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Local News Reports High School Banning Coffee Products

Local legislation in Maine town has banned coffee from the premises of their high school. This was prompted by educators becoming increasingly aware of students leaving class to get their “Dunkin Fix” from the in-school store. This seems to be a common issue in American high schools as coffee consumption for teenagers has risen 14% nationally between 2014–2017 (NCA).

Once Superintendent of Schools in a Maine district, John Moorey, was alerted of this problem, he decided to take matters in his own hands. “I had our lunch-ladies pull data and personal record on how many students consume more than one cup a day” said Moorey, “I wanted to see the spread of how common our students are missing parts of class and how many cups they had in a day.”* Although, he admits, this is not a perfect scientific study, he found about 40% students were usual coffee drinkers drinking about 3 cups a day, and missing around 10 minutes of class time each day. 10 minutes a day each day results in major impacts on learning.

Yet the concern about missing class time is not what ultimately drove Moorey to propose the banning of coffee. Upon hearing of Moorey’s study, biology teacher Sam Barrett, emailed Moorey a study on the effects of adolescent caffeine consumption. This study looked at caffeine effects on cocaine sensitivity in rats.

Other studies have correlated young adult caffeine drinking with substance abuse and risky-behaviors, but this study identified a possible mechanism on how this correlation functions. Through changing levels of proteins and communicating molecules (neurotransmitters like dopamine) in the brain adolescent caffeine changes the way we react to cocaine. This was seen by an increase in cocaine-induced movement and the rewarding effects. Additionally, the study found a decrease in normal levels of dopamine with more release of dopamine in response to cocaine in adolescents exposed to caffeine. It is important to note that this study found these behavioral and neurobiological differences to be significant in adolescents but not in adults (O'Neill).

In response, Moorey held a town meeting in which Mr. Barrett spoke to members of the community and parents:

“Our kids are drinking way more coffee than we ever did. Think back to when we were kids, we all experimented with all sorts of things. This research shows us that our kids drinking caffeine this early creates changes that can cause some correlation with substance-use disorders if they decide to experiment with drugs.”*

Mr. Barrett and Mr. Moorey seemed to appeal to the community and parents. At the subsequent meeting, the vote was nearly unanimous to ban coffee from school premises. Superintendent Moorey recounts,

“While this doesn’t control what our kids are doing and trying outside of school, we are trying to protect them as much as we can inside this school system. We are starting with coffee and hopefully will transition to other caffeinated products.”*

Media From:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924091323.htm https://www.businessinsider.com/dunkin-donuts-is-still-using-styrofoam-cups-2016-9/?r=nordic

Other media taken from Adobe Spark

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Created with images by Tyler Nix - "untitled image" • stevepb - "apothecary pharmacy chemist" • Antenna - "untitled image"

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