The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Hooked: It drains your wallet, time and health, and it’s legal

photo illustration by Windee Dawson
photo illustration by Windee Dawson


I can’t. The judge ordered I go to AA

Patrick Simmons | Staff Writer
[email protected]

What causes unwanted pregnancies, car accidents every year, fights among friends, gets people fired from their jobs, a husband to beat his wife, and so much more?

It’s alcoholism.

The definition of alcoholism is “habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms.”

“The rule of thumb is that if your drinking is getting in the way of your relationships [or] your appointments, then you’ve got problems,” says psychology professor Maria Regalado.

City College student Phillip Lopez is currently taking alcohol education classes after being arrested twice for driving under the influence. He started off as a social drinker during his junior year at C.K McClatchy High School.

“Coming to a new school, I was like, ‘everyone else is doing it, I might as well try to blend in,’” Lopez says.

But soon after he graduated, he moved beyond social drinking.

“I used to wake up thinking about it, man let’s go grab some beers, and people would look at me like damn it isn’t even 12, and I’d say, ‘it doesn’t matter.’”

After his second DUI, Phillip was forced to get his priorities back in order. He says the alcohol education classes have been helping a lot.

“The main thing I learned is to plan ahead. If you know you’re going somewhere and you’re going to be drinking, just plan ahead, because once you’re drunk, you’re not thinking about, ‘Oh I’m drunk, I’m going to need a ride.’”

On the weekends a lot of college students binge drink, defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as drinking enough to bring your blood alcohol level above 0.8 percent, usually five drinks in two hours for men or four for women.

One effect of binge drinking is the loss of R.E.M sleep.

“One of the purposes of our R.E.M sleep is that we consolidate information while we’re sleeping, we store memories of learning that occurred during the day, so if you binge drink it blocks that consolidation from taking place.” Regalado says.

Binge drinking is detrimental to the learning process, but that is often the least of the damage it does.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States during 2006, 13,470 deaths occurred as a result of alcohol-related car accidents. This amount was approximately 32 percent of all traffic fatalities, amounting to one alcohol-related death every 39 minutes.

According to, every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 college students develop alcohol-related health problems and 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related injuries, including car accidents.

When it comes to drinking, it can be fun, and to a point it’s socially acceptable, but we just have to remember where to draw the line so we don’t end up like Amy Winehouse: in need of rehab.

photo illustration by Windee Dawson
photo illustration by Windee Dawson

WIRED (Figuratively)

Hey man, you’re shaking a lot

Ben Hoemann | Staff Writer
[email protected]

Caffeine consumption seems to be at an all-time high in modern American culture. According to the Coffee Research Institute, in 2000, 54 percent of the American population was drinking coffee daily; that’s just coffee. Beyond the myriad coffee varieties available on every street corner, there is a galaxy of energy drinks, espresso shots, sodas and good old fashioned caffeine pills like NoDoz and Vivarin. Americans can’t get enough of this legal stimulant, and City College students are not immune to this trend.

In addition to the regular soda machines, City College has nine special machines that deal exclusively in energy drinks.
Former City College student and Starbucks employee Teig Belson-Hekkala was no stranger to copious amounts of caffeine to keep up with her busy work and school schedules.

“I would have to get up at four in the morning to go to work before school,” says Belson-Hekkala. “I would drink a Rockstar before I went to work and then make myself a drink with a lot of espresso once I got there. It was so easy to drink a lot of coffee, being around it all day, plus I had an employee discount.”

She estimates that while she was working and in school, she consumed at least five to six 16 ounce coffee drinks at Starbucks a day, on top of at least one Rockstar. If she paid retail for all her coffee she would have spent anywhere from $20 to $40 a day.
Most beverages at Starbucks cost between $3 and $5. Drinking one a day would cost almost $2,000 a year at Starbucks alone.
“It’s what I had to do to keep up with my schedule,” says Belson-Hekkala. “I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I had to be awake and focused for work and school; I couldn’t have done it without caffeine.”

Another student, Austin Cunningham, views caffeine differently.

levitra wholesale It is necessary for the medicine to be taken care of as in the end it is going to happen. Altered expression of genes involved viagra ordination in inflammation and apoptosis in frontal cortex in major depression. If used within 90 days, 176-191 peptide can be considered stable at room temperature. view these guys viagra purchase Tell them that it will lessen the signs and symptoms mirror the actions from the hooked family levitra 60 mg member. “I was just sitting there studying then it felt like my heart was pounding out of my chest,” says Cunningham. “I knew something was wrong so I got in my car and tried to get to the hospital as fast as I could.

When he arrived, medical personnel slowed his heart rate and informed him that he has a heart condition that makes him incredibly sensitive to any stimulant.

“I’m lucky that I [made it], and that I found out about my condition, so I wouldn’t accidently do something worse and die someday. I do miss drinking coffee though,” he laughed.

Whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, stay-awake pills, or soda, caffeine is part of our culture. It seems to be an integral cog in the great machine of education, the fuel that keeps it going through early mornings and late nights, cram sessions, homework, finals, and hectic work schedules. But be careful, it can adversely affect your health and wallet.

photo illustration by Windee Dawson
photo illustration by Windee Dawson

WIRED (Literally)

I sold my mage on Ebay for $600

Jessica Kelly | Staff Writer
[email protected]

A sinister king walks through a thick blizzard onto the middle of a frozen lake. He draws his mighty sword, which glows a vibrant blue, and drives it into the ice below.

The ice erupts and a monstrous dragon emerges- battered, hollow and gleaming blue. The dragon flies over a great army and its glow is illuminated brighter and brighter as it sucks the life out of the men underneath.

This sounds like a preview to a new fantasy movie, but it’s the latest feature of the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), “World of Warcraft” (WoW). It has more than eight million players worldwide, and the numbers grow by the day.

According to the game’s official website, the game, “allows players to play the game … whether it be a few hours here or there or entire weeks at a time.” But how much time playing is too much? Excessive WoW is a problem that interferes with many players’ daily lives.

City College student, Phillip Torrez-Greene, 21, admits that he has lost some friends to WoW and was himself engulfed in the game at one time.

Torrez-Greene began playing in the second semester of his senior year of high school. He says he enjoyed having something that he could do with his friends.

“I had a lot of fun playing with them,” he says. “I have no hobbies; I don’t watch TV or read books.”

Unfortunately, the time he spent playing WoW grew into an addiction.

“The first semester of my senior year I had a 3.5 G.P.A. and was taking two A.P. courses. My second semester, my G.P.A. was a 2.9.”

Luckily for Torrez-Greene, his addiction subsided on its own.

“I pretty much played through a majority of what the game had to offer.”

Torrez-Greene still plays around three hours a week, which is substantially less than some of his fellow gamers. One of his friends plays seven hours every day.

“The only way to talk to him is to play [WoW].”

Not everyone who plays WoW considers themselves addicted. Steven Holmes, another City College student, believes it is all relative.

“You have to define addict,” says Holmes, who believes that video games are a different kind of addiction.

“If you’re addicted to cocaine, you suffer physical withdrawals,” he continues. “Video game addiction is like being addicted to T.V., you’re addicted because you don’t have anything better to do.”

Holmes believes that MMORPGs are only regarded as addictive if they inhibit a person’s social interaction. He finds that WoW never inhibited his interactions, but instead was a medium for his socialization.

Although for some the game is addictive, at City College, playing WoW is permitted with reasonable limitations. According to Sandy Warmington, City College Reference Coordinator, many students play WoW in the library on Fridays between 2 and 5 p.m.

“Students should have some place on campus for recreational computer use,” says Warmington. “However, academic computer use is the first priority.”

Because of the problems arising with video game addiction, certain countries established boundaries on playing time.

According to Sage Brennan’s article, “Online Gaming Restriction Erased,” originally published in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 15, 2006, China’s General Administration of Press and Publications proposed a new “fatigue system” to battle video game addiction. Certain games will automatically shut off after three consecutive hours of playing.

Although this seems like a breakthrough in ending addiction to gaming, it is only applied to people under 18. Since the average age of players is 24, it won’t affect most players’ lifestyles.

WoW is an online game that has sucked many people into a lifestyle that isolates them from anyone not playing the game. Even though actions are taken to prevent addiction, in the end, it is up to the individual to choose which life to invest in, real life or cyber life.

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