• Mon, Nov 19 2012

I Hope They Ban All Energy Drinks Forever

 

Earlier today, Jennifer talked about her disgusting addiction to Zero Calorie Monster and begged the government not to take it away from her. I’m now going to tell you why the government should not give her what she wants.

Just to be clear, my political identity leans most closely to “libertarian communist” nowadays (with a willingness to entertain European-style social democrat compromises), and I don’t think the government should have the power to make any drugs illegal. But if we must have an all-powerful federal government with the power to make certain things illegal, they might as well be consistent about it.

Five Hour Energy is drugs. There’s no way around it. The Mormons were right! Different drugs affect different people in different ways, it’s true, but when I used Five Hour Energy at my old job, it was like all the bad parts of being on coke (chattering, tooth grinding, feeling fucked up in a bad way) but with none of the good parts (euphoria, feeling like a really good dancer). It helped me stay awake, but I felt odd as hell. Also, I turned red. Like, bright red. (I’m told this is from all the b-vitamins and niacin.)

Another time, 20-year-old me decided to try cocaine for the first time at a party on the Lower East Side. I also drank several Redbull and vodkas. (I know.) The next morning, I thought I was going to die. The next time I went out, I didn’t do cocaine, but I still drank Redbull and vodka. Guess what? I had the exact same hangover the next day. It wasn’t the coke. It wasn’t the coke at all. And adderall, a legal drug favored by many of my peers, makes me feel like I’m on the verge of tears and grind my teeth like there’s no tomorrow. I do get work done, though.

I’m not saying cocaine is good for you (duh, it is bad for you), only that energy drinks are also bad, and the line between “bad enough to be illegal” and “not too bad” is fuzzier than you think. And there are plenty of other illegal drugs that are indisputably better for you than energy drinks. Consumption of Five Hour Energy was cited in 13 deaths last year. How many people died from smoking weed or eating psylocybin mushrooms? ZERO. Zero people died from those things.

While it would be easy to view this legal/illegal distinction as arbitrary, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the drugs people use for unproductive activities like looking at lava lamps and having vision quests in the woods are illegal, while the drugs that help bosses wring every last drop of productivity out of their workers are legal. Not to get too political on you in a health post, but that’s the basis for any capitalist society. If there were no caffeine, bosses would not be able to make people work overtime, get up super early, etc. without running into diminishing returns. I don’t want to sound like a total conspiracy theorist, but I have a tough time believing the government demonized and persecuted the drugs of the 1960s counter-culture because it cared about the hippies doing them; people were getting on some spiritual, or just plain disobedient shit, and starting to develop an alternative system of values, and Nixon and friends realized they needed to nip that in the bud before it got out of hand.

Do I want Jennifer to start throwing cars at people? Heavens no. But if I got to decide which drugs were illegal, I’d make weed and psychedelics the most legal, and then sit back and watch the fabric of modern society crumble. Why? Because I love freedom. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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  • stevetacitus

    “Libertarian communist” is an oxymoron.

  • Somnilee

    I agree with you! I’m a European lefty (though I favour government intervention) and don’t take drugs at all. It can’t be denied that there are drugs which are legal that cause more damage than illegal drugs, especially when you consider when a lot of the damages caused by illegal drugs stem from what is essentiall their illegality and lack of quality control.
    In college I used to have friends who’d drink gallons of Monster and it made them wrecks! My friend Sam used to have one every day despite the fact it made him bounce and shake, and this was a guy who never even touched cigarettes – it was disturbing to watch.

    • Amy

      Here’s a radical idea: don’t drink gallons of the stuff. In all the deaths that come from caffeine drinks, the dead person was either abusing the stuff to crazy levels, or had pre-existing organ conditions that meant it was their bodies that killed them, not the caffeine.

      If you know that energy drinks have bad effects on you, don’t drink them. If you’re drinking them just to function normally, get help. What doesn’t make any sense is to ban them. Most drugs are illegal because a healthy person can take them once and drop dead (heroin, crack, ecstasy), or because they incite long term addiction which leads to crime as they struggle to fund their addiction (hardly a problem for a £1 a can Monster, available from all supermarkets). It’s the same reason I support cannabis being legal: I don’t believe it’s harmless, but it doesn’t have the potential to kill you on the spot (pre-existing conditions notwithstanding), doesn’t generally lead to the same kind of desperate addiction as heroin or coke can, and if you get bad effects from it, you should man up and stop using it.

    • jamiepeck

      Actually, the lethal dose of mdma (the main ingredient in ecstasy) is anywhere from 20 to 40 times the recreational dose. Most ecstasy-related deaths occur because it was cut with something toxic, which would not be a problem if it was legal.

  • Paisley

    Can I just pick a name? I hope so. Certainly won’t register here.

    Nor shall I bother with a lengthy piece of well-informed and well-researched knowledge-droppings that will serve you no purpose because you will skim over them (vaguely as I did with this article, after accidentally (need to find out who did this to me) stumbling into an earlier one)

    I will just say that I should’ve expected very, dull(?), writing on a website called “thegloss”. But I certainly never expected to find what I have most certainly found.

    The degree to which, an internet-magazine, (which has likely never printed a real magazine in it’s history) would stoop to get me to talk on this website, is almost so baffling that it nears complexity again.

    Drugs! Put them in your pipe and smoke them! I must stop for a breath. The humor and wit in that last bit nearly made fall of my chair laughing.

    To your credit I will say I followed your thoughts on how drugs like Marijuana came to be prohibited in the first place. But that you took coke once and felt sick when you had Redbull and then did it the next day minus the coke so the coke isn’t at fault so we should legalize all drugs and everyone would work on the honor system-

    is kind of stupid.

    Then again I really shouldn’t have expected to get more out of this website than the space this window filled on my desktop.

    I’ll bet it wouldn’t take me 2 minutes to find some, I don’t know, just blatantly uninformed, artificial, surface discussion about how Ellen Page is probably a lesbian and she just happens to be playing one in a movie at some point or something-

    oh wait

  • Mike

    I can’t drink those either, screws me up in a bad way. if you wanna do a drug, smoke a joint, hell of alot better for you than that stuff ;)