Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong has opened up about her drinking on the official Bravo blog, after her on-screen intervention aired on Monday night. "I went through about nine months where I was drinking to cope with the pain and the memories," she writes, referring to the suicide of her estranged husband, Russell Armstrong, in August 2011. "I was drinking to forget, to stop the recurring images in my head, to relax enough to try to sleep at night. I quickly discovered that one glass of wine made it a little easier, two would help me forget, three, four—you get the point." The reality star also admits that she was "self-medicating" with alcohol, saying "the sad truth is that I didn't know another way to get through the days—and nights." In the Feb. 25th episode of the show, Armstrong was confronted over her boozing by fellow cast members, including newly sober Kim Richards, who completed her third stint in rehab a year ago. But although Armstrong writes that she's thankful for her "amazing support system," she implies that Richards needs to back off. "Kim, I love ya but, Dr. Drew you are not," she writes. "I know people who have been in 'recovery' for many years. People who are in recovery don't point the finger at others. They focus on their own sobriety. They are there for friends who ask for their help but they don't diagnose and offer treatment plans for others.”
- Why Killing Kingpins Won't Stop Mexico's Drug Cartels [The Atlantic]
- Survey Shows Britons Underestimate Their Alcohol Intake [Washington Post]
- Lawmaker Proposes Misdemeanors for Heroin, Cocaine Possession [LA Times]
- U.S. Drug Prosecutors Switch Sides and Defend Traffickers [The Guardian]
- "El Chapo" Guzman Lives on [GlobalPost]
- Bobby Brown Receives Jail Time for DUI [CNN]
- Lindsay Lohan: Attorney Says Actress is Committed to Turning Life Around [Washington Post]
Comedian and notorious abuser of substances, Andy Dick, is alcohol and drug-free, and he intends to stay that way for his upcoming role on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Dick's well-publicized history of inebriated shenanigans range from allegedly reintroducing Courtney Love to benzos, to harassing a porn star at the adult entertainment awards, to numerous incidents involving public nudity. But the comic has tried numerous times to get clean, and once told The Fix, "the best thing I’ve experienced in my whole life is 100 percent sobriety." Dick says he has been successfully sober ever since his 13th trip to rehab last summer, after his boss and friends staged an intervention. He wants his fans to know he will be both booze-free, and fully clothed, while competing on the upcoming season of the dance reality show, premiering in March. "(My previous problems) were probably alcohol-induced, so in that respect (on the show) there's no alcohol. That's out! (I am) completely sober," he says, "if you are asking, Am I going to be showing up on the dance floor with my penis in my hand? That's not going to be happening."
West African drug cartels are gaining a more powerful role in the worldwide drug trade, according to a new UN report. Approximately $1.25 billion worth of cocaine passes through West Africa each year, on its way to Europe, and local traffickers have long worked as "couriers" for Latin American drug cartels, helping them move drugs through the region. But power is reportedly shifting in to the hands of local trafficking groups. Most of the region’s cocaine still arrives by way of Latin American cartels, but these groups’ direct involvement in the region has declined. In their place, many West African trafficking groups are now creating their own independent narcotics transport and distribution systems, pushing out Latin Americans, and producing their own methamphetamine on a massive scale. “In the end, the gross volume of drugs transiting the region is less relevant than the way West Africa interacts with it,” says a report released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "It appears a growing share is not merely the property of Latin Americans making use of West African logistic services, but that West Africans are playing an increasingly independent role in bringing the drugs into their region.” The role of the growing drug trade in the region is likely to contribute to even deeper political and economic instability in West Africa, which is already in ongoing crisis. The UN report notes: “unless the flows of contraband are addressed, instability and lawlessness will persist, and it will remain difficult to build state capacity and the rule of law in the region.”
One in six cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) may be due to a mother’s drinking habits during or soon after pregnancy, a new study suggests. Researchers say these cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) may be caused either from alcohol exposure womb, or from being in a hazardous environment after birth. Based on data from 77,895 Australian women who gave birth between 1983 and 2005, researchers found that babies born to mothers who drank heavily were seven times more likely to die of SIDS, compared to those whose moms drank moderately or not at all. And for the mothers who reported drinking heavily the year after birth, their babies had a nine times higher risk of SIDS. "The results of this study indicate that maternal alcohol-use disorder increases the risk of SIDS and (infant deaths) through direct effects on the fetus and indirectly through environmental risk factors," write the researchers in the journal Pediatrics. Risk factors could range from general neglect, to a drunken parent falling asleep with the infant in bed, leading to accidental suffocation. About 4,500 infants die from SIDS every year in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "A child is a vulnerable creature and we really owe it to protect that child,” says David Phillips, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies alcohol-related infant deaths. “It's not a trivial thing to be a parent."