Coffee: The New Gateway Drug

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Another gem from CASA's new study of drug use by girls and young women:

The report reveals that caffeine is a little known risk factor. Girls and young women who drink coffee are significantly likelier than girls and young women who do not to be smokers (23.2 percent vs. 5.1 percent) and drink alcohol (69.8 percent vs. 29.5 percent).

In other words, coffee is a "gateway drug," just like tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. CASA keeps mindlessly repeating numbers like these, without pausing to reflect on what they might signify. The implication is that the pharmacological effects of Drug A somehow drive the user to try Drug B. But there are more straightforward explanations for these relative probabilities. People who like caffeine, for instance, are more apt than people who don't to like other stimulants, such as nicotine. People who shun even a mild, "transparent" drug such as caffeine are not likely to enjoy drinking.

More to the point, people who work at CASA are not likely to let common sense or intellectual honesty interfere with an attention-grabbing conclusion. You can see where this is heading: Coffee leads to cigarettes and beer, which lead to pot, which leads to cocaine and heroin. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump from sipping a cappuccino to dying in an alley with a needle in your arm. Starbucks has a lot to answer for.

NEXT: CASA's Vulnerable Findings

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  1. Back in the sixties, from what I remember of it, a faux serious paper was published linking mother’s milk to heroin use. There was close to a 1:1 ratio. Incontrovertible evidence.

  2. And of course if it leads to pot, it leads to terrorism.

  3. I envision a new series of DEA commercials…

    Scene: Mrs. Olsen in here kitchen, sipping a steaming cup of Folgers.

    Mrs. Olsen: “Today, I helped some terrorists destroy a hospital.”

  4. And there was that very special epsiode of “Saved By The Bell” where Jessie ended up addicted to No-Doze!

    1. Yeah. I remember that one. “I’m so excited, I’m so exicted….I’m so SCARED!” They even made a T-shirt with that famous quote.

  5. I believe it is possible to become addicted to caffeine, and I also believe that caffeine is not the healthiest thing in the world to put into one’s body. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying the government should outlaw caffeine, and clearly CASA’s claim that caffeine is a “gateway” drug of any sort is ludicrous at best. I’m simply saying that I know some people who would be well-advised from a health standpoint to voluntarily scale back their caffeine intake.

  6. Caffeine is as much a gateway drug as marijuana or anything else anyone claims. The idea of a drug directly leading to use of another drug is ludicrous. This study about caffeine simply proves that point. Anyone who has ever used heroin started off by drinking water! Anyone who is addicted to cocaine began by breathing oxygen!
    Lets just let the DEA outlaw everything and be done with it.

  7. I am sure natural endorphins, which give the famed “runner’s high” will be made illegal next. The DEA will begin screening joggers at random for their prsence. People will be arrested for being mobile drug labs.

    If it makes you feel good, it is dangerous and probably illegal. Happiness of any kind will not be tolerated; it just leads to the desire for more and stronger happiness.

  8. Everyone knows that milk is the ultimate gateway drug. After all, 100 per cent of people who have taken drugs have also drank at least one glass of milk.

  9. Brad S,
    It’s funny that you should write:

    “I know some people who would be well-advised from a health standpoint to voluntarily scale back their caffeine intake”

    because I was just thinking that I know tons of people who, from a health standpoint, should cut out tons of shit they do to themsleves.

    Great minds think alike, eh?

    The Hamburglar
    V.P. Marketing
    The McDonalds Corporation

  10. ” Coffee leads to cigarettes and beer, which lead to pot, which leads to cocaine and heroin. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from sipping a cappuccino to dying in an alley with a needle in your arm. ”

    As a matter of FACT this is the exact process we were abusively conditioned to embrace during internment at America’s Drug War Concentration Camps- Straight Inc.

    Does Sembler or DFAF have any connection to CASA? Sure Sounds like it.

    We were prohibited from drinking soda with caf. or coffee etc. In fact we were even led to believe that sugar was a gateway drug, and that we could easily end up dead with a needle in our arms, rotting in an alley- if we began to use sugar, or any other ‘substance’ as a way to feel good.

    Funny how AA is a hotbed of ciggerette and coffee abusers huh?

  11. Cheerios made me a crack ho.

  12. I am surprised that no one has mentioned the once-ballyhooed salsa addiction:

    http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2002-08-23/food_feature4.html

    Not to be confused with this salsa addiction:

    http://www.dance-addiction.com/s-a.htm

    Either one is of course a gateway to trouble.

  13. To Eric, who mentioned the “dance addiction” web link: dude, don’t give AshKKKroft any ideas. I hear that he actually does consider dancing a sin.

    1. Yeah, he called it the “devil’s palsy” or something like that. LOL!

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