According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, over three-quarters of Americans like the idea of lawmakers peeing in a cup and submitting to random drug testing. Only seven percent oppose. Of the 78 percent who want members of Congress to be tested for drugs, sixty-two percent said they “strongly” favor such a measure. The same poll also found a strong majority favoring drug testing for welfare and unemployment recipients, 64 in favor and 18 percent opposed.
But lawmakers, particularly Republicans, aren’t exactly accepting of the idea of random drug testing for themselves even though they have passed laws on the state and federal level requiring the same for welfare, unemployment, and food stamp recipients. In April 2013, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas signed into law a bill that required such testing, calling drug addiction a “scourge in Kansas.” The bill sailed through the legislature before landing on Brownback’s desk for a signature. “This is a horrific thing that hits so many people,” he said. “What this effort is about is an attempt to get ahead of it and, instead of ignoring the problem, start treating the problem.” Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed legislation to drug test food stamp recipients, while last year Congressional Republicans pushed testing for people on unemployment.
In light of the recent news about Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) getting busted for buying cocaine, it’s not surprising talk has turned to drug testing Congress, especially when peeing in a cup is rapidly becoming commonplace for the rest of us. Turns out that House Rule 635, adopted in 1997, does allow for the random drug testing of its members. The rule says in part, “The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, shall develop through an appropriate entity of the House a system for drug testing in the House. The system may provide for the testing of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House.” To date, there has been no confirmation of any House member being tested under the rule.
Robbie Williams is raising eyebrows in the recovery community by admitting he's not fully sober, but also claiming he's okay with it. The British singer has several trips to rehab for alcohol and drug abuse under his belt, but has been sober ever since meeting his wife Ayda Field in 2006. However, Williams said that despite having an infant daughter, Theodora, he smokes marijuana once in a while and even revealed to the Daily Mail that he had gotten high two days before the interview.
"No big drug sessions...Just a small amount, purely to relax. I'm allowed to go crazy once in a while, just as long as I don't lose control," he said. "I have to be there to take care of my daughter, right? That is the good thing - by putting responsibility on my shoulders, she is also taking care of me." Despite his pot use, Williams has made it clear that he hasn't touched alcohol for 13 years.
It seems that the former Take That singer has a rather loose approach when it comes to addiction and his own sobriety. Williams shockingly told reporters last summer that he would do drugs again if Theodora decided she wanted to experiment with them. He also admitted regretting first getting sober at the age of 19, claiming that he wished he had a "few more years of partying" under his belt before getting sober at "29 or 30."
Williams also outraged addiction advocates last year by launching his own gambling website, Robbie Williams Poker. Although money was not at stake in the games, users did need to pay for certain tournaments in the form of a buy-in so they could compete for merchandise, concert tickets and a chance to meet him.
Researchers have uncovered a breakthrough in the study of alcoholism by discovering that excessive alcohol consumption is triggered by gene mutation. The study, conducted jointly by five British universities and published in the journal Nature Communications, confirmed that the gene Gabrb1 regulates alcohol consumption, but can lead to a drinking problem when that gene is faulty.
Normal mice in the study showed a preference for a bottle of water over a bottle of diluted alcohol, but those with the faulty gene consumed the alcohol as 85 percent of their daily intake. "It's amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviors like alcohol consumption," said Dr. Quentin Anstee, consultant hepatologist at Newcastle University and joint lead author. The research also stated that the mice drank the alcohol voluntarily, consuming enough wine within a one-hour period to become intoxicated and have difficulty moving. Some of them even willingly worked for their alcohol during this period by pulling a lever to obtain it.
Although more research needs to be done to determine if the gene has the same impact on humans, it could potentially have a major impact in the treatment of alcohol abuse. "There's still a great deal we don't understand about how and why consumption progresses into addiction, but the results of this long-running project suggest that, in some individuals, there may be a genetic component," said Prof. Hugh Perry. "If further research confirms that a similar mechanism is present in humans, it could help us to identify those most at risk of developing an addiction and ensure they receive the most effective treatment."
- Demi Lovato Admits to Being Out of Control Before Rehab [SheKnows]
- Report Says Ariel Castro Blamed Victims, Addiction to Pornography for Crimes [Columbus Dispatch]
- Ex-Cop Guilty of Aiding Half-Brother's Drug Trafficking Operation [Philly.com]
- Chicago Mulls Updating Smoking Ban to Include E-Cigs [Sun Times]
- Heroin Dealer Given Heart Transplant in Prison [Mirror]
- Obama's Drug Czar Says Driving While Stoned 'Unacceptable' [NBC]
- 'Real Housewives' Star Brandi Glanville Says She's Done Cocaine [Hollywood Life]
- Drunk UConn Professor Arrested for Peeing on Cars [WTNH]
Heavy cocaine users may binge on the drug not to seek a high, but rather to avoid a low. That’s according to the findings of a new study published in Psychopharmacology, which says that avoiding emotional lows could play a major role in cocaine binges. Using lab rats for their study, Rutgers University Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Professor Mark West, who led the study, said the initial positive feelings associated with the drug were short-lived and “quickly replaced by negative emotional responses whenever drug levels begin to fall.”
West and his team evaluated the pitch of the calls made by the rats after they binged on drugs, noting that high-pitched calls were common in the first 35 to 40 minutes after use. "Then if the animals are kept at their desired level, you don’t observe positive or negative calls. But as soon as the drug level starts to fall off, they make these negative calls,” said doctoral student David Barker, who co-authored the study. West confirmed that the “results suggest that once the animals started a binge, they may have felt trapped and didn’t like it.”
However, cocaine binges may be less frequent overall because cocaine use has dropped dramatically in the U.S. The White House’s Office of National Drug Policy said the number of U.S. cocaine users dropped from 2.4 million in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2011. The number of cocaine addicts fell from 1.7 million to 800,000 during that same time period, while the number of first-time users during those years was reduced from one million to 670,000.
According to the Tulsa Police Department, methamphetamine has been the cause of 11 murders so far in 2013, including two grisly quadruple homicides, even though the number of meth labs being found has decreased.
Following a peak of 429 meth labs found in 2011, Tulsa has seen a dramatic drop to only 143 found so far this year. But that hasn’t stopped a steady rise in homicides that have been linked to the meth trade, and that has police concerned. "Something's going on. There is an increase in violence at this moment," said Sgt. Dave Walker of the Tulsa Police. In January, police raided a home and found a large amount of meth inside the residence. That same home was the scene of a gruesome slaying the weekend before Thanksgiving, where four people were found shot to death. Earlier in November, meth was to blame in the beating death of a 34-year-old man, while at the beginning of the year two victims in another quadruple murder were known meth dealers. Walker speculated that the uptick in violence was partly due to meth suppliers settling old scores and dealing with turf disputes.
But while meth-related homicides continued, there was a 65 percent drop in the number of meth labs found. Police attribute the drastic decline to legislation that passed in July 2012 limiting access to pseudoephedrine, an essential ingredient in manufacturing meth. "The more you control pseudoephedrine, the (fewer) meth labs you're going to have," said Cpl. Mike Griffin. "If you (revert) pseudoephedrine back to a Schedule III drug like it once was, they would go down even further, so it's really simple."