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11/26/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: Nov. 26, 2014

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By Shawn Dwyer

celebrities

11/25/14 7:30pm

Lady Gaga Credits Elton John With Curbing Her Pot Addiction

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Lady Gaga has been open about dealing with a pot addiction that took over her life for two years, but recently admitted that Elton John helped her kick the habit, for the most part.

The singer, who is the godmother to John’s son Elijah, told radio station Z100 that John flatly told her that she was smoking too much pot. At her worst, she was smoking up to 20 joints per day. Gaga has long been a weed aficionado and even infamously smoked a joint on stage during a performance in Amsterdam, but her use increased as she smoked more to manage a hip injury during her Born This Way Ball tour.

"He got me on the straight and narrow. He was telling me: 'Gaga, you're smoking too much.' He saved me," she said. "I was living on a totally other psychedelic plane, numbing myself completely, and looking back, I do see now that some of it had to do with my hip pain...I didn't know where the pain was coming from so I was just in a lot of pain and very depressed all the time and not really sure why."

Gaga underwent hip surgery in February 2013, but still smoked regularly afterwards. She blamed the pressure from both the media and herself to produce quality music with contributing to her addiction.

"I do put that pressure on myself; I have to be high to be creative. That's an error in my life that happened for over 10 years,” she said. “I think there is an assumption that I cannot break."

She ultimately kicked her habit in the summer of 2013 through a bizarre retreat in upstate New York with performance artist Marina Abramovic. In addition to nude yoga sessions, she was sent into the woods blindfolded to help find her “way home.”

However, the unusual trip seems to have done some good. Although she acknowledged having an occasional joint, Gaga said she is now the “soberest” she’s been in years. “Can I be brilliant without it?” she asked. “I know that I can be and I have to be because I want to live, and I want my fans to want to live."

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By McCarton Ackerman

bad to worse?

11/25/14 5:30pm

Bill Cosby Accused of Leaking Daughter’s Drug Abuse

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According to a report on Page Six, comedian and television star Bill Cosby purposefully leaked a story about his daughter’s battle with drugs in 1989 in order to take the spotlight off his alleged womanizing.

An unidentified reporter from the National Enquirer recently contacted Cosby about a 25-year-old allegation that he and Sammy Davis Jr. were “swingers.” But instead of providing a comment about the topic at hand, Cosby told the reporter about his daughter’s drug and alcohol abuse, saying, “Deep down inside, she knows we love her."

But this isn’t the first time Cosby has been in the news lately. He repeatedly made headlines last month as multiple women stepped forward with claims of physical and sexual abuse. One of the accusers, supermodel Janice Dickinson, alleged Cosby gave her a pill that knocked her out; when she woke up, Cosby was on top of her.

Cosby’s lawyer, Martin Singer, says the allegations are fabricated. “The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” said Singer.

As he has throughout recent events, Cosby refuses to comment on the matters.

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By Brent McCluskey

naloxone

11/25/14 3:30pm

WHO Wants Expanded Access to Naloxone to Fight Overdoses

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In an effort to stem the tide of deaths each year from opioid overdose, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines to increase access to naloxone, the opioid antagonist that has become a life-saving tool in preventing overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drugs across the globe.

According to the WHO, greater access to the generic drug can potentially save more than 20,000 lives per year in the United States alone; naloxone has been credited with saving more than 10,000 lives from overdose between 2006 and 2010.

Currently, many state and local police agencies, as well as hospital, first response and emergency care workers have access to the drug, but the WHO guidelines recommend that countries give individuals more access to naloxone, especially family members and friends of opioid users. “If opioids are easily available in people’s bathroom cabinets, it might make sense for naloxone to be equally available,” said WHO expert Nicolas Clark.

Access to the drug varies among countries: Scotland was the first country to introduce a national program to provide the drug, and saw a significant reduction in opioid deaths among recently released prisoners between 2006 and 2013. In the United States, access to naloxone for peer groups has gained support, but remains in restricted access in many states due to laws that do not protect medical providers from liability.

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By Paul Gaita

lsd

11/25/14 1:00pm

LSD Can Permanently Stop 'End-of-Life' Anxiety in Terminally Ill Patients

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In the first controlled study in more than 40 years, Swiss researchers administered LSD-assisted psychotherapy to patients with life-threatening illnesses and end-of-life anxiety. While those who received a low dose of LSD did not show improvements in anxiety levels, those who received a full dose of 200 micrograms saw marked improvements.

In follow-up interviews 12 months after completing LSD-assisted psychotherapy, the research team observed the drug’s sustained effects, including lasting psychological changes. None of the participants reported lasting adverse reactions. Instead, their subjective experiences “suggest facilitated access to emotions, confrontation of previously unknown anxieties, worries, and intense emotional peak experiences” that led to a “restructuring” of the person’s emotional trust, habits, and world view.

“Participants consistently reported insightful, cathartic and interpersonal experiences, accompanied by a reduction in anxiety and a rise in quality of life,” study author and physician Peter Gasser wrote.

The researchers concluded that LSD, administered in a medically-supervised, psychotherapeutic setting, can be safe and produce lasting benefits in people with a terminal illness.

“Quality of life changed extremely insofar as I became calmer, that I take things easier,” wrote one study participant. “It makes a difference if I look upon death with stress or with equanimity. I believe that this is an enormous difference in quality of life. That I don’t have to cry every night like in the first months. Instead, I laugh…”

Early research of the drug, first synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938, explored its potential for treating anxiety and other mental illnesses. However, LSD research lost momentum after 1966, when the drug was banned in the United States.

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By Victoria Kim

cocaine

11/25/14 10:30am

Can Coffee Reduce Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

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A new study published in the Journal of Caffeine Research claims that coffee could help reduce the symptoms of cocaine addiction and could be particularly helpful for women.

Researchers for the project noted that caffeine can serve as a neuroprotective block against some of the brain changes associated with drug use. They also discovered that while cocaine shifts the menstrual cycle and creates high levels of oestrogen, which can spark susceptibility to cocaine abuse and addiction, caffeine actually blocks these changes.

Cocaine triggers the release of the “happy hormone” in the brain known as dopamine, but caffeine stimulates adenosine receptors in the brain that regulate dopamine levels. Using vaginal smears from rats before and after they took cocaine and caffeine, the findings showed that while cocaine induced random changes in the animals’ menstrual cycle, these changes did not take place if the rats were given caffeine 30 minutes after cocaine use.

Patricia A. Broderick, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research and lead author of the study, called the findings “cutting-edge work that has never been shown before. It is critical knowledge relevant to women's reproductive health.”

However, some scientists have argued that coffee is actually similar to cocaine in that regular use can produce a strong dependency. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported last year that emergency room visits attributed to energy drinks more than doubled from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011. UK native John Jackson actually died from a caffeine overdose in October 2013 after reportedly eating over 300 Hero Instant Energy Mints, or about triple the amount of caffeine considered to be safe.

Some beverages even skip caffeine and go straight for the cocaine. Coca leaf tea has been consumed in many South American countries for thousands of years, but also includes a small amount of cocaine that is enough to act as a stimulant similar to caffeine. Locals also say it provides a less “jittery” effect than caffeine.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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