Growing up, I would always come into the living room to sit with my parents and every morning they would greet me with a sip of their coffee. Twelve years later, I took my first sip and after a little bit of time getting over the bitter taste, I fell in love with coffee. The taste, the smell and especially the way made me wake up and feel like I was ready to attack the day. From then on, throughout high school and into college, I would start every single day with at least one cup of coffee and would often finish 3 or 4 cups before the days end.
Now my story is the same as many of the students that I go to school with now and adolescents around the country; so many people drink it, but even more consume caffeine in other ways. The beauty of caffeine is that it wakes you up and gets you going with no side effects (besides getting a little tired when it wears off). But, what if there were side effects? What if those side effects included an increased sensitivity to cocaine? And what if those side effects strictly affected adolescents? Would people still be as accepting of caffeine? Recently, it was discovered the pathways that are associated with rewards – whether it be food, drugs or sex – overlap with each other and the pathways that govern how caffeine is processed, also overlap with the reward pathways.