Rapper and star of VH1's Love and Hip Hop Joe Budden has spoken out about his nearly-fatal struggle with "Molly," a drug that is rising in popularity in the music scene, earning shout-outs by Madonna and in a recent Kanye West hit. Molly is pure MDMA (the base of party drug ecstasy) and is normally mixed with anything from angel dust to caffeine. "Everyone is speaking about Molly like it's the 'it' thing to do," says Budden, who has battled addiction throughout his music career. But he says his latest relapse with the drug nearly killed him. "I didn't see a problem with the fact that maybe five days would go by without sleeping," he tells Fox 5 News (video below). "I didn't see a problem with the fact that I was maybe hallucinating at times." The New Jersey native and member of rap group Slaughterhouse urges his fan base not to follow in his Molly-popping footsteps, saying: "I thought it was important for somebody to stand up and say: I did that, it was corny."
Increasing the price of alcohol might lead to a significant drop in drinking-related deaths, according to a Canadian study published in the journal Addiction. Researchers found a 32% drop in deaths from alcohol between 2002 and 2009, when the government in British Columbia raised the prices of alcoholic drinks by 10%. "This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion to the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase," says study lead Tim Stockwell of the University of Victoria's Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia. An earlier study conducted by the same team found that each 10% rise in the minimum price of alcohol led people to drink 3.4% less alcohol overall. “This study give a strong indication that the policy has reduced the consumption levels of those drinking at hazardous and harmful levels," says John Holmes of the alcohol research group at Britain's University of Sheffield. The United States currently does not set a minimum alcohol price on beverages.
- Australia Rocked by Drugs Scandal [USA Today]
- Study Claims Minimum Pricing Cuts Alcohol-Related Deaths [BBC]
- Colombian Resistance Leader Proposes Legalizing Cocaine [The Globe and Mail]
- 'Moderate Drinkers' Underestimate Alcohol Use by 40%, Says Health Chief [The Telegraph]
- Guardian Data Systems Wants To Be The PayPal Of Pot [Huffington Post]
- Mom Passed Drugs To Son In Jailhouse Liplock [The Smoking Gun]
- Disgraced Lance Armstrong Primed to Lead War Against Drug Cheats [Metro]
Singer and Disney Channel actress Demi Lovato says that her eating disorder might have been avoided, if she'd had role models to look up to who had gone through the same thing. The 20-year-old star hopes to pave the way for more open discussion of mental health issues. Lovato has spoken candidly about her struggles with bulimia and self-harm, her recovery, and her time in rehab. “I was about 12 or 13 when I developed my eating disorder, and at that time nobody in the public eye talked about their body issues," she says. "I feel that if someone had admitted they had a problem, then I wouldn’t have gone down that route myself." Moving forward, Lovato is determined to be a role model for other young people facing similar issues. "That’s my goal in talking about my problems. I want to be the person for other girls that I needed to admire when I was looking for help and strength,” she says. The star encourages anyone who is struggling to reach out and seek help. “It’s OK to love your body the way it is," she says, "and it’s OK to reach out for help if you have drug and alcohol problems, or if you’re self-harming or being bullied."
Did you catch #drugpol on Twitter, co-hosted by The Fix and Phoenix House? Participants from all over—recovering addicts, treatment specialists, addiction writers, opinionated netizens and even the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy—butted heads over the next moves our country should make regarding drugs and addiction. Should we legalize or decriminalize drug use? Most in the discussion leaned towards legalization and regulation, rather than just hands-off decriminalization—although plenty answered "neither." The House I Live In filmmakers tweeted: “We should 'tax and regulate' - just as we do with alcohol... which is, after all, more destructive.” The Office of National Drug Control Policy disagreed: “legalization leads to greater availability, greater use, and greater damage to public health.”
The discussion then focused Colorado and Washington's experiment with pot legalization, which met with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Phoenix House CEO Howard Meitiner thinks it's important the US follows its own path, rather than relying on other countries' examples: “Some think Dutch experiment = failure, some success,” he tweeted. “What's the truth? Need to chart our own course.” Blogger and Fix contributor Dirk Hanson feels the wide insistence upon the relative harmlessness of pot is wrong: “We barely acknowledge the existence of marijuana addiction and withdrawal, let alone plan for treating it in CO, WA.” Former White House adviser Kevin Sabet agreed: "Good luck with treatment and prevention efforts if drugs are legalized, thus advertised, and normalized everywhere." Meanwhile Rafael Lemaitre, communication director of the Office on National Drug Control Policy, emphasized that legalization won't stop marijuana abuse: “Note that data show legal, taxed, and regulated prescription drugs now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined.”
Later on, HLN host and Fix video columnist Jane Velez Mitchell argued, "Drug laws shouldnt penalize 1 segment of population based on race or socio-economic status which is what’s happening now." Meanwhile social worker and Fix columnist Jeff Deeney warned that legalization would have its downsides—ones that not everyone might imagine: "I work daily w young drug sellers. Will wipe out big economic lifeline for many," he tweeted. "Like it or not hustling pays a lot of rent, buys a lot of diapers, puts a lot of food on a lot of tables in poor neighborhoods." Almost everyone agreed, however, on the benefits of harm reduction. “We're in the business of saving lives,” tweeted New Futures, Inc. “Harm reductions are necessary AND they connect those who need help w/ those who can help.” But as for congress: “President Obama first President in history to lift Federal ban on needle exchange funding,” tweeted Lamaitre. “Congress reinstated :(“
Many thanks to Phoenix House and everyone who participated—and if you missed the debate yesterday, you can still search for #drugpol on Twitter to catch up.
The baseball program at the University of Miami is currently under investigation by Major League Baseball as a potential "nexus" of performance enhancing drugs, the New York Times reports. Three players and at least five other people with ties to the university have been cited in documents from a nearby anti-aging clinic that is currently suspect in providing illicit drugs to players. Baseball officials confirmed they have been looking into the university's ties to the clinic since last summer. According to documents under investigation, the strength and conditioning coach for Miami’s baseball team, Jimmy Goins, received banned substances from the clinic and several players received drugs from a clinic director. Last year, clinic director Anthony Bosch wrote in an entry that he has sold human growth hormone and testosterone to Goins, an accusation that he has since denied. The university said in a statement that they are “aware of media reports regarding one of our employees, and an intensive review is under way;” they have declined further comment. Washington Nationals star pitcher Gio Gonzalez has referred to Goins on Twitter as his "off-season strength coach," but he has since claimed to work with Goins for weight loss and denied using any performance-enhancing drugs. The University of Miami has had one of the nation’s most successful baseball programs, winning four national championships since 1982, qualifying for the NCAA championships for 40 consecutive seasons and producing over 100 pro players.