Who are the world's biggest drinkers? In defiance of stereotypes, it isn't Russians gulping vodka or the Irish pounding Guinness - according to data from Euromonitor, it's the South Koreans throwing back soju.
On average, our Korean allies drink a whopping 13.7 shots a week. Russia comes in at a distant second with 6.3 shots a week; less than half as much as South Korea's liquor-loving populace. And where does the United States come in? With an average of 3.3 shots a week, the stars and stripes is shockingly in 10th place in the world. Egypt and Indonesia are tied as the world's officially most sober countries, with both boasting 0.0 shots average a week. No surprise about Egypt considering how the country officially banned booze, but some may find Indonesia's sobriety surprising given that one in three Indonesians smoke and their airline pilots have a drug problem.
But being at the top has its price: soju - hugely popular in South Korea because it's cheap, accessible, and has 20% alcohol by volume - has become a national problem. Alcohol was a factor in about a third of three million serious South Korean crimes in the past five years including robbery, homicide, and rape. About 76 percent of public disturbances and 44 percent of domestic violence disputes have also been linked to the alcohol.
Social acceptance of drunkenness has meant that courts are more lenient on booze-fueled offenders, so much so that soju giant Hite-Jinro has begun to print “No more drunken violence! Let's improve wrong drinking culture!” on their bottles.
You don't need to speak Korean to understand this hilariously bad soju commercial:
Two treatment executives at the Missouri rehab Bridgeway Behavioral Health have been charged with “interference with legal process” when they refused to allow police admittance to their facility. Bridgeway site director Stacy Glenn and assistant site director Chrissy Rupp did not comply with a search warrant because they failed to see a reference to federal regulations ensuring client confidentiality. According to police, this delay allowed the suspect to escape.
On the morning of Thursday, November 14, 2013, three St. Charles police officers showed up at Bridgeway’s residential treatment site with a warrant for the arrest of Matthew David Walker, 23, on a parole violation. The police learned that Walker was at the Bridgeway facility from a family member. When police arrived at the center, they reportedly saw Walker smoking a cigarette outside. Upon seeing the police, Walker quickly ducked inside and disappeared.
When the officers went in to arrest Walker, workers barred their entrance. Under the umbrella of 42 CFR Part 2, a federal regulation from the 1970s that protects confidentiality of patients in designated substance abuse treatment facilities, the treatment executives claimed the right not to cooperate. Frustrated, the police officers left.
Several officers returned later that evening, armed with a search warrant for the premises. The two treatment executives on site at the time, Christine Rupp and Stacy Glenn, still would not comply. The treatment executives “delayed and obstructed police” by claiming that without the warrant containing the proper language, they could not break patient confidentiality. During this delay, Walker climbed out of one of the facility’s windows and fled on foot.
The program manager David Chernof explained the position of the rehab: “We don’t want to be seen as a safe harbor for criminals, yet many of our clients - people in treatment - have arrest records and sometimes active warrants. We cannot simply open our doors when the police are looking for someone…. It would be a huge barrier for people if they thought their treatment was in jeopardy because the police were going to be able to walk in and arrest them.”
A teenage girl from Scotland has become the latest tragedy from club drugs, passing away last Saturday after taking a red pill known as “Mortal Kombat.” Four other people were rushed to the hospital after similar incidents with the drugs at nightspots in Glasgow and Ayrshire, but 17-year-old Regane MacColl is the first confirmed fatality from Mortal Kombat. Officials have yet to confirm what the drug actually is, but the pill has a dragon stamp on it identical to the logo of the classic video game with the same name.
“Illicit drugs are unstable, unpredictable and extremely dangerous as this outcome shows," said Detective Inspector Sharon MacGregor. "Often the content of the drugs is unknown but they could contain dangerous chemicals and people need to understand the devastating effect they can have.”
In recent months, a surge of drugs with cartoon characters or video game logos stamped on them have been infiltrating nightclubs. Scottish police issued a warning via Twitter last week about a “Pink Superman” pill, which features a Superman logo on one side and a ‘half-score’ line and ® logo on the reverse. The cheap drugs, which cost as little as $6 per pill, have already been responsible for numerous fatalities due to containing para-methoxyamphetamine, which is five times stronger than ecstasy.
Last month, drug watchdogs in Belgium spotted a ‘Nintendo’ club drug, a pill which has the same logo as the video game company and contains a large dose of MDMA.
Watch a CNN report on club drugs masquerading as Molly below:
After the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Desperate Housewives actor Shawn Pyfrom opened up about his own struggles with drugs and alcohol in a lengthy blog post. The 27-year-old has now been sober for five months, but said he was inspired to speak out publicly for the first time after Hoffman was found dead in his NYC apartment yesterday.
“I just read the news about Mr. Philip Seymour Hoffman, and against the advise of others; I had to write this open letter. I can’t stay quiet anymore about this… I am an alcoholic and a drug addict,” he wrote. “And yesterday I celebrated five months of sobriety. I’m relatively new to being sober, considering the scope of time that I’ve been an addict. But within that scope, this is also the longest I’ve been sober; since I began using.”
Pyfrom admitted that he “lived” for drugs for several years, including when he starred on Desperate Housewives, and that his addiction “dictated” his life. “I thought more about using than I thought about any other 'pleasures.' I put myself in places i never would have ended up, otherwise, for the sake of getting high,” he said. “There are countless nights of blacking out, and making poor decisions as a result of my overusing. I wasted the time of valuable people, who worked so hard to pull my career to a higher place ... I worried the people who care about me.”
Although he believes that the “struggles and experiences” of his addictions led to some of the things he has created professionally, Pyfrom said he is now in a more creative head space than ever. And after just five months of sobriety, the actor believes he is now fully recovered. “I only have compassion for those who currently struggle with their addictions. I am fortunate enough to no longer struggle with mine,” he said. "I can say with all honesty, that I have no desire to ever use again. But it took a long time, and a lot of struggle, to finally reach that place. I am an addict. And I’ve never been more proud saying it.”
Watch Pyfrom's work on Desperate Housewives:
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Parties in Vancouver, Gets Ticketed for Jaywalking [Daily Mail]
- Florida Teacher Accused of Being Drunk At School Blames Diabetes [Daily News]
- FAA Rules Drone Beer Deliveries Illegal [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
- Massachusetts Man High on Crack Cocaine Attacks Wife, Cop With Samurai Sword [The Boston Globe]
- Drinking While Pregnant May Become Illegal In Britain [The Telegraph]
- Starbucks Manager Used Coffee Shop To Smuggle Cocaine From Columbia [Daily Mail]
- Medical Marijuana To Be 'Up And Running' Soon, Says NY Health Chief [Journal News]
- JC Penny Denies Drunk Tweeting During Super Bowl [AdWeek]
Two weeks ago, Rhode Island saw a huge spike in heroin-related deaths when 13 people were found dead from apparent overdoses. Last week, Pittsburgh suffered its own wave of heroin overdoses when a deadly batch of dope labeled Theraflu claimed the lives of 22 victims.
In both areas, the narcotic painkiller fentanyl – a drug 100 times more powerful than morphine – was found in the systems of the victims. Recently, batches of fentanyl-tainted heroin has plagued much of the northeastern United States, consuming cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. But it wasn’t until the untimely death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman that the nation's heroin epidemic and the resulting overdose deaths from fentanyl-laced dope have come into focus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths have risen 102% from 1999 to 2010. In 2010 alone, sixty percent of overdose deaths in the United States were related to pharmaceuticals, with 75 percent of prescription drug deaths involving opioid painkillers. But because prescription drug use can prove costly, many addicts turn to street heroin when their habits intensify, first by snorting powder and then eventually through intravenous use. Hoffman was thought to have followed a similar course when he relapsed by taking pills before snorting and injecting heroin.
Because an actor of Hoffman’s stature has been ripped away by addiction, a new light has been shed on an old problem that has reached epidemic proportions in recent years, but until now has gone under-reported on the national level. Whether or not fentanyl-tainted heroin was in Hoffman’s system remains to be seen, but the one positive his death may have is that maybe now we as a nation can finally take real steps in treating people with addiction.