Drinking away one's sorrows may sound like a recipe for a vicious cycle, but a new study suggests that, for some women, moderate drinking may actually reduce the risk of depression. Researchers at the University of Navarra's Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in Spain followed 13,619 male and female university graduates around 38-years-old.They found that women who drank one or two glasses of wine per day had a 38% lower risk for depression. For men, however, depression was not impacted by drinking. Some researchers believe that this effect can be attributed to resveratrol, a compound found in red wines. Scientists at a recent conference at The University of Leicester, in England claimed that the compound could not only help prevent depression, but also lower the rate of bowel cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. "At the University of Leicester, we want to see how resveratrol might work to prevent cancer in humans," said conference organizer Karen Brown, Ph.D. "Having shown in our lab experiments that it can reduce tumor development, we are now concentrating on identifying the mechanisms of how resveratrol works in human cells." However, health officials urge women not to turn to the bottle for a happiness boost, since more research is needed to determine why and how moderate alcohol exactly may aid with depression prevention. The last time word spread about the anti-aging benefits of red wine, it turned out to be too good to be true.
- Mexican Traffickers Plant Pot Crop in American Forests [USA Today]
- Drugwar Dilemma: Fighting to Improve Security AND Boost Tourism in Acapulco, Mexico [Forbes]
- A Deposit on Cigarette Butts? NY Lawmaker Proposes Bottle-Bill-Style Law [Waste & Recycling News]
- Islamists Ban Smoking in Sinai [Gulf News]
- New Year's Resolution: Different Ways to Quit Smoking [Health India]
- Drug May Help Women Who Quit Smoking Avoid Weight Gain [US News]
- Miss Universe Says Medical Marijuana is Good, But Recreational Pot Will Slow People Down [Denver Westword]
In a recent interview, mumbly rock idol Ozzy Osbourne speaks with startling clarity about the battle with drugs and alcohol that spanned most of his four-decade musical career. The rocker who claims he's been "typecast" for his substance abuse and his music about the "dark forces," proves even the most notoriously drug-addled rock stars can get sober—and wiser. Osbourne rose to fame as lead singer of the band Black Sabbath, whose sound pioneered the heavy metal genre; but throughout their decades of musical success, the band members struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. "I got the rap of being stoned and drunk all the time," says Osbourne. "I wasn't the only one, man. I mean we were all in a bad way with drugs and alcohol. A very, very bad way." Osbourne blames drugs and alcohol, and a battle of egos, for his departure from Black Sabbath in 1979. "I didn't give a shit," he says. "I was full of cocaine and all the rest of the crap I used to do. That stuff makes you talk total horse crap." He went on to sell over 100 million albums as a solo artist, and began his rocky road to sobriety—some of which was documented on his family's reality show The Osbournes. "Alcoholism and drug dependency is a killer disease," says the 64-year-old musician. "I went to two rehab places and then I still went out again. And then I stopped again and then I started. I have accepted I have a problem with drugs and alcohol. That's a big stepping stone, you know. I'm very lucky that I'm still alive and I'm also very lucky I can still put two words together."
The now-sober rocker has addressed his struggles with addiction in his music, including the song "Suicide Solution," which includes the lyrics: "Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor." Osbourne says the song is a "warning about the dangers of alcohol," and he hopes it can offer a positive message for anyone who might be struggling with addiction. "It ain't so cool when you waking up shaking fearsome and wondering when your next drink's going to come," he says. "If anyone is out there and they have this problem, go find help because it's free."
Meth lab seizures are rising in urban and suburban areas, signaling a shift from rural America—where meth makers have long found a safe haven to make and distribute the drug. According to a recent investigation, authorities have seen a massive increase in production of the lethal drug in recent years in cities like St. Louis, which saw a jump from 30 busts in 2009 to a projected 142 busts this year. In Nashville, lab seizures have tripled over the past two years. “No question about it—there are more labs in the urban areas,” says Tom Farmer, coordinator of the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force. “I'm seeing car fires from meth in urban areas now, more people getting burned.” Metropolitan areas have seen a spike in meth production as well. Authorities cite the new, stealthier "shake-and-bake" method as the primary explanation for the geographic shift. Whereas the classic meth lab forced cooks to seclude themselves in distant, unpopulated areas to hide the telltale ammonia-like stench, the shake-and-bake calls only for a plastic bottle, pseudo ephedrine (ingredient in cold medicine like Sudafed), poisonous chemicals (like battery acid or drain cleaners) and a willingness to remain in range of a fiery explosion. The procedure is discrete and virtually odorless. “Bad guys have figured it out,” says Rusty Payne of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. “You don't have to be as clandestine—you don't have to be in rural country to lay low.”
The shake-and-bake method means the drug can now be cooked up in such undercover places as backpacks, gym bags, Wal-Mart bathrooms or a cook's own pants, making it difficult for authorities to bust cooks (although this handy guide may help). And recruiting for "smurfing" (the process of dispatching a crew to separately buy pseudoephedrine to prevent raised eyebrows) is much easier in population-dense areas. Authorities also see growing evidence that inner-city gangs are becoming involved in meth, especially in the distribution of pseudroephedrine, which Farmer says "has become as good as currency." The rise in meth lab seizures is especially alarming since the US has also seen an increase in meth smuggled in from Mexico in recent years, making the drug cheaper and more accessible in urban areas.
Bolivian President Eva Morales has adopted an unorthodox approach towards controlling the growth of coca, by licensing growers in the country and regulating sales and growth of the plant (which remains legal for medical and religious uses). Bolivia kicked out the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2009, causing the US to criticize the government's counternarcotics efforts. But although the country remains the world's third-largest cocaine producer, regulation of coca growth has reaped unexpected results: the total acres planted with coca dropped 12-13% last year, according to separate reports from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In addition, the Bolivian government has increased seizures of cocaine and cocaine base through its efforts to stamp out unauthorized coca plantings. “It’s fascinating to look at a country that kicked out the United States ambassador and the DEA, and the expectation on the part of the United States is that drug war efforts would fall apart,” says Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network, a Bolivian research group. "(But the method is) showing results."
The government has encouraged limited coca planting in order to maximize profits. Soldiers will typically remove any excess plantings if they are found, and if a grower violates the rule a second time, they lose the right to grow coca and their entire crop is cut down. “The results speak for themselves,” says Carlos Romero, the minister of government. “We have demonstrated that you can objectively do eradication work without violating human rights, without polemicizing the topic and with clear results.” However, some remain skeptical about Bolivia's progress. The White House drug offices estimate that the amount of cocaine which could potentially be grown from coca jumped by more than 25%. “Our perspective is they’ve made real advances, and they’re a long way from where we’d like to see them,” says Larry Memmott, chargé d’affaires of the American Embassy in La Paz. “In terms of law enforcement, a lot remains to be done.”
If Santa Claus is coming to Brandon Spikes' town, he'd better get ready to do some downhill skiing, nose-first. After apparently indulging in some holiday libation, the New England Patriot's inside linebacker was baking Christmas cookies when he was overwhelmed by the giving spirit of the holidays. So he sent a tweet to his 303,500 followers claiming he figured out how best to help Santa get through the night without slowing down:
This is not Spikes' first Twitter dustup. In October, he revealed a similarity in how he feels toward gays and spiders. “I‘m homophobic just like I’m arachnophonbic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders, but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub,” he Tweeted. It's also not the first time he's been publicly linked to drug use. In 2010, Spikes was suspended for four games after a drug test revealed an illegal substance in his blood. Spikes contended the substance was medicine to treat his ADHD, and that he's the first of many players caught up in the NFL's growing Adderall controversy.