Many callers into Ohio's problem-gambling helpline are interpreting "helpline" to mean help with gambling more successfully. The hotline was opened when the state started opening casinos last year and has received 5,645 calls at the end of the state's fiscal year on June 30. However, 54% of the calls were labeled as "not applicable" because they were inquiries about winning lottery numbers or information on local casinos and horse tracks. The state has now taken action by leaving a recorded message on the hotline that lets callers know they are calling a number for people seeking help with problem gambling. "We want it to be the best value, obviously, for the taxpayer," says Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson, chief of problem-gambling services for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. "That's not, 'What's on the buffet?'" The hotline number is also posted on lottery tickets, slot machines and advertisements. Statistics from October 2012 show less than 3% of adults in Ohio are problem gamblers or at risk of problem gamblers, but that number is expected to rise now that casinos are in the state. However, only 6% of Ohioans reported that their preferred gambling method was in a casino; 72% preferred lottery and scratch-off games.
Last week, a drunk woman who had climbed over the 14-floor railing of a San Diego high rise was rescued by a group of Hollywood stuntmen in town for a Comic Con event. The woman had apparently been drinking and seemed suicidal, said police lieutenant Kevin Mayer. Crowds reportedly gathered on the sidewalk as she teetered on the ledge. Three stuntmen who were working nearby for an event to promote the film Kick-Ass 2 sprung in to action—scaling a fence and asking a security guard to help them enter the woman's apartment. Once inside, one of the men reportedly grabbed the woman in a bear hug, while the other two strapped her into a harness and pulled her back over the railing. The woman, who was not injured, was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation. Gregg Sargeant, one of the three stuntmen involved in the rescue, says that he was not being a superhero, but was simply doing his job. "It's what we do everyday for stunts," says Sargeant. "It happened so fast and we just responded."
- Male and Female Alcoholics Risk Relapse in Different Situations [Scientific American]
- Mexico Says Another Drug Gang Leader Is in Custody [New York Times]
- Tiny Rat Cocktail Parties Shed Light On Why Smokers Drink [NPR]
- Giants Safety Will Hill Is Suspended for Drug Violation [New York Times]
- Conan Showcases A Mexican Drug Cartel's Lamest Members (VIDEO) [Huffington Post]
- Tennessee Man Allegedly Stole Human Ashes Believing They Were Cocaine [Gawker]
- Ex-WWE Star Doink the Clown Died of Morphine and Hydrocodone Overdose [TMZ]
Dallas Cowboys star Josh Brent, who killed his teammate and friend Jerry Brown in a drunk-driving accident last December, has announced his retirement from the NFL. Brent, 25, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and faces up to 20 years in prison for the car crash, in which his blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit. "I am at a point where my main focus is all about getting the priorities in my life in order,” said Brent in a statement. “Those priorities are more important than football. Doing the right things in life are more important than football. I love the game very much. I love my teammates, but this is the right thing for me to do.” Brent was put on the non-reserve injury list at the end of last season following the car crash, but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league would not pursue any punishment against him since he has announced his retirement. The former NFL player also tested positive twice for marijuana while out on bond and was briefly jailed after the second test. He is currently on bond now, but is banned from driving and is subject to drug and alcohol tests. Brent's arrest in 2012 was the 18th of an NFL player on suspicion of DUI that year—up from seven in 2011. And Brown's death was the third time since 1998 that an NFL player killed someone while allegedly driving impaired.
A heatwave has been especially devastating for seagulls in southern England, who are being killed by cars after getting "drunk" on flying ants. In Devonshire, nature experts report that the birds gorge themselves on a surge of ants, who have surfaced due to the unusual heat. The ants secrete formic acid which has intoxicating effects for the gulls. “That isn't so good for the birds—it could leave them a bit drunk,” says entomologist Dr. Rebecca Nesbit, explaining that enough formic acid can “stupefy” the birds to the point they ignore oncoming cars. “As I started driving up the hill, the seagulls were all over the place, pecking in the road,” she says. “It reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's [film] The Birds because there were so many of them—I've never seen it before. They're in the road and they just don't want to move.” At least four cities in the area are reportedly littered with the bodies of seagulls, who get so "drunk" and lethargic, they won't move out of the way for oncoming cars. “Gulls are great opportunists," says Tony Whitehead of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, "if there's an abundance of ants and insects, they'll just get stuck in and will be so focused on eating, they won't move for the cars."
Support from Boston's under-the-radar recovery community could help Martin Walsh, a 46-year-old recovering alcoholic, in his bid for mayor. Bostonians account for about 18,000 admissions each year to substance abuse programs, and Walsh estimates that as many as one in six Bostonians has been touched—directly or indirectly—by addiction. The State Representative from Dorchester, who has been sober for 18 years, is known as a pillar of support in the recovery community, and he gets about 20 calls a week from people seeking help for their loved ones. Since announcing his candidacy in May, Walsh has not contacted those he has helped to request their political support, as that would go against the principle of anonymity central to 12-step programs like AA. But he doesn't have to, since many of them have reached out to him first—he acknowledges that "a lot" of his 2,000 volunteers are members of the recovery community. And in a city where roughly 200 Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings take place each week, this body of support could make Walsh stand out in the crowded field of mayoral candidates. Walsh says his staffers urged him to change his cellphone number to one that isn't being circulated among recovering addicts, but he refused. As far as his own battle with alcoholism, if he wins, he says being sober for nearly two decades will be an asset. "Being in recovery is going to make me a better mayor," says Walsh, "It gives me that edge every day when I get up and go out the door."