Wes Scantlin, the oft-arrested lead singer and guitarist for the post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd, will once again find himself wearing steel bracelets after a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest last Friday.
Scantlin was scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles court on Thursday, December 12th, in connection with his 2012 arrest for possession of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to felony drug possession, while the judge agreed to delay his conviction for 18 months in exchange for Scantlin being ordered to enroll in a drug treatment program. The most recent court date was to inform the judge about his treatment progress. Celebrity gossip site TMZ caught up with Scantlin later that day and asked whether or not such a warrant was issued. The singer responded with a terse, “No,” and subsequently joked about being vigorously questioned, asking TMZ’s cameraman “Does it look like I’m cuffed?”
Over the years, Scantlin has made more headlines for his arrests than he has with his music. He was arrested in 2004 for disorderly conduct while intoxicated in Toronto after forcing his bandmates off stage and berating the crowd; three years later, he was banned from Elvis Presley’s mansion, Graceland, after he decided to jump into the pool for a swim; and in 2012, Scantlin was arrested for drunken antics on a cross-country flight that forced an emergency landing in Austin, TX.
A study conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago has determined that chronic use of marijuana during teen years causes long-term brain damage.
Released in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, the study showed that heavy pot smoking during adolescence altered users’ brains in the sub-cortical regions; primitive structures that are part of memory and reasoning circuits. “We see that adolescents are at a very vulnerable stage neurodevelopmentally,” said research team leader Matthew Smith. “And if you throw stuff into the brain that’s not supposed to be there, there are long-term implications for their development.”
Researchers compared brain scans of a controlled group of non-using healthy subjects with those of past marijuana users who were all in their mid-20s and smoked pot heavily in their teens. The pot-smoking subjects were broken into three groups: people with cannabis use disorder, people with cannabis use disorder and diagnosed with schizophrenia, and people with schizophrenia and no past use of marijuana. Researchers then scanned three sections of the brain: the striatum, which is linked to reward and motivation; the thalamus, which is the brain’s central hub for cognition input; and the globus pallidus, which covers movement and memory. The results were that heavy users showed brain abnormalities in all three regions regardless of whether or not they suffered from schizophrenia. Meanwhile, all participants performed a memory test that showed heavy users fared worse than healthy non-users and non-using schizophrenics.
"The abuse of popular street drugs, such as marijuana, may have dangerous implications for young people who are developing or have developed mental disorders," said the study’s co-author, John Csernansky, M.D., chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern. "This paper is among the first to reveal that the use of marijuana may contribute to the changes in brain structure that have been associated with having schizophrenia." But while there has been some confirmation about marijuana’s affect on the brain, doubts still linger over whether or not such damage is permanent.
"The study links the chronic use of marijuana to these concerning brain abnormalities that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it," said Matthew Smith, an assistant research professor and lead study author. "With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain."
Frances Inglis, a 61-year-old British woman convicted of killing her son by injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin, was released from prison last week. Now free after serving five years, she insists that her motivation was love and mercy, and does not regret her actions.
In July 2007, Inglis’ son Tom was involved in a fight outside a pub in Essex, where he sustained a concussion, and then, disoriented from that injury, jumped from the back of the ambulance taking him to the hospital and suffered catastrophic head injuries. Surgeons performed emergency surgery that involved removing a large portion of his skull to reduce the pressure on his brain. While the procedure kept Tom alive, it also left him severely brain damaged and Inglis questioning then and now whether that was the right decision.
In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail – her first interview since her release – Inglis remained confident that her decision to end her son’s life was the right course of action. “Some people believe that life should be saved at any cost, but I don’t,” she said. “I begged medical staff not to perform the operation. I was told: ‘He’ll die without it,’ and I said: ‘Please don’t do it. I will allow him to die.'”
Consumed with finding a way to end her son’s suffering, she considered the options, but knew she couldn’t bear the thought of removing the feeding tube and allowing her son to die that way. So clearly desperate, she sought out heroin. Twice. Her first attempt came just weeks after his accident, which led to her arrest and release on bail. But Inglis remained determined to end her son’s misery and ultimately tricked the hospital into letting her inside, where she injected Tom several times with heroin.
Inglis recalled the decision, saying, “I wanted Tom’s death to be painless, peaceful and quick. I researched on the Internet and thought that with heroin he would float away. I thought it would be a kind death.”
Approximately 84 million of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion online gamers reside in Asia, according to a recent report by the market intelligence firm Nico Partners. Unfortunately, Asia is also the world leader in gaming addiction, which has reportedly risen since coming to the attention of Asian news agencies in the 1990s.
The actual number of confirmed gaming addicts remains uncertain, with reports varying between two and 25 percent of all gamers, but the situation remains one of grave concern to Asian government and law officials. Gaming addiction first gained national attention in China, where the 2009 documentary "Who Took Our Children" detailed 30 separate incidents in which online gaming led to serious health issues and even the death of gamers and those around them, including the notorious case of a 17-year-old who poisoned his parents after they forbade him from going to an internet café. As a result, treatment centers, public clinics, and even boot camps sprung up in an attempt to stem what officials regarded as an epidemic.
But such institutions soon garnered negative publicity for inhumane methods of breaking the gaming habit among young people, including beatings and electroshock therapy. Less draconian methods appear to have yielded results, including the South Korean government’s curfew for gamers under the age of 18. But as Dr. David Greenfield, Director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, noted, “The jury’s out on whether the treatments in Asia are working.” By contrast, there are only three facilities handling gaming addiction in the United States, though Greenfield says that “the number of referrals for my clinic have probably gone up by 300 to 400 per cent in the last two years.”
Criteria for gaming addiction is similar to that of other addictions – compulsive usage that interferes with life, an increased need to play more games and withdrawal symptoms upon ending a game – but Greenfield adds that the majority of people who overplay online games do not qualify as addicts. Those individuals, whom he identifies as mostly high school and college age players, are not necessarily addicted to the game, but the mood-altering effect created by the experience of playing the game. “The drug of choice creates the addictive process,” Greenfield says. “But it doesn’t matter what it is. It can be alcohol, or cocaine, or gambling.”
According to a new report issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, most states in the union are spending less – far, far less – than they recommend on anti-smoking programs.
In Fiscal Year 2014, the CDC will dole out some $25 billion in grants that come from the landmark Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that was put into place in 1998 following a massive lawsuit by 46 states to recoup tobacco-related healthcare costs. But instead, less than a mere two percent – just $481 million – will be spent by the states on programs designed to help smokers quit and prevent new smokers from getting started. For comparison, Big Tobacco spent $8.8 billion in advertising in 2011.
Only North Dakota and Alaska will spend 100% of their recommended amounts, with Delaware, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Oklahoma trailing behind at just over 50 percent. Thirty-one states will wind up paying less than a quarter of the CDC’s suggested amount, with two of the largest states, New York and California, coming in at a meager 15.5% and 14.7% respectively. Texas, which has the nation’s second-largest population, will spend a woeful 4.2 percent.
Even though the percentage of Americans who smoke has dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to 20.6 percent in 2009, smoking still causes one out of every five deaths in the United States every year, including 49,400 deaths from second-hand smoke alone.
- Drunk Panhandler Claims to be Pennsylvania State Trooper [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
- New Zealand Cops Hope 'Booze Tickets' Curb Drunken Behavior [Stuff]
- Over Two Hundred People in Colorado Sickened Synthetic Pot [USA Today]
- Passenger Arrested at JFK for Smuggling Cocaine in Hair Care Products [WABC-TV]
- FDA to Crack Down on Animal Antibiotics [The Guardian]
- Chief Keef Moves from Promises Rehab Due to 'Media Attention' [TMZ]
- Canadian Thieves Net $500K in Hard Alcohol [Leader-Post]
- Denver Pot Editor Says Marijuana Will Net State $40 Million [Yahoo]