Volume 95, Issue 55

Thursday, January 10, 2002
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The Gazette's ultimate guide to addictions

Smoking - what a drag

Mmmm... Coffeeeee

Don't gamble away your life savings

I love Magnum P.I.

Don't get too pumped

Marajuana is not addictive

The myth of the bottomless mug

New Year's resolutions

Mmmm... Coffeeeee

It is the life-blood of society, the fuel that drives the modern machine.

Without the sweet assortment of liquid products it provides, the fabric of the universe could very well be torn apart at the seams. What is the magical addictive substance in question?

Caffeine, of course.

Richard Garlick, director of communications at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, said most studies analyzing the potential negative effects of coffee have been inconclusive.

New high-caffeine energy drinks, such as Red Bull or Rev - that are often combined with alcohol in rave and club culture - have been a growing concern, he explained.

"They combine a central nervous system stimulant with a central nervous system depressant," he explained, noting the combination has been linked to a number of recent deaths.

"A large portion of North America and people around the world are addicted to caffeine. If they stop [their caffeine intake], they often grow irritable and can suffer severe headaches," he said. "If everyone gave up caffeine on the same day, it would be very scary."

Garlick said drugs such as caffeine play an important role in our culture. "We have incorporated certain drugs into our culture to help us achieve better productivity. These drugs are the grease of our economy and they allow our society to function [at a rapid pace]."

-Chris Lackner

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