- Maryland To Become 19th State Legalizing Medical Marijuana [CBS Baltimore]
- Cannabis Drug Firm's $31M NASDAQ Bow [Business Weekly]
- The FDA Eyes a Caffeine Crackdown [Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Johnny Depp 'Ditches Alcohol' [Belfast Telegraph]
- James Watson, DNA Discoverer Says Irish Downfall Is Not Alcohol But Ignorance [Irish Central]
- Mexican Police Arrest Drug Lord's In-Law [Al Jazeera]
- Prescription Drug Problems Cause Sharp Increase in ER Visits, Sleep Aids a Culprit [Science World Report]
Abuse of ADHD meds has long been so rampant on college campuses that many colleges and universities are now clamping down hard on their prescriptions, The New York Times reports. Studies show that up to 35% of college students take non-prescribed stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse to help them focus and get more work done during finals. The first definition for Adderall in Urban Dictionary is: "The only way to finish homework." Colleges like University of Alabama, Marist College and Fresno State now require students who are prescribed ADHD meds to sign contracts promising not to misuse pills or share them. At Marquette University, clinicians may phone students' parents to get medical histories and confirm symptoms. Some colleges, like George Mason and William and Mary, now forbid school clinicians from prescribing stimulants entirely, instead referring students to off-campus providers; the University of Vermont won't even test students for ADHD. “We get complaints that you’re making it hard to get treatment,” says Dr. Jon Porter, director of medical, counseling and psychiatry services at UVM. “There’s some truth to that. The counterweight is these prescriptions can be abused at a high rate, and we’re not willing to be a part of that and end up with kids sick or dead.”
A recent Yale graduate, Dara, tells The Fix that "everyone" on campus uses Adderall as a "study drug" to boost concentration and grades, and it gets "passed around like candy." The blue pills are so commonly crushed and snorted that she would often see "people walking around with blue snot dripping from their noses." Abuse of stimulants, which are illegal without a prescription, can lead to anxiety, depression and even psychosis. And in addition to the health concerns, it can get colleges into legal trouble. Harvard is currently being sued for medical malpractice by the father of Johnny Edwards, who committed suicide in 2007, six months after Harvard health services diagnosed him with ADHD and prescribed Adderall after a single examination.
Still, the new limitations have riled ADHD advocacy groups, who argue that the policy changes "create a culture of fear and stigma" around the disorder. Ruth Hughes, the chief executive of the advocacy group Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, claims that the rules are discriminatory, and schools who limit ADHD meds should also limit painkillers and other potentially abused medications. She adds that out-sourcing prescriptions fails to address the problem: "If a university is very concerned about stimulant abuse, I would think the worst thing they could do is to relinquish this responsibility to unknown community practitioners." Many college kids, grown accustomed to easy access to these drugs, are also displeased by the changes; and some don't believe the new policies will be effective. "I dont think the new rules would stop me [from selling Adderall]" one anonymous student from Clark University tells The Fix. "I'm already doing something I'm not supposed to do, and people are always asking for it. I don't think that would change."
Lindsay Lohan is evidently prepared to change in rehab—roughly three times a day. Shortly before her highly-publicized court-ordered rehab stint is set to begin, the 26-year-old actress posted a photo on Instagram of apparel and luggage strewn about her New York City apartment, with the caption "90 days and 270 looks." But while her wardrobe may be ready, Lohan is reportedly still deciding on which rehab facility she will attend. She now has less than 24-hours to enter a court-approved facility, or risks going to jail for violating probation. Lohan's original destination was the Seafield Center in Westhampton Beach, New York, but close sources claim that she "may bail" because of their strict no smoking policy. With so little time left, Lohan is rumored to be trying to delay her start date. But the star has claimed to be fully on board with her sentence, which also includes 30 days of community service and 18 months of psychological therapy. "I think this is an opportunity for me to focus on what I love in life. And I don't think it's a bad thing," the Scary Movie 5 actress said on The Late Show With David Letterman. "I think it's a blessing."
Australian Senior navy officials are outraged after politician Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives, claimed that the Labor party's government was "spending like drunken sailors." The popular phrase is a throwback to the days when inebriated sailors were known to spend money indiscriminately "in bars and bordellos." Former Chief of the Navy, retired Vice-Admiral David Shackleton, But today's seamen and women are defending themselves against its offensive implications, which they say no longer apply. "We are not like that any more," said one Navy seamen. "It is not an image that is reflective of the current force or ideals." And according to a Naval officer: "You always find the occasional idiot, but generally speaking sailors do not behave like that." A Sydney Hotel manager, Mike Caimer, agrees that modern sailors are far more subdued and courteous. "They are very respectful when they come in here, never any problems and always very controlled," he said. "Let's be honest, they are human and they enjoy having a drink together and each other's company. But they aren't coming in here and drinking each other silly, they support us without going overboard [no pun intended]." However, even in recent years, members of the Australian navy have been known to take things "overboard." In 2009, sailors on HMAS (His/Her Majesty's Australian Ship) were found to have engaged in "predatory sexual and drunken misconduct," including wrecking two bars in Manila and engaging in a "public sex act" in China.
The wrongful death trial for Michael Jackson began in court this week, with an LA police detective accusing Dr. Conrad Murray of "not being honest and forthright" during initial questioning in 2009. Det. Orlando Martinez said that Murray, currently serving a four-year jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jackson, may have had "financial gain" as a motive for the pop star's death after discovering that he had hundreds of thousand dollars in debts that included tax liens and child support. He claims Murray closed his practice to work exclusively with Jackson and tied his financial future to him. The lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother and children alleges that AEG Live, the concert promoters for his planned "This Is It" tour, pushed him to perform despite obvious warning signs about his health and negligently hired Murray. It's also been reported that Jackson drank up to six bottles of wine per day and was "paralytic" at the press conference announcing his comeback tour. The Jackson family are suing for damages in the form of earnings that he could have made were he still alive today, which could potentially be in the billions. "[AEG] wanted to be No. 1 at all costs," said the Jacksons' attorney Brian Panish. "We're not looking for any sympathy...We're looking for truth and justice."
Panish detailed Jackson's prescription drug abuse history, saying the singer regularly used demerol and propofol, and that "people who knew him believed he had a problem with prescription medication." AEG Live denies any responsibility in Jackson's death and claims that Murray was not an employee of their organization. Their attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, said that the concert promoter could not have foreseen the extent of Jackson's drug issues because he went to great lengths to hide them. "The truth is, Michael Jackson fooled everyone," said Putnam. "He made sure that no one, nobody, knew his deepest darkest secrets." The trial is expected to run through this summer.
Silk Road, the Amazon.com of drugs, is under attack by unknown parties. For the past couple days, the hidden "dark net" site has sustained a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, which basically floods it with fake automated traffic until the servers are overloaded and the site crashes. “It is incredibly discouraging to have everything we've worked so hard for taken down by some anonymous and malevolent person, but your kind words of encouragement do wonders for our morale,” wrote site administrator Dread Pirate Roberts in an update on Monday. “We are on the cutting edge of anonymity technology here. The attacks being used against us MUST be overcome if Silk Road and any anonymous public sites are to have a future.” Since Monday, the site has been adjusting its servers in order to mitigate the attack and prevent similar future offensives. Various news sites and related forums have floated theories about who is attacking the site and why. Gawker suspects the US government or the DEA have something to do with it, considering the staggering traffic the anonymous online marketplace has had recently. News Australia thinks it has something to do with a ransom threat sent a few days before. BitCoin Magazine addresses the possibility that the hacker isn't just after Silk Road, but instead all Tor-based crypto-commerce funded by untraceable Bitcoins. Currently, the site is back up, in limited capacity: “Silk Road is open and accessible. As soon as the attacker finds out, he will likely change his tactics and try to take the site down again,” Dread Pirate Roberts writes in today's update. “Hopefully he won't be able to, but time will tell.”