The Newest “Drug” You Shouldn’t be Afraid Of


Written by: Simone Blais

Apparently coffee is now a legitimate addiction. The term “Wake up and smell the coffee,” might soon be replaced with “Wake up and drink the narcotic!” The media and government seem to be creating more and more awareness about our nation’s coffee dependency.

If this can be called an addiction, it is perhaps the most common one around. Coffee drinking is deeply embedded and extremely prominent in Canadian culture. Even if Canadians are not actually feeding the addiction, going to a café if often referred to as, “going for a cup of coffee.” Not to mention that millions start their morning every day with the classic cup of Jo. Recently however, it has made the news as a nation-wide addiction.

It is true that those who drink a cup or two every day might find it hard to stop. They might even experience symptoms of withdrawal if they try. Common symptoms include nausea, dizziness, headaches and irritability. But despite these symptoms and the dependency many have, coffee drinking cannot be labeled an addiction. And I believe, saying so  undermines the seriousness of actual addiction.

What we have here is a dependency, not an addiction. Because in reality, nobody is stealing his or her mother’s jewelry for coffee money. Nobody resorts to prostitution or illegal activities in order to get their next fix.

Of course, I do recognize that there are a select few who take coffee drinking to the extreme. I do not recommend drinking ten cups a day because…it’s probably not healthy Then again, I don’t think ingesting ten cups of anything (except water) per day is healthy. And while caffeine might stunt a kid’s growth a bit, there are far worse things than being short, and far worse things they could be spending their money on. Like drugs, which are actually addictive. So if thirteen year olds are drinking venti iced mochas, let it be.

Tim Hortons’ new “bucket-sized” cup caused great distress for many Canadians. But these large sizes are only proportional to the growing sizes of almost all big chain food-sellers. If there is an actual underlying problem here, I’d say that it’s Canada’s consumption in general. And if people want to get up in arms about the size of Starbucks’ Venti sized cup, I’ll defend the coffee and point out that most of these cups are half filled with sugar and cream. Drinking half a cup of creamy sugar is probably a larger health concern than its coffee counterpart.

It’s time to dial down the panic about the dangers of coffee and quit calling it an addiction. However, if you are that ten-cups-a-day guy, it might be wise to talk to someone about that. But then again, you’ll probably go talk to a friend about it, over a hot fresh cup of you-know-what.


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