Johnny Depp made it a point to not break his sobriety during his breakup from longtime partner Vanessa Paradis, the actor tells Rolling Stone. Depp, 50, split from the French singer in June 2012 after 14 years and two children together. But he says he is no longer turning to booze to cope with trauma. "In terms of the breakup, I definitely wasn't going to rely on the drink to ease things or cushion the blow or cushion the situation 'cause that could have been fatal," he says, "I felt it was my duty to be real clear throughout that. I had something pretty serious to focus on, really, which was making sure that my kids were gonna be cool." Depp said that not drinking has allowed him to both handle his breakup more appropriately and also be a present father in the midst of the split. "The kids are the most complicated," he says, "you can't shield them, because then you'd be lying. So you can at least be honest with your kids, and you say the absolute truth to your child." Sobriety hasn't always been easy for the actor, who admitted to falling off the wagon while shooting The Rum Diary in 2011, despite making a pact with director Bruce Robinson to not drink during filming. "We lasted until it was about four in the morning, about 3,000% humidity and about 500 million degrees Fahrenheit and we saw this little corner 'bodega' store and I said, 'Bruce, I've got to do it'," Depp told The Sun. "We ran in, pounded three Coronas and that was the end of sobriety." He was later caught on video falling down drunk as onlookers shouted "Rum Diary! Rum Diary!"
- Moderate Drinking During Pregnancy May Not Harm Baby's Neurodevelopment [CBS]
- Addiction Doesn't Discriminate, But Arrests Do [Phoenix House]
- US Adult Smoking Rate Drops to 18% [ABC]
- The Unlikely Force Driving Teen Prescription Drug Addiction: Parents? [Huffington Post]
- 2 Correction Officers Accused Of Smuggling Drugs Into Rikers Island [CBS New York]
- Ex-UFC Cage Fighter Jailed for 'Batman and Robin' Heroin Plot [Click]
- Miley Cyrus Talks Drugs and Alcohol [Rolling Stone]
Vodka, rum, Scotch whisky, gin and tequila are the world's most imbibed spirits. And The Economist has compiled a handy series of graphs to show who's getting drunk on what, where. During 2012, the world drank 4.44 billion liters of vodka, 1.47 billion liters of rum, 860 million liters of Scotch, 440 million liters of gin and 230 million liters of tequila. The United States seems to hit the bottle pretty hard—coming in second in total (though not per-capita) consumption of the first four of these spirits. And more tequila is consumed in the US than any other country, even beating out Mexico, where the agave-based spirit was born—although Mexicans still drink comfortably more of it per person: .63 liters in 2012. You may not have heard that gin is hugely popular in the Philippines, where the average person drinks more of it than anywhere else on this list. Meanwhile, the French turn out to be big Scotch drinkers. But you'll be less surprised to hear that per-capita rum consumption in Cuba is ahead of the pack, at 4.9 liters per person in 2012. And you probably already knew that the world's top consumer of vodka is Russia—Russians drank vodka at a staggering average rate of 13.9 liters per citizen in 2012, accounting for not far off half of total global consumption. Despite its massive alcohol market, China is notably missing from these charts, because its national liquor, baijiu, accounts for 99.5% of sales there. Click the graph below to see the bigger picture:
Those who swear by coffee in the morning may not be getting as much of a caffeine "perk" as they think. New research shows that the morning ritual could be a mild form of drug dependency and that the feeling of boosted energy could be the body fighting caffeine withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and mental fogginess. A key study involved a group of 300 volunteers—half who identified as moderate to high caffeine drinkers, while the other half had a low caffeine intake. They were then split into two random groups and given either a placebo or coffee. While the regular coffee drinkers showed an increased alertness after the coffee intake, they were no more alert than the non-coffee drinkers who had the placebo. "People who consume caffeine regularly will become dependent on it. If you take caffeine away from them, they will function below par," says Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at Bristol University and a leading caffeine expert. "They just don't function normally without the drug on board. If it's your first tea or coffee of the day, it gets you back to normal, but beyond that you don't get much more of a kick."
Caffeine stops a brain chemical known as adenosine from having an effect, which leads to caffeine withdrawal effects after a few hours. Rogers says this is due to caffeine narrowing blood vessels in the brain, which leads to an increase in blood flow and triggers a headache once it's no longer consumed. Another study by Rogers involving 300 volunteers found that while coffee will keep users awake, it doesn't do anything to improve their alertness or reaction time. A paper by Jack James, professor of psychology at Reykjavik University, even argued that regular caffeine intake is responsible for 14% of premature deaths to coronary heart disease and 20% of premature deaths due to stroke. However, coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, while a study by Harvard researchers last year suggested that moderate coffee intake (four cups per day) reduced the risk of heart failure.
A Ukraine parliament budget hearing was disrupted earlier today when a deputy finance minister was accused of being drunk. After Anatoly Myarkovsky's presentation of the government's 2012 budget performance, deputies from Ukraine's "rowdy opposition" interrupted a Q&A session calling out: "He's drunk." And another shouted: "Anyone within five meters can tell he reeks like someone who has been drinking vodka. Mr Speaker, go and sniff yourself." Speaker Volodymyr Rybak declined, saying it was not his responsibility to check on the behavior of officials or deputies. But he suspended the budget hearing to determine whether or not Myarkovsky was intoxicated. By this time, the accused "drunk" had reportedly left the chamber, and was absent when the hearing resumed several hours later. Finance Minister Yuri Kolobov told deputies that Myarkovsky was in the hospital undergoing medical examination. A deputy from the ruling Regions party said the claims were false. "There wasn't any smell of alcohol coming from the deputy minister," Volodymyr Makeyenko told reporters, "I have known him for 20 years and he's a responsible person. These allegations are just an attempt by the opposition to undermine (parliamentary) proceedings." Ukraine's parliament chamber is known to house a range of antics, which have in the past included egg hurling, punching, bloody faces, torn suits, and deputies carried out on stretchers.
A missing brain enzyme could be responsible for painkiller addiction, according to a new study. With prescription drug abuse reaching epidemic levels, researchers at the University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles examined why some people are more vulnerable to opioid addiction than others. Opioids are produced naturally in the body, but addiction occurs when synthetic opioids—found in heroin and prescription medications like morphine and codeine—alter brain chemical balance. The researchers used mice and eliminated an enzyme called prohormone convertase 2 (PC2)—which converts pre-hormonal substances into active hormones in certain parts of the brain. Past research by the same team found that PC2 levels increase after long-term morphine treatment. “This raises the possibility that PC2-derived peptides may be involved in some of the addiction parameters related to morphine," says Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD, chairman of the internal medicine department at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. After knocking out the PC2 enzyme in mice, Friedman and his team analyzed the effects of morphine on the brain. Their results show that concentrations of MOR—the mu opioid receptor that morphine normally binds to—were higher in mice lacking PC2. "In this study, we found that PC2 knockout mice have higher levels of MOR in brain regions related to drug addiction," Friedman says. "We conclude that PC2 regulates endogenous opioids involved in the addiction response and in its absence, up-regulation of MOR expression occurs in key brain areas related to drug addiction." The researchers see these results as promising, and are expected to conduct more studies of this nature in the near future.