Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie), Everclear frontman Art Alexakis and skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi are among the famous faces talking about how drug addiction has affected them in a campaign for The Partnership at Drugfree.org, entitled You Are Not Alone. Shot by award-winning director Lori Hoeft, the testimonials are meant to offer a message of hope for the families of teens and young adults caught in the grips of drug addiction, and to remove the stigma and misunderstanding that often prevents people from seeking help. "Each individual we shot had a unique point of view to share from their own experiences," says Hoeft. While Hosoi, Alexakis and Blair Witch Project star Josh Leonard speak about their personal addictions and how they've now remained sober for decades, Eden talks about losing her son to a heroin overdose in 2011. According to Drugfree.org, 90% of addictions begin in the teenage years, and there are 11 million teens and young adults in the US who currently need addiction treatment.
An investigation by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting has found that a high number of children from four villages studied in the Ghoryan district of Afghanistan are becoming entrenched in heroin smuggling into Iran. An estimated 60 children in these villages have died from swallowing heroin capsules as part of the smuggling efforts, while another 1,000 have gone missing while attempting to cross the Iranian border. The children are paid approximately $260 to smuggle five capsules a time. The crystallized version of the drug sells for $1,200 per kilogram in Afghanistan—and double that amount in Iran. "The smugglers exploit our poverty and obligations," says Aarash, one of the children from the villages who has trafficked crystal heroin. Children are particularly attractive to smugglers because they are not executed in Iran—unlike adults. Border police apparently do little to stop the heroin trade and often help facilitate it; last year, Mulhim Khan, the general in charge of the Herat border police, was arrested by the Iranian authorities in Islam Qala on charges related to drug smuggling.
A drunken maniac who was thrown out of a pub in northern England for violating the smoking ban returned to terrorize his fellow drinkers with a swinging, revving chainsaw—and the video has now been released. Dean Dinnan, 24, was "very much under the influence of alcohol and drugs" on the night of August 5 last year, according to his attorney. He was so enraged at being asked to extinguish his cigarette and escorted out of the Endyke pub in Hull that he came back and menaced the other customers—who fled or defended themselves with bar stools—with his petrol-powered machine. He failed to find the man who'd offended him, but instead severed the tendon of another drinker, who required 21 stitches and six weeks off work. The incident was captured by security cameras and Dinnan has now been sentenced to three years in jail, where smoking is still permitted.
The DSM—AKA the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, or the Psychiatric Bible—is considering adding internet addiction to its defining list of mental illnesses. The new edition, the DSM-5, is scheduled to be published next year and is keenly awaited by mental health professionals. Besides (possibly) internet addiction, it will also include "disorders" such as “oppositional defiant disorder” and “apathy syndrome”: both behaviors that many believe to be normal. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which publishes the manual, has attracted criticism for the proposed inclusion of internet addiction from those who worry about the effect of labeling millions more people as mentally ill, possibly leading to the unnecessary prescribing of psychiatric drugs. "Many people who are shy, bereaved, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives will suddenly find themselves labeled as mentally ill," says Peter Kinderman, head of Liverpool University's Institute of Psychology. "It's not humane, it's not scientific, and it won't help decide what help a person needs." Over 11,000 health professionals have signed an online petition online condemning the proposed changes to the manual.
Singing legend Tony Bennett made a rather unusual statement at a pre-Grammy gala on Saturday, just hours after Whitney Houston’s death. The 85-year-old used the news as a platform to promote the legalization of drugs. “First it was Michael Jackson, then there was Amy Winehouse, and now the magnificent Whitney Houston,” said Bennett. “I’d like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get on government to legalize drugs.” Bennett continued by saying that people who wanted drugs could then get them from a doctor, instead of “gangsters that just sell it under the table.” The pre-Grammy gala took place at the Beverly Hilton, the same hotel where Whitney Houston had been found dead on that day. It's not the first time Bennett made comments that have raised some eyebrows. Back in September, he was quick to point the finger at the US for the September 11th terrorists attacks. “But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he said on Howard Stern's Sirius Radio show. But Fix Editor-in-Chief Maer Roshan defended the singer on Fox News today: "I don't believe that Bennett is cynically using Whitney Houston's death to promote his argument about drug legalization," he argued. "I think he's using the media maelstrom around her death to make an important point.”
- Whitney Houston's Daughter Bobbi Kristina Rushed to the Hospital [TMZ]
- Marijuana Decrim Question Must Appear on Detroit Ballot, Court Rules [Huffington Post]
- Peru Captures Wounded Shining Path "Narco-Terrorist" [Reuters]
- Testing Pot in a Legal Vacuum [LA Times]
- Drunk, Drugged Children Rounded Up in Sydney [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Demi Moore Gets Addiction Support From Melanie Griffith [NY Daily News]