water) you get to impress you buddies is some superdrink then just put on a dress and change you name to Sally. That is about as far removed from the 'manly' coffee my dad drank in the navy that you can get and still call it the same drink.

              I've heard this common misconception that espresso doesn't have very much caffeine repeatedly, even from those I would expect to know better. Can you point me to some supporting evidence that espresso isn't high in caffeine?

              According to the Coffee Faq [coffeefaq.com], a 7 oz serving of drip coffee has 115-175 mg of caffeine, while a 1.5-2 oz. shot of espresso has about 100 mg. So while drip coffee may indeed have more caffeine per serving than espresso (and that's if your "serving" is a single shot), espresso has dramatically more caffeine per volume.

              In fact, if we average the ranges given above, a 7 oz. serving of drip coffee has (115 + 175) / 2 = 145 mg, or (145/7) 21 mg per onuce.

              A 1.75 oz. shot espresso would have 100 mg, or (100 / 1.75 ) 57 mg per ounce.

              That means that, on average, espresso will have about three times as much caffeine per volume as drip coffee per volume.

              If you're in a hurry and want lots of caffeine, a quad-shot Americano would in fact be essentially straight caffeine: 1.75 oz X 4 = 7 oz. of espesso. That doesn't leave much room for the water, does it? And it'll pack a punch of 400 mg of caffeine.
            • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @09:04PM (#10423446)
              So if you are thinking that the quad shot Americano (espresso and water) you get to impress you buddies is some superdrink then just put on a dress and change you name to Sally.

              While it isn't as strong as a 4-cup equivalent of "normal" coffee, a quad-shot espresso still has enough caffeine to give you a decent buzz. (Yes, I have done the comparison :-)

              That is about as far removed from the 'manly' coffee my dad drank in the navy that you can get and still call it the same drink.

              Gah - "Navy coffee"! If this is the same stuff that one of my coworkers prepared and called Navy coffee - about 6 times the recommended amount of "Folgers" (or whatever cheapie instant equivalent was available), and allowed to boil down on the heating plate for 3-4 hours before consumption. (Apparently this "cooking" time was important to make sure that all of the essential coffee-flavoring oils were made rancid.) I guess you could call it manly - I called it a substitute wood stainer.

        • by admdrew (782761) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:42AM (#10419989) Homepage

          I think a big part of it is the amount people consume. I drink (on average) a few cans/bottles of coke a day, so I've become accustomed to the caffeine enough that it barely affects me. *Not* having it, however, ends up sucking.

          I have friends whose caffeine intake is minimal (if at all) in a normal day, so a single can of pop or a cup of coffee can keep them up for hours. It's all relative tolerance, like a lot of other drugs out there.

        • by Joe Tie. (567096) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:22PM (#10420661)
          I'd hazzard a guess that you're most likly just addicted to the point where you've built up a strong tolerence for it. Combined with the somewhat low amount of caffeine contained in soda, about 1/4 that of coffee. You'd have to go through around 8-16 500ml bottles within an hour of each other before getting what I'd consider a strongly psychoactive dose, and that'd be 'without' having much tollerence. Try two 200mg caffeine pills to see what people are talking about in regards to the stimulent effects.
        • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Squarepusher (730147)
          Naw, you're just thinking of the media portrayal. Have you ever smoked pot? Notice how overly exagerated the high is on TV and in the movies. Most of the time they make it appear as though the person were on an LSD trip rather than having smoked a bit of grass. If you haven't smoked it then just take my word for it I guess...

          The "hyper" effects of caffeine are more like an on edge jittery feeling. Probably some people are a lot more susceptable to it than others. I used to drink espresso's and have a few s

        • by TheLittleJetson (669035) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @04:10PM (#10421819)
          Yet often American sitcoms will refer to coffee in reference to making people hyper, to the point where you'd think that half an espresso is meant to send you crazy.

          I live in the states... I think the anti-drug message that has been beaten into peoples brains, makes them eager to feel effects of a drug. Mild mannered old ladies will still love to kid about how the anesthetic at the dentist made them feel. To anyone who has a decent first-hand understanding of how drugs work, it's not a big deal, but to someone with less experience, they might get a cup of coffee from starbucks and start on with their "I CAN HEAR COLORS" rant.

          Much of this same behavior can be observed in children. They'll take a sip of dad's beer or whatever, and start acting drunk.

          ...I hope that made sense. In any case, caffiene definately does have noticeable stimulant effects. I don't notice it from sodas. I do notice it from tea but it's very gradual. If you want to see what I'm talking about, cut off your intake for a few days, then drink a double shot of espresso straight. I still don't get hyper, but I definately get some stimulant effects... Can't sit still for long, feel wide eyed and awake, etc... About like a bump or two of coke would do. :-P
          • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:3, Informative)

            by PReDiToR (687141)
            Back in the 90s a friend of mine described one of his best legal highs, and it involved caffeine.

            He took a fortnight out from all caffeine, pop, coffee, tea, pro-plus and all the rest. He made sure that he was totally caffeine free for the whole 14 days, then at the end of it he popped two pro-plus (caffeine tablets) and washed them down with a litre can of Coke. He said it was better than amphetamine, and legal to boot.
            I should point out that we are UK residents, and having a cup of coffee is a 30 minut
      • by jE (33421) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:18PM (#10420228)
        No *slurp* that is not *slurp* true. It can't *slurp* be. I can *slurp* always stop if I *slurp* want to.

        Just *slurp* watch me.
    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:38AM (#10419569) Homepage Journal
      Wow, somebody didn't have his morning cup of coffee.... :P
    • by andreMA (643885) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:45AM (#10419614)
      The idea that the effects of drinking a cup of coffee could even be considered being classified as a "disease" is absolutely ludicrous
      That's not what they're considering doing. They're talking about the symptoms that some regualt users of caffeiene experience upon sudden cessation. DSM is for the most part merely despriptive of various sets of symptoms and circumstances, including things like "Bereavement" (V62.82).

      One can hardly claim that observing (and labelling) the fact that people are sad when a loved one dies is intended to absolve them of responsibility for their actions.

      • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bastian (66383) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:03AM (#10419719)
        Agreed. The real problem is that there are wacko shrinks out there who think that anything that shows up in the DSM must be treated. Such as the company shrink who made a member of my family take lithium to treat the bereavment she was still experiencing a week after her fiancee died in a car wreck. (true story)

        I don't want a stop to the research and classification of various mental states. I want the psychological/psychiatric community to sit down and create some real standards for treatment, including some strict ethics and punishments for their violation. If a physician started prescribing morphine for stubbed toes, he'd run the risk of losing his license (we'll worry about the chronic problem of prescribing antibiotics for viral illnesses later), he'd lose his license, while the shrink community hasn't even gotten around to saying "it's something we should maybe consider not doing, we think."

        Or worse yet, we still have Freudian analysts getting licensed and offering their "treatment." This would be like if the AMA licensed doctors who practised the purging of various bodily humors in order to restore their balance.
        • by maxpublic (450413) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @02:04PM (#10420963) Homepage
          You're ignoring the fact that the 'counseling' industry is a huge money-maker for the participating therapists. More mental disorders means more people who're convinced they need treatment means more money in the bank for the practitioners.

          The real beauty of the system is that many of these classifications are specious at best and often vague to the point of being useless. Even better there's little evidence to indicate that most forms of therapy are in any way effective at treating the problem (real or imagined), so you can treat patients for YEARS - and then blame it on the patient if the treatment doesn't work.

          There's a whole lot of snake oil on the counseling side of psychology, and no lack of salesment to sell it.

          Max
          • Re:Irresponsibility (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Then again, there are valid therapy treatments. Sure, there are probably lots of people who will convince patients to keep coming back for years without actually helping them, but your basic complaint applies equally well to the pharmacological industry and even some medical doctors.

            I have some personal experience here. A number of years ago, my wife made me go in for counseling because I was seriously depressed. Clinically, it turns out, and after participating in individual and group therapies for 6 or

      • by the_mad_poster (640772) * <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:22AM (#10419830) Homepage Journal

        Clarification: pop-sci-med idiots who gradutated from med school because they want to rake brittle people over the coals and steal their money will immediately lunge at the opportunity to begin counseling people for "caffieneism" or something. The drug companies will pop up with "drugs" that do absolutely nothing but claim they cure this "problem". There will be advertisements showing how horribly, horribly messed up the caffeine addict's life is and the little bouncing face will bound out into the daylight after dutifully downing the most recent discovery of Dow chemicals (yes, that alliteration was quite intentional).

        I think the only reason this hasn't happened for alcoholics is that the risk of being sued into the next millenium is to great when people realize the drugs don't do anything except cause new problems.

    • by TheLoneCabbage (323135) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:27AM (#10419882) Homepage

      What it does meen is I now have a legal basis for beating the cr@p out of the Starbucks clerk when he doesn't understand I just want plain black coffee.

      It's worse here in Israel, where the idea of coffee is synonymous with milk. Every time I go somewhere for coffee it's a 5 minuet ordeal, that I am not caffinated enough to deal with.

      "Caffe, Shovar, ein Chalav, ein sukar" (Translation: Coffee, black. No milk, no Sugar)

      "Espresso".

      "Lo Nescafe",(Trans: no instant.)

      "Ah Nescafe Latte" (Trans: Oh, you must be wrong, and want Instant coffee mixed with steamed milk)

      "LO! Nescafe, im maim cham. Ze Oh." (Trans: No you freaking moron. Put instant coffee in hot water, nothing else!)

      "Maim? oh Chalav?" (Trans: No one actually drinks coffee like that here. You want it with milk)

      "Look I'm a f@#$ing American. My hebrew sucks, and I know you speak 3 d@#$ languages so you can understand this. All I want is caffine in water. No milk, I'm lactose intolerant. No suggar I'm a diabetic. So unless you want me farting while I'm going through sugar shock on your floor, PUT INSTANT COFFEE IN HOT WATTER AND LET ME PAY YOU FOR IT!!"

      Ah... I feel better now.

      • by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:54PM (#10420898)
        Sorry to hear about your plight, but it could be worse...

        I live in "God's Country" (place your finger in the middle of the U.S. -- that's about where I am) and I have the opposite problem -- nobody has cream here.

        Now, I started drinking coffee in the Italian area of Boston. I can't stand not having cream in my coffee. And out here, I'm literally surrounded by cows, but everyone insists on putting this "Creamer" stuff in their coffee. Creamer can be left open, in a warm room, for months and not go bad. It's simply not from this earth.

        These fat slobs (some of the fattest in the nation!) would super-size their ASPIRIN if they had the chance, but "oh no, cream is too filling!" Gah!

        And naturally nobody has ever heard of SUGAR. No, it's all artificial, carcinogenic "sweeteners". Most of the people just drink Foldgers instant-coffee, anyway. Mixed to half-strength.

        If you're ever in the Mid-West, just remember that "coffee" means "slightly brown-tinted water with artifical sweeteners and fake milk."
      • by advance512 (730411) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @03:43PM (#10421632)
        That is a funny post, but you can't blame the sales person. :)

        Israel is a multi-cultural country made up of many different people or varying origins; we have the coffee cultures to prove it. Here are the main ones:

        1. The Eastern/Arabic coffee culture. Turkish/Greek coffee [wikipedia.org] mostly, which is what people here assume you mean when you say black coffee. It can be served with many different spices, and is probably the most popular coffee brew in Israel, mostly with the working class. The "Ma and Pap" (e.g. "Pitzutziot") and 7-11 style shops sell these, which are rarely found in corporate coffee chains. "American black coffee" [wikipedia.org] is simply instant or filter coffee, with no milk - which is something almost no one here drinks.
        2. The Italian coffee culture. It was actually introduced by corporate coffee chains similiar to Starbuck's (the local Aroma and Arcafe chains). The main drinks served there are the standard Espresso [wikipedia.org], Cappucino [wikipedia.org], and Latté [wikipedia.org]. A favourite with women is Iced Coffee [wikipedia.org]. These brews are mostly popular with the high-tech and academic crowds. An interesting fact is that the "Americano" [wikipedia.org] type of coffee isn't sold here, as far as I know. We have short (1:1 water to coffee ratio), long (2:1) and double (2:2) Espresso servings.
        3. American/Western coffee culture (instant coffee [wikipedia.org]). This is mostly popular here with people who like the weaker coffee types (and sometimes teens). It's the most accessible brew (primarily to small business who don't have coffee machines), but rarely found in the corporate coffee chains. Most offices in Israel offer instant coffee to the workers instead of the American filter coffee [wikipedia.org] (or drip brew) machine - which is next to non-existant in Israel. Like I said before - this is rarely drank in the style of "American black coffee". Usually it is served as "2 sugar, with milk".
        Oh, by the way, "Shovar" actually means voucher, not black. Next time try:

        "Ca-feh, Na-meh-s, bli khalav, bli sookar." (Translation: Coffee, instant. No milk, no sugar)

        Good luck and have a pleasant time in our insane little country :)

    • by joelhayhurst (655022) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:29AM (#10419896)
      mental illness
      n.
      Any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder.

      This is all a mental disorder is. It does not assign blame. Caffeine withdrawal exhibits certain predictable symptoms affecting the normal order of a person's mind, and as such it makes sense to classify it as what it is, a disorder. The word "disorder" just means things are mentally messed up; it does not imply the person was "born" with caffeine withdrawal or blameless for having this disorder, anymore than a psychopath is granted amnesty just because they have antisocial personality disorder.
      • by robochan (706488) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:15PM (#10420214) Homepage
        mental illness
        n.
        Any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors...


        So zits can now be considered a mental illness?
        • Apparently, getting your feelings hurt by a rude comment, leading to being laughed at by others....that's a mental illness. You see, it's a social factor causing an impairment of your normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning. Watching a tear-jerker....that's a mental illness. Did you stub your toe? Mental illness.

          Next time the definition of 'mental illness' is updated, don't be surprised if it looks like this:
          Mental illness: n.
          Anything.

          Eventually, no one will be held responsible for anything
    • Seriously... is there ANYONE in ANY part of this country anymore that just takes a little bit of responsibility for their own goddamn actions?

      Explaining and determining how you came to act in a particular way IS taking responsibility for your actions.

      I think the only disease involved in all this "you're not an irresponsible jackass, you just need medical help!" attitude is an acute affliction of stupid.

      You think it stupid that people examine and analyze situations instead of just belting out bold and

    • by El Puerco Loco (31491) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @02:40PM (#10421200)
      What is irresponsible is the way the popular press throws around terms like addiction. The article describes at best a minor physical dependency on caffeine which results in some unpleasant symptoms if it is suddenly withdrawn. One can demonstrate dependencies like this with a lot of things, including laxatives and decongestant nasal sprays. The picture of addiction that most people have in mind is one of the heroin user who has to steal to support his habit, or the crack user who sells her body on the street to support hers. The word addiction is derived from the Latin addictus. In Roman times a writ of addictus was a document bonding a person to servitude or slavery. Addiction has no precise scientific meaning and there is no classification of any disorder as addiction in the DSM, but if the word is to mean anything it should describe an extreme state that resembles enslavement to a substance. To conflate dependence on caffeine with addiction to heroin or cocaine is completely inaccurate and irresponsible.

      Drugs which are truly addictive are those which strongly affect the reward mechanisms in the brain, such as opiates, cocaine, and amphetamines. Of these, only the opiates produce a severe physical withdrawl syndrome. If overcoming the physical symptoms of withdrawl were the only problem, then we would have no heroin addicts. The solution would simply be to lock them away for a few weeks until the withdrawl sickness subsided, and after that they would have to be a fool to return to using the drug. Of course many addicts do return to using so there must be some other reason than preventing withdrawl symptoms.

      Truly addictive substances like cocaine and heroin affect the brain's reward mechanisms so strongly that they can subvert these mechanisms to the point where they can become not just a desire but a drive. At that point suggesting a person quit using the drug is like suggesting he stop eating or drinking or having sex. The body simply will not allow it. In fact the reward the brain receives from drug use is so strong that it tends to trump all other drives so that a person will worry more about where his next fix is coming from than his next meal. A person in this state really does have very little control over his actions. True, he had a choice of whether or not to use the drug in the first place, and he is responsible for that poor decision, but in a state of addiction, his body's needs are in control. That is why it makes sense to restrict the use of such substances; they do, in a very real sense, take away an individual's responsiblility for his actions.

      Animal studies show that animals will self-administer cocaine and heroin with enthusiasm. In fact they will do so to the exclusion of all other activities, including eating, drinking, and sex. When given the choice between cocaine and food, cocaine wins. They will stick with the cocaine lever until they starve. If allowed to, many will administer the drugs until the point of death. In contrast, it is difficult to get an animal to self-administer caffeine at all. Same goes for nicotine by the way. Animals do not even show a preference for caffeine laced sugar water over plain sugar water. Indeed, in double-blind studies, not many human subjects show a preference for caffeine over a placebo.

      The word addiction is primarily a political term. The negative image of crack and heroin addicts is so strongly ingrained in peoples' heads that any group seeking to discourage use of a substance can only help their cause by finding some evidence that it is "addictive", but such usage, when it describes only physical withdrawl symptoms, especially very minor ones like the caffeine studies show, completely misrepresents the facts. People keep drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes because they like to. Junkies and crackheads keep using because they have to. It's not the same thing.
  • So is alcohol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:39AM (#10419575)
    And cigarettes etc etc.

    Course the failed War on Drugs should be canned, all drugs should be legalised, taxed and the cash used for rehabilitation services.

    • Re:So is alcohol (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kick the Donkey (681009) <kickthedonkeyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:47AM (#10419626) Homepage Journal
      Course the failed War on Drugs should be canned, all drugs should be legalised, taxed and the cash used for rehabilitation services.

      Seriously... Think about this. Druggies have already proved they'll pay just about any price to feed their habit. So, if you leagalize it, you reduce the cost of getting the drugs here, and selling them (black market goes away...). So, lets say the markup on your tyipcal drug [lp.org] is 17,000% from the black market. What should the markup be if the drugs where legal? Lets just say 500%, for arguments sake.

      The government could charge a 100% tax on the profit, and the end user would only see a markup of about 1000% (17 times less than the current markup, for those who suck at math).

      So, the druggies win (cheaper drugs). And the government wins (more taxes, less money spent on the worthless drug war). And the tax payer wins, provided the shills we elect don't siphon off all these extra funds into some type of 'special account'...

      That, and I think people would be happier :D

    • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:09AM (#10419753)

      ...sorry, just had to say it. Prohibition funds organized crime of all sorts.

      • by Reziac (43301) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:21PM (#10420245) Homepage Journal
        I've long contended that the primary lobbyists behind anti-drug laws and the "war on drugs" are *the drug lords themselves* -- to keep prices artificially high through artificial scarcity, thus maintaining their lucrative revenue stream. (If there are terrorists funded by same, it's no doubt incidental, in that they just happen to be the handiest and cheapest source point for the raw materials.)

        This of course leads to increased local crime as junkies are forced to steal to support their habit, and gang wars as local dealers protect their turf.

        Legalise drugs, and these problems will largely go away. Plus the effects in society can then be handled the same way as alcohol problems (including application of DWI/DUI laws for the safety of others), without needlessly ruining lives, as prosecution for victimless crimes now often does.

        Furthermore, if legalized, regulated, and taxed in the same way cigarettes and alcohol are, that's a HUGE tax base just waiting to be used, that would not negatively impact anyone other than those who actually use the product. And it might slow the increases on other taxes (such as sales, income, and property taxes) that DO impact everyone.

        Not to mention the positive public health impacts: no more need to share dirty equipment, better quality control so fewer adverse reactions/side effects, etc.

        [/rant]
  • Is there anyway that I can mod this whole article up as obvious?
  • Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:40AM (#10419578) Homepage
    Can't wait for the study proving sugar is sweet.

    Hey, don't steal my dissertation ideas! Some of us have put a lot of thought into that.

  • by lxt (724570) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:40AM (#10419580) Journal
    ...the study was more about the addictive properties of caffeine, rather than coffee. This is actually quite useful, because caffeine is often combined with paracetemol in pain killers. People who use these painkillers as "lifestyle drugs" (and they do - just look at the proliferation of "pocket containers" for brand name pills") might want to read this research. For example, the article states "Griffiths and Juliano assessed the validity of 66 studies on caffeine withdrawal over many decades. Fifty percent of people had headaches, and 13 percent had clinically significant distress or impairment of function.". If you're taking pain killers with caffeine to relieve headaches, the pain could actually start to be caused by your addiction to the caffeine. Still, at least they're researching something :)
  • heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Illissius (694708) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:40AM (#10419581)
    Can't wait for the study proving sugar is sweet.
    And addictive!
    • Re:heh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by daijo78 (783312)
      It actually is VERY addictive. It beats almost anything else. Hence all the fat people.
      • No it isn't - what makes caffeine addictive, rather than dependency forming (like sweet foods used as an emotional crutch), is its withdrawl symptoms (which I thought were well known, and studied, but perhaps not...)
      • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:05PM (#10420150) Journal
        How did the parent post get a +4 for Insightful, anyway? I guess there are at least 5 of you out there who believe this B.S. statement.

        Seriously, sugar is hardly the problem with obesity in America. The problem is primarily one of poor eating habits, coupled with lack of exercise. (Not that anecdotes prove anything, but just to pull out one random example; I used to know a gal who was a strict vegetarian, and I *never* once saw her eat a piece of candy or "junk food" - yet she was overweight.)

        If you consume more calories than you use, you gain weight. It's really that simple. It doesn't matter if those calories come in the form of sugar or "healthy foods". If you're eating more than you're burning off - you'll eventually get fat.

        If sugary foods are contributing to the obesity problem, it's only in a more indirect way. (Snack foods tend to be "ready to eat" and conveniently packaged. When you can just grab it, unwrap it, and stuff it in your mouth - you're more likely to do so often, hence increasing your overall intake of calories.)
        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:33PM (#10420756) Homepage Journal

          Sugar is a serious part of the obesity problem in America. It's not the whole thing - our eating habits are the real problem. Regardless, sugar is a carbohydrate and when your body is functioning "normally" your body will store unused carbohydrates as fat, barring those which are expelled from the body as waste.

          Put simply, most americans have been relegated to eating prepackaged foods. Who makes their own spaghetti sauce any more, for example? I know several of you out there are jumping up and down in your chair saying "me! me! ima post and tell this fucker off!" but the fact is that you are statistically insignificant. But spaghetti sauce is loaded with excess sugar and so is just about everything else we eat. Even hot dogs tend to have a ton of sugar added to them - someone please explain to me why little fine-ground sausages need sugar.

          Well, actually, don't explain it, because I know the answer: they don't need sugar but focus groups, taste tests, and other forms of research have shown that we like to eat food with sugar added to it. So, the food industry in America (and other places) adds a grip of sugar to just about everything, including many foods that ordinarily wouldn't contain any.

          In short, everything you eat is sugary unless you make it yourself. This IS a serious problem and it IS totally unnecessary.

          The problem really goes beyond sugar though, which after all is just a carbohydrate. No matter how you feel about no- or low-carb diets like atkins (which is just a new name on an old diet, which can be referred to as a low-carb modified fast) the fact is that we eat too many carbohydrates. As early as the 1700s you can find literary examples with people making observations that people who eat a lot of starch are fatter on average than people who eat a lot of meat. You can find carbohydrate-based fillers in just about everything on the store shelves; anything that doesn't have carb-based fillers is probably primarily a carbohydrate to begin with, like bread. The USDA food pyramid, promoted by the NIH after several billion dollars were spent trying to prove that eating fat makes you fat and failing, yet promoted on the "strength" of a study which showed that taking drugs to reduce your cholesterol decreased your risk of heart disease, suggests that we eat more carbohydrates than anything else. This is not only totally unnecessary (your body can quite efficiently derive energy from fats, it just doesn't do it as quickly) but completely ridiculous and utterly unfounded.

          I don't know how you got a +4, Insightful for saying that sugar isn't a big problem, because it is. It's only a part of the problem, but the aggressive promotion of sugar-laden foods in the US is a big part of why we're fat. C&H sugar will happily tell you via a message printed on the packaging that SUGAR CONTAINS NO FAT. Well, whoop-de-do, it still makes you fat.

          Come down off your high horse, which is headed in the wrong direction anyway, and join the parade.

  • Just In (Score:3, Funny)

    by celeritas_2 (750289) <ranmyaku@gmail.com> on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:41AM (#10419585)
    A recent study shows that Calling Things Addictive and Evil is truely Addictive! Try to avoid sensational news stories at all costs else your head might rot and fall off.
  • I guess I need some more, I could have sworn I've seen this subject matter mentioned in a slashdot article no more than a few days ago...

    That would never happen! I must need more cafeine.

    P.S. My last thought before sleep last night was "yay!, when I wake up I get to drink some cofee", its something to look forwards to.
  • by datastalker (775227) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:44AM (#10419607) Homepage
    ...given that it has so much caffeine as well. I haven't had any soda in three and a half years, and I can tell you that it's still difficult not to drink it. Just smelling it really makes me want to drink some, so it definitely had an effect on me, regardless of whether that could be officially classified as addiction.
    • During college, I used to buy 7 2-liters a week, one for everyday. Often times I'd go out to lunch/dinner and have even more. Oh, and free refils at retaurants, so go do the math. After college I still drank way too much of it. Then I started noticing that I was tired all the time and didn't really want to do anything but mope around.

      A month ago I started drinking water...lots of water. Insted of 2-liters of soda a day, I started drinking 2 liters of spring water a day. It made me cringe at first, I h

  • by TheUncleBob (791234) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:44AM (#10419608) Homepage
    Perhaps starbucks should be careful they don't get added to the list, especially serving columbian blends !
  • Can't wait for the study proving sugar is sweet.

    That's just an old wives tale! Bah! Sugar isn't sweet... it's saccharine.
  • by pyite (140350) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:45AM (#10419612)
    "In other news, it has been found that eating food can be addictive. Studies show that some humans who start eating food shortly after they are born are unable to stop until their death."
  • War on (Score:3, Funny)

    by Camel Pilot (78781) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:45AM (#10419613) Homepage Journal
    Since we lost the war on drugs and are losing the war on obesity and are barely holding our ground on the war on terrorism maybe we could win the war on caffeine!
    • Re:War on (Score:5, Funny)

      by Twisted Grind (815318) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#10420665)
      Something tells me that if we started a war on caffeine, we'd have a whole new front in the war on terrorism to deal with. Millions of coffee-starved Americans calling themselves 'Al-Qafeen' would rage throughout our streets spreading chaos and discord...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:49AM (#10419643)
    I find that daily use of coffee completely prevents all side-effects of caffeine withdrawal. Give it a try and you will see.
  • The only reason I'm on slashdot now instead of doing some real work is I'm waiting for my first cup of coffee to kick in.
  • I'll RTFA right after I get another cup of fresh groud french roast costa rican, with half and half ... no sugar ...
  • O2! H20 is a distand second. Ban them now!
  • erg? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Flamesplash (469287)
    "Can't wait for the study proving sugar is sweet."

    So your statement is saying that you think this study is useless. Then why post it to the front page if you think it's useless?
  • by jsebrech (525647) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:56AM (#10419683)
    Honestly, who here didn't know caffeine is majorly addictive, just like sugar? Anything that gives you a "buzz" is majorly addictive. Most of the soft drinks sell not based on taste (other than tasting sweet they don't really offer much taste qualities), but based on how addicted people are to the buzz they get from drinking them. I know a lot of people with cola or coffee addictions, and those addictions are tolerated (or not even recognized) because a caffeine and sugar addiction tends to not obviously harm society.
  • Slurm! (Score:2, Funny)

    by xyloplax (607967)
    It's highly addictive!
  • I have yet to see anyone of authority seriously denounce the use of automobiles as the main form of transportation, as it's highly profitable to the steel, manufacturing and oil industries. It makes money, a lot money, and makes you and me work a lot extra for THEM - just to be able to get around.

    The fact that it's also by FAR the leading cause of death among young people worldwide, of depleting cities of sidewalks full of people and converting them to endless asphalt-covered semi-arid cultural deserts, m
  • by jmcmunn (307798) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @10:59AM (#10419700)
    I must be the exception to the rule. I drink coffe on average three times a week. And when I do, it is only one cup a day. It's when I get to work and realize I forgot my juice/water that I normally bring in to drink. For me, it is more about having something to sip on in the morning while I read the news, and settle in for the day. I can honestly say that no matter if I drink coffee for an entire month, I do not have "the need" to drink a cup on that next day. Water will do just fine.

    I can honestly say that even though it does clearly have an effect on me (I get a little jittery and feel way too high strung after a cuppa joe) I would bet that most people would only have "withdrawal symptoms" for a day at most. I'm guessing (very unscientifically) that for most people the need for coffee is a routine. Try switching to water or juice or even decaf coffee to see if you feel any different.

    I can see where someone who drinks a couple pots of coffee a day might get headaches or something if they just quit all at once, but this could be said for anything...sugar, caffeine, salty snacks, you name it. Your body is going to be used to dealing with anything you take in in excess. Once that excessive amount is gone, you will notice, at least for a little while. I'm not sure it's really groundbreaking news just because Johns Hopkins told us they found it out.

    I certainly don't think it needs to be entered into the DMS just yet, just because some people get a headache from too little/much caffeine. (yes it happens when you get too much too, at least for me) I know people will say it is like alcoholism, where it's the same kinds of symptoms and what not. But I don't think alcoholism is quite as bad as people make it out to be. (and before I go any farther, let me tell you that I do have two alcoholics in my close family) I think that even though some people may be more likely to develop alcoholism, the blame and responsibility still falls on them. Every person has the ability to stop doing destructive behavior. You just have to learn what your limits are and govern them youself....but that's another topic for another day.
  • by Baldrson (78598) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:01AM (#10419709) Homepage Journal
    I was a 6 cup a day coffee addict when I decided to start using creatine [clusty.com] for other reasons. In the directions they give you for creatine, they tell you to stop caffine intake. I'd never been able to stop caffine intake without withdrawl symptoms, but this time, loading creatine doses of 5 heaping teaspoons a day, I suffered no noticable withdraw.

    I'm now taking 1 heaping teaspoon of creatine a day and on those occasions I drink coffee at all it is about 1/2 to 1 cup early in the morning.

  • by shockwaverider (78582) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:17AM (#10419802)
    Spot the difference?

    "Coffee is really addictive" : Slashdot cover story

    "Coffee really is addictive" : Original article

    Who says Slashdot are really cut and paste merchants?
  • by erik_norgaard (692400) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @11:21AM (#10419817) Homepage
    It is amazing that there are people getting paid for stating the very obvious. I can't help thinking of Douglas Adams' theory that people need to state and repeat the very obvious or else their brain might start working.

    So, to the list:

    * High intake of any substance, exceeding some limit, will kill you.

    * Low intake of some substances will kill you.

    * It is generally not a good idea to be where the plane crashes.

    * You may die from other causes than planes crashing on you.

    * Nuclear weapons may be dangerous in the hands of kids (needs futher experimental confirmation).
  • Nitpick (Score:4, Informative)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:12PM (#10420196)
    What they've found is that there is caffeine withdrawl. This doesn't mean addiction, it means physical dependence. Addiction is more of psychological condition in which you can't stop doing something in the face of negative consequences, e.g. you'll give out blow jobs if that's what you have to do to get your fix. Someone else gave this link [hopkinsmedicine.org] to the actual study. It doesn't say addiction.
  • The last 5 times [at least!] which I've forgotten to have coffee in a day I've slept straight through at least one of my classes, and usually all of them. It doesn't even dawn upon me until much later where I find myself thinking
    'hey wait a minute, my coffee pot is empty, and wasn't filled!'

    Usually i have around a half a pot to a pot a day. I need around two cups just to get me up in the mornings to some level of coherency. All my recent screw ups I can pin the blame on me for not drinking enough coffee in whatever day they occur on. It kind of worries me, actually; It's becoming more of a 'I have to have coffee, or I will not function with even mediocre talent' rather than a 'with smore coffee I can do better, longer, faster!.'

    Which is of course, why I'll be into provigil as soon as I can get easy access to some.

    (anyways, I've written many a song on the vector-meme of coffee and caffeine addiction...although none of those have been finished off, you can find some here, from my attempted album ""past tense" [moonside.org] )
  • It's a drug baby ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hotspotbloc (767418) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:26PM (#10420289) Homepage Journal
    Description of Fed. Schedules [erowid.org]
    Schedule II

    Examples : Cocaine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Opium, Amphetamine, PCP
    The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
    The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
    Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

    Schedule II drugs may be prescribed with a written prescription from a licensed physician or nurse practitioner.

    So exactly what is keeping the DEA from making coffee a Schedule II drug? It has a high rate of recreational use.
  • Nifty Caffeine Hack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twisted Grind (815318) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @02:05PM (#10420971)
    Here's a nice little hack you can use to spice up your sleep!

    Right before going to sleep at night, take one or two caffeine pills. It's necessary you use pills, because the taste of familiar caffinated drinks and/or the sugars in these drinks will cause an immediate "peppy" reaction. The trick to this hack is to fall asleep before the chemicals kick in. Caffeine takes about 30-60 minutes to take effect depending on the person, so you want to be in a situation where you can fall as quickly as possible.

    If you do this correctly, what'll end up happening is that the caffeine will cause a state of hyperactivity while you're still asleep! What ends up occuring is an extremely deep, relaxing sleep, while producing intensly vivid dreams. Try it!

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @04:59PM (#10422170) Homepage Journal
    I can quit anytime I want. No, really!

    I did actually kick the habit for several months a while back. The first two weeks are murder (headaches, can't keep your eyes open in the afternoon, etc) but once you get done with withdrawl it's pretty nice. Then one day I needed to stay up late for something and I was back on. I stopped smoking far easier than stopping caffiene.

    Some mental health professional I talked to a while back told me that one of the best signs of caffiene addiction that he's seen was Mountain Dew consumpsion. At the time I was drinking a fair bit of that stuff, and I was a bit startled that a lot of people in late night jobs also did. I stopped drinking soft drinks shortly thereafter. I want my daily caffiene quota to come from nice, wholesome coffee! (Heh heh heh)

    If you're watching your intake, Excedrin and BC Headache Powder both contain caffiene, by the way. Make sure you check the active ingredients on the stuff you're using take the edge off those caffiene-withdrawl headaches. They make be taking the edge off very well due to having the stuff that you're trying to get away from.

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