When someone says they have an addiction, most aren’t talking about cocaine or heroin. Most people are referring to shopping, chocolate, or caffeine. Can teens become addicted and what starts them on their path to addiction. The average child takes their first drink at 10, and has their first cigarette at 13. However, there could be something that leads to your child’s addiction and you may be giving it to them.
As parents we want the best for our children but something as simple as buying your child a soda, a coffee, or a red bull could actually be priming your child for addiction. Yes caffeine may just be the gateway drug that everyone thought marijuana was. There were recent reports of alcoholic energy drinks and the danger that surrounds them. Many states have begun to ban these types of energy but their counterpart’s plain ole red bull and monster energy drinks may be leading your child down the path to alcohol abuse and dependence.
Time Magazine published a study done by the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, where they conducted a four year study involving drinking habits of alcohol and energy drinks. When they looked at the consumption of energy drinks they found those that had a heavy consumption of energy drinks also had a heavy consumption of alcohol and met the criteria in the DSM for alcohol dependence.
New York’s senior senator Charles Schumer urged the NYS Liquor Authority in November to ban thesale of the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko. The drink packs the power of several beers and a tall cup of Starbucks coffee in a single 23.5 ounce can. The makers of Four Loko and NYS reached an agreement and the FDA has ruled that caffeine cannot be added to alcoholic beverages.
According to Kathleen Miller a researcher at UB more research needs to be done on the link between energy drinks and the increase in risk taking behaviors including drinking alcoholic beverages. Miller says “For parents and college officials, frequent energy drink consumption may be a red flag or warning sign for identifying a young person at higher risk for health-compromising behavior.”
While research is being done, right here at the University at Buffalo and elsewhere, it is important to be vigilant and not allow heavy consumption of energy drinks given the possible link to alcohohlism and addiction.
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