Tag Archives: Alcohol

Starbucks Adding Alcohol to Evening Menu

Popular coffee chain Starbucks is expanding its evening menu with bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine. The rollout of new products to almost all of Starbucks’ thousands of locations will take several years, according to Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead.

“We’ve tested it long enough in enough markets – this is a program that works,” Alstead said. “As we bring the evening program to stores, there’s a meaningful increase in sales during that time of the day.”

The addition of wine to its stock is part of a campaign to increase the chain’s market value to $100 billion, a plan that includes more non-coffee items such as alcohol, juice, food, and an app that will allow customers to order ahead from their smartphones for pickup.

Starbucks first sold alcohol in October 2010 at a Seattle location and expanded the program to Chicago, Atlanta, and Southern California in 2012.

The new evening menu is in about 40 locations now, but won’t be expanding to all of its stores. The company has seen the menu succeed in urban areas where people are out at night, said Alstead, and the menu’s availability will follow suit.

Starbucks has over 20,100 locations worldwide, with 11,500 stores in the United States.

What is Alcohol Tolerance?

What is alcohol tolerance  — and how quickly does it change?

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, many revelers are already busily coordinating their green outfits and drinking plans. But there’s a difference between enjoying one green beer (or perhaps something similarly festive but a little bit healthier) and losing all control. St. Patrick’s Day undeniably owns one of the top spots on any list of the drunkest holidays — and tolerance (or lack there of) may never be so publicly on display.

So why can some people handle their liquor better than others? First, it’s important to define what, exactly, tolerance is. There are two ways of thinking about it, says George F. Koob, Ph.D., the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Developing tolerance to alcohol — or any drug — means it takes more of that drug to produce the same effect — or, looked at another way, the same amount of the drug produces less of an effect.

Some people are born with the ability to go round for round, showing minimal effects. A growing body of research from the University of California, San Diego among families with history of alcoholism has pinpointed low-sensitivity to alcohol in some people, or what Koob calls inherent tolerance. “These are basically individuals who drink everybody under the table and they’re born that way,” he says. “It’s an intriguing neurobiological question as to why, but it still remains somewhat of a mystery.” Ironically, this low-sensitivity actually seems to make someone more likely to become an alcoholic, he says.

But other people simply become more tolerant as they drink more. “In effect, to me, tolerance is the brain adapting to the drug,” says Koob. There are different pathways by which the brain adapts, but the end result is that more alcohol is required to feel the same buzz.

There’s likely a Pavlovian-esque learning response involved, he says. The brain learns the effects of alcohol and triggers a response to counter those effects. Then, the next time you throw a few back, your brain has already learned how to react. When we drink, our brains are constantly working to return our bodies to baseline. “When you remove the alcohol, that system is exposed as being overactive,” says Koob. “That’s what we call withdrawal.”

On a day-to-day basis, you might have a different name for that withdrawal: hangover. What’s called acute tolerance can develop over just a few hours, says Koob. Take your average picnic, he says. One beer might make you feel relaxed and sociable, but the third or fourth beer out on the lawn has much less noticeable of an effect. Technically, that’s a form of tolerance building throughout the afternoon, he says. The more you drink at that picnic, the greater tolerance you develop — and the worse you can expect to feel the next day.

Among people who are dependent on alcohol, adaptations can also take place elsewhere in the body, says Koob. Drinking a lot may cause liver enzymes that break down alcohol to become more active. “An alcoholic person could metabolize perhaps twice as fast and twice as much in a given amount of time as a non-alcoholic,” he says.

The exact rate of building or decreasing your tolerance will vary greatly depending on how much you’ve been drinking and for how long, but you’ll likely lose your tolerance at the same speed you gained it. A period of time spent teetotalling “will reverse a lot of the tolerance but not all of it,” says Koob. That’s because those pathways in the brain that adapted to the effects of alcohol show traces that changes have occurred forever. Pick up the bottle again and they’re reactivated much more quickly. It’s similar to riding a bike: Hopping back on after a hiatus takes a little re-learning when it comes to steering and balance, but it’s infinitely easier than learning that first time. “The system is forever changed,” says Koob. “Your response is not quite the same ever again.”

Nick Carter Opens Up On His Addiction

‘I had my first drink at age two’: Nick Carter opens up on downward spiral which led to  alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs addiction.

He struggled with addiction for years and now Nick Carter has revealed his troubles began at the tender age of two. In his new autobiography, the Backstreet Boys singer opens up about his parents’ dependence on alcohol which he believes led to his addiction first to drinking and later drugs including cocaine, Ecstasy, and prescription painkillers.

In new excerpts from the tome, titled Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It, obtained by RadarOnline, Nick recounts a story which saw him trying alcohol for the first time when he was still crawling at the bar below his parents’ apartment.

‘Family legend has it that when I was two years old, I crawled into one of the Yankee Rebel’s liquor storage rooms where I was caught drinking for the first time,’ he recounts. ‘My parents always laughed at that. I laughed too, for a while, and then I didn’t laugh at it anymore.’

Nick claims his mother and father also drank heavily, which he believes was caused by money worries and says he started drinking himself when he was still a teenager.

He explains: ‘My parents …always stressed about money, which is another reason they turned to alcohol so much.

‘I began drinking heavily in my teens and then moved on to drugs at eighteen or nineteen, starting with marijuana and moving up to cocaine, Ecstasy, and prescription painkillers among other substances.’

Nick’s drinking got so bad that he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart and he eventually realised he had to change his ways.

‘I drank, did drugs, and partied until I was paralyzed and passed out [after the diagnosis],’ he reveals. ‘I woke up in a hotel room with my head pounding so hard I couldn’t focus my eyes. … My heart was pounding so loud, I thought someone was at the door. I decided my body was trying to get me to pay attention one last time. … It was change or die.’

While Nick admits he still slips up when it comes to alcohol, he is happier and healthier than ever and looking forward to tying the know with his fiancee Lauren Kitt.

He says, ‘I’m not perfect now. I still slip up when it comes to drinking. But I’m alive and great things have happened for me in the last few years.’

Nick has previously partially blamed ex-girlfriend Paris Hilton for his wild ways, saying the party-loving socialite, whom he dated from 2003 – 2004, was a bad influence. ‘Paris was the worst person in the world for me to hook up with,’ he writes in the memoir. He alleges that the former reality star, who was famously arrested for cocaine possession in 2010, ‘fed my worst impulses as far as partying.’

Nick says that during the time he was dating Paris, things got so bad that it ‘could’ve ended in tragedy’.

He also lifts the lid on the extent to which he indulged, revealing that some nights he would drink an entire bottle of vodka. ‘…during the height of my problems, I did Ecstasy, cocaine and drank a large bottle of vodka a night,’ he reveals. The pop star says he mostly regrets doing Ecstasy, and believes that it was the amphetamine that caused the bouts of depression he now suffers from.

‘The amount I did caused changes to my brain that are responsible for my bouts of depression now,’ he writes.

According to published reports, two of Nick’s siblings have also endured battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

His brother Aaron Carter entered rehab in 2011 for ’emotional and spiritual issues’ but it was  reported by E! News that he was seeking treatment for addiction issues.

Meanwhile their sister Leslie tragically passed away at age 25 in January 2012, reportedly after a suspected prescription drug overdose.