If artist Bryan Lewis Saunders is known for anything, it's making people uncomfortable. He calls his spoken word performances "stand-up tragedy," because the goal is to make the audience cry. But Saunders also draws self-portraits—and these are sure to inspire as much discomfort as anything else he's done. Because when he draws himself he gets high. Last year he put together a collection of 45 self-portraits, each one drawn while on a different drug, and they've gone viral this week after being posted on The Chive. In an interview last year with Dinosaurcity, Saunders said he was inspired to do the project by the residents of a run-down Tennessee building where he was living. For good measure, he provided some reviews of the drugs he used as muses. Xanax came out well: "It made me feel real at peace with life and with the trauma, and it also made me a real social dynamo!" On the other end of the spectrum was PCP: "Any drugs that detach your mind from your body I don't care for too much," he said. As far as which drug most enhanced his artistic abilities, that'll be left to you. But psilocybin mushrooms are definitely the frontrunner.
It may soon be possible to block the addictive rewarding effects of opiates in the brain while still allowing painkillers to provide relief, according to a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at the University of Colorado and University of Adelaide in Australia discovered an immune receptor responsible for becoming addicted to drugs, and a way to block this receptor—while still allowing pain relief. It's possible that this breakthrough may allow people to use drugs like morphine without the risk of becoming addicted, and help opiate addicts to quit. “It is fundamentally paradigm shifting,” says Linda R. Watkins, a professor in the University of Colorado’s psychology and neuroscience department and a study co-author. “You can’t find a way to solve the problem of addiction if you don’t know there is a key missing player in all the models.”
Her team identified the receptor 4 (TLR4)—a key immune system component responsible for signaling drug reward—and then blocked this receptor using plus-naloxone, a variant of Narcan. “The most interesting thing about the study is the suggestion that the addition of plus-naloxone may increase the analgesic effect of the opioid while reducing its rewarding effects,” says Wayne Hall, deputy director at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research in Brisbane, Australia. Blocking the crucial receptor was shown to suppress the cravings in heroin-dependent rats, and researchers say plus-naloxone may have a broader application with other addictions as well. “It raises a lot of interesting questions about where plus-naloxone works and how it’s doing that, because we really don’t know that,” says Mark Connor, professor of pharmacology at Macquarie University in Sydney, who wasn't part of the research. “It’s going to provoke a lot of debate in the opioid field. There are going to be people rushing to repeat these experiments.”
Some cities are proud of their underground spaces: Paris has a museum dedicated to its sewers, while NYC’s defunct Delancey subway station may soon turn into an underground green space. But enterprising pot farmers in Rome, the cradle of Western Civilization, decided to see those two cities and raise them higher. After a long investigation in which Roman police literally followed their noses, a subterranean pot plantation was discovered in a walled-off portion of the city's subway system. Apparently, the summer’s record high temps caused the damp tunnels to act a bit like a natural vaporizer, sending the dank smell of weed wafting through the streets of the Eternal City. The 43,000 square foot ganja garden was hidden behind a wall in a abandoned Mussolini-era subway tunnel, which was to have officially housed a mushroom farm. While mushroom farms are fairly common in these underground areas, the earthy aroma of fertilizer clearly wasn’t enough to mask that sticky green stink. According to police reports, 340 kilos (almost 750 pounds, worth about $3.7 million) of cannabis were seized in the bust, and the owner of the farm was arrested.
- US Drug Czar Says Prescription Tracking Helps Curb Abuse [Washington Post]
- Binge Eating Among Men Steps Out of the Shadows [New York Times]
- Greece’s Drug Addicts Face Struggles During Crisis [Greek Reporter]
- 3 Reasons the 3-Martini Lunch Could be Beneficial [International Business Times]
- Making Travel Fun Again: 7 Tips for a Sober Vacation [PsychCentral]
- Ten Things You Can Do to Curb Your Facebook Addiction [The Nation]
- Creed's Scott Stapp to Reveal Suicide Attempt, Addiction in Memoir [Digital Spy]
Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney may have little desire to be known as "soft on drugs"—but his chosen venue for a campaign event last night could send a different message. The politician known for dodging questions on drug policy held a fundraiser in a juice shop in Miami that happens to belong to a convicted Colombian cocaine trafficker named Reinaldo Bermudez. Court records show that Bermudez served three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine in 1999. He now owns El Palacio de los Jugos, where Romney, along with Senator Marco Rubio, handed out beverages to a juiced-up crowd of supporters while filming a campaign ad. "Here in Miami there are a lot people with money who have had problems with the law," says Bermudez. "Thankfully, we all have the opportunity in this country to re-enter society when we've done something wrong." The Romney campaign has declined to comment.
When it comes to America's messiest DUI arrests, Mel Gibson may have met his match. The man who invented Crocs shoes was arrested for a DUI on Saturday, and the events that unfolded were—much like the brightly-colored foam sandals—utterly surreal. George Boedecker, the 51-year-old co-founder of the Crocs empire, was "drunk as crap" reported medics, when he was found asleep at the wheel of his Porsche in Boulder, Colorado. He refused a sobriety test and gave a strange excuse for his behavior, claiming his "batsshit crazy" supposed "girlfriend," country singer Taylor Swift, had been driving his car. There was no evidence of Swift's involvement in the incident. When asked for his address, the millionaire mogul reportedly told cops, "I have 17 fucking homes" before advising them to: "Go fuck yourselves in the ass." The foul-mouthed Boedecker was arrested once before in 2006, for threatening a family member.