- Mayor of Monticello, NY arrested for DWI, goes on epic rant [The Daily News]
- Chicago considers updating its cigarette ban to include e-smokes [Chicago Sun Times]
- South Korean actress Park Si-yeon jailed for abusing propofol [South China Morning Post]
- Another Seahawk grounded: Cornerback Brandon Browner faces one year suspension for violating NFL drug policy [The Seattle Times]
- Buffalo man busted for crack cocaine possession while en route to drug court [The Buffalo News]
- Arizona woman's death caused by severe alcohol poisoning [CBS 5]
- New Jersey man arrested, charged for receiving FedEx package containing LSD [The Star-Ledger]
- Husband broadcasts drunk naked wife over Playstation [The New York Post]
With more than 46 million users every month, Candy Crush Saga has become one of Facebook’s most popular – and addictive – social media games of all time, surpassing former champ FarmVille and rivaling the runaway hit Angry Birds.
Over 500 million installations across Facebook, Android, and iOS have been reported since its launch back in April 2012. That would mean 1 in every 23 Facebook users play the game. Manufactured by the Stockholm-based company, King, estimates have concluded that revenues top $875,000 per day – an astonishing number given the fact that Candy Crush is free. But players wanting to gain extra lives or advance to deeper levels have gladly forked over hundreds and even thousands of dollars, while some even reported that they ignored friends and family or can think of nothing else but playing. And that's all thanks to a simple, even ingenious compulsion loop design that combines easy access, random rewards, and a never-ending stack of levels.
But is Candy Crush or any other social media game truly an addiction like drugs or alcohol? According to Sudhir Kale, a professor at Bond University and gaming expert, they are. “The brain starts secreting dopamine, the same when someone’s doing cocaine or recreational drugs. The effect is the same.” But he was quick to point out that only a small number of people actually become addicted to games like Candy Crush. “That does not happen to every person,” he added. “Not everyone who gambles is a problem gambler, only one per cent is pathological.”
While tobacco use among middle and high school students has been trending down, teenagers are now getting their nicotine fix through alternative means more than ever before.
According to findings by public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall tobacco use among teenagers is on the decline. But at the same time, they smoked more tobacco through electronic cigarettes, hookahs, and even candy-flavored cigars in 2012 than in the previous year. The data from the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed a dip of almost one percentage point – from 7.5% to 6.7% of middle schoolers and 24.3% to 23.3% of high school students – in overall tobacco use. However, hookah use rose from 4.1% to 5.4%, while e-cigarettes also gained ground from 1.5% to 2.8%. The CDC attributed the rise to lower prices and wider availability of such products, as well as a growing perception – especially with electronic cigs – that such products are safer to use.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate E-cigarettes and cigars, but plans to expand its authority, a move applauded by Susan Liss, executive director for the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "These findings show why it is urgent that the FDA move forward with plans to regulate all tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes."
Chalk up another positive benefit of resveratrol: the natural compound found in colored vegetables and grapes might be used to combat powerful cravings for methamphetamine.
Already hailed for its potential to prevent cancer, extend life, and even prevent skin aging, resveratrol may now help stop cravings for highly addictive drugs. A study conducted by Dennis Miller, associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences, and other researchers at the University of Missouri, found that resveratrol may help regulate dopamine levels in the brain. "Dopamine is critical to the development of methamphetamine addiction - the transition from using a drug because one likes or enjoys it to using the drug because one craves or compulsively uses it," Miller said. When someone uses methamphetamine, their dopamine levels go through the roof and continued use degenerates dopamine neurons to the point of causing neurological and even behavioral impairments that actually mimic the same behaviors in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Miller and his fellow researchers followed already established methods for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s research by giving human-level amounts of resveratrol to rats for seven days. Afterwards, they gave the rats methamphetamine and found that the resveratrol greatly reduced the amount of dopamine in their brains. "Resveratrol has been shown to regulate these dopamine neurons and to be protective in Parkinson's disease, a disorder where dopamine neurons degenerate; therefore, we sought to determine if resveratrol could affect methamphetamine-induced changes in the brain," Miller said.
The findings were reported last month in the journal Neuroscience Letters.
Chloe Lattanzi, the only daughter of famed girl-next-door Olivia Newton-John and actor Matt Lattanzi, has recently opened up about her past addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as her struggles with eating disorders.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Lattanzi spoke about her personal battles in detail for the first time after seeking treatment last year following a meltdown brought about by mixing alcohol and pain medications. “I was so out of it during that time that I don’t even remember waking up most mornings," she said. “I had blackouts. I would stay up on three-day-long binges without ever going to sleep. Days and weeks started to blend together.” Lattanzi frequently spent nights out partying with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, washing down $100 worth of cocaine a day with a bottle of vodka.
Lattanzi's problems began at 15 years old, when she started to suffer from anorexia as a means of controlling her anxiety. After her mother sent her off to treatment three years later, she managed to overcome her eating disorders, only to transfer her coping mechanisms to drugs and alcohol. “Fame totally messes you up. I don’t blame my mother for my problems, but I would never want to be famous or raise a child of my own around the cult of celebrity. It ruins lives.” Now she feels a bit more sympathetic to the Lohans and Richies of the world, who have struggled publicly with their addictions, but is also thankful at having begun the long, hard road to recovery.
On the heels of a proposed ordinance criminalizing the mere scent of marijuana, Denver’s city council has given preliminary approval to allow residents to smoke pot on their own property.
The new proposal came after a public outcry erupted over a much stricter ordinance that would have made the smell of marijuana a crime punishable with a fine of $999 or one year in jail. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock threw his weight behind that measure, telling The Denver Post "Marijuana is one of those elements that can be quite pervasive and invasive. I shouldn't have to smell your activities from your backyard.”
But public outcry over the initial proposal led to the change. Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd decried the ordinance as an attempt to nullify Amendment 64, Colorado’s ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to legalize pot after passing in 2012. "The most glaring part of it," she said in an interview with Denver Westword, "is that consumption on private premises was going to be so tight as to basically exclude being able to smoke in your backyard…or even inside your home.” Backers of Amendment 64 went further and called the strict proposal unconstitutional.
Final passage of the new ordinance is expected in early December, while retail marijuana shops are gearing up to open business on January 1st.