In a scenario reminiscent of the hit show Weeds, New York native and divorced mother-of-two Andrea Sanderlin was arrested two weeks ago for running a“sophisticated operation to grow and process marijuana” out of a Queens warehouse. The Smoking Gun reports that federal investigators raided the warehouse last month, finding nearly 3000 pot plants, "large quantities of dried marijuana" and state-of-the-art cultivation equipment. Sanderlin, 45, had been allegedly running a multimillion-dollar marijuana business under the front name "Fantastic Enterprises, Inc." A US District court filing also claims that federal agents recovered $6,000 in cash and books on money laundering and growing marijuana when they raided her home in the ritzy Westchester town of Scarsdale, in addition to $7,900 in cash from Sanderlin's nanny, who was trying to funnel the cash to Sanderlin's boyfriend. The federal investigation against Sanderlin began last April, when five men were arrested for also operating marijuana businesses in NYC warehouses and one confessed that Sanderlin was conducting a similar business. Investigators later discovered that her electricity tab alone at the Queens warehouse averaged $9,000 a month, all of which was typically paid for in cash. It's unclear how long Sanderlin has been in the marijuana trade, but she was an active poster to the cannabis.com message board as far back as March 2008. The arrest came as a shock to those in her affluent community, who primarily knew her as a horse rider who had won several ribbons. Sanderlin's nanny said she was shocked by the arrest, although she confessed that she never knew exactly what her boss did for a living: “I just know that she told me she was going to work in the morning,” she said.
- Feds Say Scarsdale Mom Is Real Life Weeds Suspect [ABC News]
- OAS to Seek Fresh Ways to Combat Illegal Drugs [LA Times]
- Diet Coke Not as Bad as Meth [The Atlantic]
- Police: Couple Allowed 10-Month-Old to Ingest Opium [Charlotte Observer]
- Bob Dylan's Pot-Smoking Past Will Not Prevent Him From Receiving France's Highest Honor [Raw Story]
- Melissa Etheridge: Pot got me through [CNN]
- Guest Blogger: Leigh Steinberg on Sports and Sobriety [Phoenix House]
In his first interview since he was fired from Dior in 2011 for his public anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris café, fashion designer John Galliano speaks about how the incident finally forced him to face his addictions and get clean. He says the vicious rant—in which he declared his love for Hitler—stemmed from his hatred of himself, fueled by alcoholism and drug use. "I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could,” the 52-year-old tells Vanity Fair. By that point, Galliano says his drinking and drug use had gotten so bad that: “I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under.” He describes how his addiction to alcohol and pills took hold as his fashion career, on the surface, was flourishing. Towards the end, he used "whatever I could get my hands on" and was "covered in sores and humiliated,” suffering tremors and going days without sleep. But his denial continued, and he maintained a strict diet and exercise regime to mask the underlying problem. When his bosses at Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (Dior's parent company) warned him he was going to die and urged him to get help, he refused. "I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic," he recalls. "I thought I could control it.”
The designer maintains that he remembers nothing from the night of his infamous 2010 tirade, which went viral on YouTube. When he first saw the video, he says he threw up and was "paralyzed from the fear.” Galliano was admitted to an Arizona rehab on March 1, 2011, by which point he'd alienated so many people that only one friend—supermodel Linda Evangelista—came to visit him. Vanity Fair reports that in the past few years, he is "taking certain steps to atone," including meeting with Jewish leaders, reading books about the Holocaust and learning about Jewish history. "I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt," he says. Now two years sober, he says he's grateful for everything that happened. "I have learned so much about myself," he says. "I have re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive.”
An increasing number of men are using testosterone to boost their libidos and feel younger, researchers report. According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) by men over 40 tripled between 2001 and 2011. “It’s become a near-epidemic proportions, what we’re seeing in our clinics,” says Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, the chairman of urology at the Cleveland Clinic. The "wonder drug" helps build muscle, reduce body fat and improve sex drive, and is recommended specifically for men with abnormally low testosterone levels—a condition called hypogonadism. But the study shows just half of the men treated with the hormone were diagnosed with hypogonadism; a quarter of them weren't even tested for low testosterone before being treated. Researchers blame ads that promote TRT and the growing availability of walk-in clinics. "This trend has been driven, in large part, by direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns that have targeted middle-aged men and the expansion of clinics specializing in the treatment of low testosterone or 'low-T centers,'" says Dr. Jacques Baillargeon, lead author of the study and an associate professor in preventive medicine and community health at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Experts say too much of the hormone raises the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer, and the New England Journal of Medicine warns that only about 2% of men older than 40 should be using it. But sales are still expected to triple from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $5 billion by 2017. One TRT user, 57-year-old Chris Running, 57, gives the "wonder drug" his glowing endorsement: "When I get out of the shower and look in the mirror, I’m impressed because I look frickin' awesome.”
Racial bias in US drug laws has now been documented on a huge scale. A new study from the American Civil Liberties Union, which tracked marijuana arrests by race and county in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, shows that while black and white Americans use marijuana at the same rate, black people were four times more likely to be arrested than white people. In Washington DC, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, blacks were 7.5 to 8.5 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. And out of the eight million total arrests for marijuana between 2001-2010, the overwhelming majority were for small-scale possession. "In the past 75 years we have seen mounting evidence of the benign nature of the marijuana plant, and its tremendous potential for medical development," said Amanda Reiman, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, in 2012. "But the rampant misinformation about the effects of marijuana USE is dwarfed by the lifetime of suffering that a marijuana conviction can bring." Despite Barack Obama's first term in office being marked by an economic recession and soaring deficit, states increased their spending on the "War on Marijuana" by more than 30% from the previous decade by racking up an estimated $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. The end result was more arrests for marijuana than all violent crimes combined. A recent report by the NY Public Advocate's office showed that NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy had black people compromise 84% of all its stops, yet those white people who were stopped were more likely to be in possession of drugs or weapons than any other ethnicity.
Chances are, you or someone you know is hooked on Candy Crush Saga—a match-three-in-a-row puzzle game for Facebook and smartphone that reportedly has millions of people hooked. Within just a few months, it's eclipsed all other Facebook games in popularity, and is played more than half a billion times a day on mobile alone, according to King, the game's creators. “When I first started, I played for a month straight, like all the time,” grad student and recovering Candy Crush addict Jennifer tells The Fix. “I played when I was supposed to watch TV, go to the bathroom, go to sleep—most people have to pass a level before they go to bed.” But why is the game so addictive? In part, it starts off easy, but quickly reaches challenging levels. Says Jennifer: “They made it look easy and you were always 'close' to winning, so you wanted to keep on trying until you beat that level.” Heather Kikorian, an assistant professor of psychology, says Candy Crush is designed to get you hooked, and specific parts of the game where you see success, like beating a level, can create a "pleasure response" and triggering dopamine in the brain. And social media games combine addictive gaming with the 21st Century narcotic—smartphones and Facebook. The social and competitive element makes them even harder to put down.
But what about the devastating comedown when you run out of "lives" and have to stop playing? To delay this inevitable withdrawal, some players have learned to trick the system into giving them more "lives." Jennifer tells us she figured out how to prolong her playing by turning her smartphone's clock forward, and her mom hoards extra lives by not opening her inbox. Another way to get extra lives is to buy them—which one woman says cost her $40. Though Jennifer is now two months clean from this social media game, she may well fall victim to the next one. Scott Steinberg, author of Video Game Marketing and PR, says turnover with these addictive games is high: “With attention spans shortening and so many alternatives so readily available, players tend to move on to the next big game quickly."