Caffeine buzzes in the lives of the youth


By Schuyler Yager, Op-Ed Editor

Caffeine has found its way into the hearts of students through coffee, soda, and energy drinks. Most people use caffeine to take the sleep out of their eyes, and students are no exception.

“Locker” employee, senior Julia Harris said, “about seven out of ten customers buy coffee,” she also added. “I need it during the day.”

If one has ever been to the Starbucks before school it can be seen it is almost as crowded with students as the front parking lot. It is easy to see how much people around Rangeview use Caffeine.

A study done by the University of Delaware found that, “In 2010, the majority of Americans, 69%, said they consume caffeine in moderation.” This study also claimed many positive effects such as mood elevation, higher metabolism, “improvements with alertness, concentration, decision-making, problem solving, and neuromuscular coordination.” That seems like it would help many students using it before and during school. However, the study also reports negative effects such as withdrawal and addiction.

Time Magazine reports that, “90% of Americans who are currently addicted started smoking, drinking or using drugs before age 18.” The University of Delaware study states “(Caffeine) acts as a central nervous system stimulant drug, having many pharmacological properties.” So that means that teenagers are more at risk to becoming addicted to the drug that is caffeine. Are teens more at risk for other negative affects like withdrawal?

Harris also said, “caffeine keeps me awake, but if I don’t have it I have some mood changes.”

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation cited a Yale study and wrote “drug addiction is a developmental disorder, one that affects adolescents in particular. The reason: Areas of a teenager’s brain that control impulsive behavior are not fully formed, while brain circuits that reinforce drug use are already in high gear.” The article later adds “we can no longer afford to dismiss teenage drug experiments as harmless rites of passage. Even a single incident of alcohol or other drug use can have implications for a lifetime.”

The National Center for Biotechnology Information posted a study online comparing Caffeine to Nicotine and Alcohol. They reported that “56% of caffeine users were found to be dependent” while “90% of Nicotine users were found to be dependent” So Caffeine is less addictive than other drugs, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect teens.

Senior Jazmyn Smith said, “People use it all the time to help them study faster, but if they don’t have it they can’t get work done.”

This is the withdrawal doing what it does best. Withdrawal is physical and mental symptoms that occur after stopping or reducing intake of a drug. When you don’t have caffeine after using it for a while you feel sluggish and moody.

“I have at least one cup of coffee in the morning every day and sometimes a second in the afternoon to get through the day,” said Mrs. Baker. “I see many kids drinking coffee and energy drinks, especially in the morning. I can see students lose their focus easier, sometimes I can even tell in their work. Students are just all over the place when they have too much caffeine”
It may reflect in students work but it also gets you through the day, caffeine helps students without much downside. Keep in mind the negative effects that do exist though, the withdrawal or even mild addiction.