Americans are already subjected to enough conflicting health advice without hearing bogus claims that caffeine is an addictive drug [“Grown-Up Beverage Now a Staple Among Teenagers,” Bonnie Shnayerson, New York, October 21, 2004].

I experience baseball “withdrawal” symptoms every October, but post-World-Series-Disorder shouldn’t be a recognized medical condition. Besides, a well-regarded 1999 study in the journal Pharmacological Review demonstrated that one to three cups of coffee a day has no effect on the part of the brain responsible for addiction.

Roland Griffiths, the researcher responsible for this latest assault on common sense, isn’t exactly a reliable source. The director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has already rebutted his claim that caffeine is a “psychoactive drug.” And Mr. Griffiths’s earlier caffeine “addiction” study involved just seven human subjects – including himself and a family member.

Mr. Griffiths’s conclusion brings to mind the silly image of cash-strapped coffee addicts robbing convenience stores to get their next latte “fix.” If the definition of addiction continues to be stretched to its breaking point, it won’t be long before our children need prescription drugs to break their peanut-butter-sandwich “habits.”