Kip Facilitates Removal of Energy Drinks from Den

As part of Andover’s efforts to become healthier, the school has halted the sale of AMP energy drinks that were once available in the Den. Aggie Kip, School Nutritionist, said, “I have seen kids at Isham with caffeine overdoses, they say it feels like their hearts are going to burst out of their chests. I asked the people at Commons and the administration to remove energy drinks from the Den, and I will take the heat for it for because energy drinks are unhealthy and dangerous.” According to Dr. Richard Keller, School Physician, the side effects of caffeine overdose include anxiety, stomach cramps, elevated blood pressure, dangerous heart rhythm disturbances, and seizures. Paul Murphy, Dean of Students and Residential Life, said, “Our message about caffeine is clear, there is no Coke, Pepsi or energy drinks served to students in the dining hall.” Kip said that the FDA does not regulate many caffeine enhancers in the energy drinks and sodas, causing them to be even more hazardous. “Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, and I can’t in good conscience ignore it because it is so dangerous,” said Kip. However, Andover will not ban caffeinated substances, as they are so common. Murphy said, “As caffeine pills and energy drinks are easily accessible to anyone at a local drug store, we don’t get into unenforceable rules.” “I think that kids should answer the question for themselves of how much caffeine do I really need, versus how much do I want,” added Murphy. Many students at Andover drink caffeinated beverages to stave off sleep exhaustion. According to Keller, “Caffeine does not help students think clearer because it only temporarily masks the effects of sleep deprivation.” Caffeine is readily available to any student at Commons via coffee, espresso, tea, and soda. Keller said, “Caffeine is a drug, it is very addicting and caffeine users will go through a withdrawal phase when they halt caffeine consumption.” According to Keller, “Caffeine withdrawal consists of bad headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, depression and irritability, which usually causes the user to consume more caffeine in order to feel better.” Many students are dependent on caffeine in their daily routine. Asia Bradlee ’12 said, “Without my one or two cups of coffee in the morning I can’t get through Spanish class with out falling asleep.” Kristina Rex ’11 expressed a similar dependency. “Without my tea in the morning I don’t know what I would do,” she said. Murphy said, “I would love to see students educate themselves about the positives and negatives of caffeine use so that they know about what they are putting in their bodies.” Caffeine falls under the same category of drugs as cocaine, methamphetamines and ADD medication and has a profound rebound exhaustion that is often worse then the fatigue previously felt before ingesting caffeine. Kip said, “The best way to get energy is to note what foods give you energy and to eat those foods. Good time management and planning ahead are key to avoid sleep deprivation.”