It's the ultimate false economy. But "drunkorexia"—starving yourself in order to "spend" your desired daily calorie consumption on alcohol instead, while saving cash both by not buying food and then by requiring less booze to get you drunk—is now widespread in Australia, reports the Aussie Sunday Telegraph. Dr. Naomi Crafti, spokeswoman for the Australian Eating Disorders Foundation, said: "This is tied in with the increase in binge drinking in Australia... We also know there is an increase in the number of people suffering from eating disorders...and there is no reason to believe that their alcohol intake is any different." She says "many" young women in Australia suffer from these twin problems: "They are not eating all day because they know they are going to drink at night so they are saving their calories. Then they are drinking large quantities of alcohol which has no nutrients, getting excessively drunk because they have no food in their stomach and often engaging in promiscuous sexual activity...and later on purging to rid themselves of the calories of alcohol." The harmful consequences of this behavior far outweigh any "savings." Earlier this month, a University of Missouri study found that "short- and long-term cognitive problems including difficulty concentrating, studying and making decisions" can be added to the risk of physical issues such as liver and blood pressure problems. Yet 16% of American college students—three quarters of them female—engage in the practice. Unsurprisingly, the word "drunkorexia" is a media term, rather than a medical one, but research confirms that alcoholism and eating disorders frequently co-occur—roughly half of women with eating disorders are thought to have a drink problem as well. The combination has been widely-reported in the States in the last few years. Dr. Douglas Bunnell, former president of the National Eating Disorders Association, told the New York Times back in 2008, "Both disorders are behaviors that are glorified and reinforced. Binge drinking is almost cool and hip, and losing weight and being thin is a cultural imperative for young women in America. Mixing both is not surprising, and it has reached a tipping point in terms of public awareness.”
- Medical Marijuana Crackdown Should Stop, House Reps Say [Huffington Post]
- Prescription Pills are East Tennessee's "New Crack" [Knoxville News Sentinel]
- Chinese Officer Accused of Drunken Crash, Sparking Riot [Sky News]
- Children Drinking "Adult Intake" [BBC]
- Pianist Dies After Drinking "Ecstasy Milkshake" [Daily Telegraph]
- Naked Driver in Drunken Rampage in Moscow [AFP]
- Herman Cain to Young People: Don't Smoke [CBS News]
- German Police Stop Drunken "Yoda" at Wheel [AFP]
With the country up in arms about economic disparities and a financial crisis that just won't quit, it seems bizarre that President Barack Obama is focusing on doing something about those pesky medical marijuana dispensaries. The latest volley in the Obama administration's war on cancer patients, chronic pain sufferers and small businesses—despite a recent poll showing a majority of US citizens support pot legalization—is a DEA crackdown in California and Colorado that focuses on medical marijuana distribution networks. DEA agents raided Northstone Organics, a Redwood Valley medical marijuana dispensary, on October 13, while in California a major crackdown recently got underway. “While California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances," announced US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. in Sacramento, "it does not allow commercial distribution through the store-front model we see across California." In other words: screw what the voters say—we’re closing you down.
Rob Kampla of the Marijuana Policy Project recently accused Obama of being the worst president in history when it comes to the marijuana issue, and it’s hard to argue. Even compared to such bogeymen as Richard Nixon and Ronald “Just Say No” Regan, our current president—who has candidly discussed his own high school experiments with marijuana and cocaine—retains a hard-line and illiberal attitude toward medical marijuana. From keeping the drug Schedule One alongside cocaine and heroin, to blocking medical marijuana research, trying to crush legitimate medical marijuana businesses via the IRS, and even having the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms block MMJ patients from purchasing firearms and ammunition, Obama’s approach has hardly been a nuanced one. The president's visit to San Francisco drew protests from MMJ activists but whether any other 2012 candidate would be any friendlier to marijuana users than is doubtful. The only voice of reason in the Republican pack seems to be former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who has consistently favored legalization, describing marijuana users as "the largest untapped voting bloc." However Johnson, who has been excluded from a number of televised debates, would appear to have little chance of selection by Republicans. Still, President Obama surely faces a tough re-election battle, which begs the question of why he’s doggedly pursuing policies seemingly designed to alienate his base.
Got unused prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet? This weekend you can take them to one of over 5,200 collection sites throughout the US as part of the third bi-annual National Takeback Initiative prescription drug drop-off, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA is setting up drop-off sites in every state, from 10am-2pm Saturday, October 29, at police stations, hospitals, churches and their own offices. They've previously collected more than 309 tons of pills in these “takeback” events. “There’s no questions asked—you just drop them off,” said Chris Platz, parish manager of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York City, which has been a drop-off site since the initiative began in September 2010. Platz told The Fix the church has been contacted by people who don’t know how to dispose of powerful drugs left over from medical procedures: "I've had calls from people—they have OxyContin, they've had surgery and they've got like 97 pills left," he said. "I don't know what the street value of those things is but I think it's pretty exorbitant." According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, OxyContin sells for between 50 cents and $1 per milligram on the street, with prices varying regionally. This comes from 2000, apparently the most recent year for which they have data, but anecdotal evidence agrees that a 20 mg pill, say, retails at roughly $20. So that bottle of 97 tablets could well bring in over $2,000. This temptation is part of the reason the DEA is so keen to get people to dispose of their unused medications. The other part is that prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing sector of addiction today. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 7 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2009, and many of these are kids who pilfer drugs from the family bathroom. So what happens to these huge piles of unwanted pills? "The DEA gets rid of them. They’re destroyed somehow—burned, flushed, something,” said Platz. Det. Domenick Vassallo, the contact person for the drop-off at NYPD’s 20th Precinct, agreed: "They flush 'em, I guess." Not so. Instead, "We take them to a waste energy facility," Special Agent Erin Mulvey from the DEA’s New York City office told The Fix. "They’re burned into energy for the tri-state area. All the states are disposing of them in this way. It's an eco-friendly, win-win situation."
- How Wachovia Laundered Millions for Mexican Cartels [Democracy Now]
- Video: Bernard and Ruth Madoff Attempted Suicide with Ambien, Klonopin [CBS News]
- Jackson was Dependent on Addictive Painkiller Demerol, Says Trial Expert [Reuters]
- Alcohol Linked to Better Survival After Heart Attack [Reuters]
- Physician Used Craiglist to Trade Prescription Drugs for Sex, Feds Allege [Chicago Tribune]
- Online Guru Behind Follow Friday Movement on Startups, Internet Fame and Getting Sober [Mashable]
- Heroin Addicts Pass Out in Moving Car with 4-Year-Old Daughter in the Back [Riverfront Times]
- Woman Accused of Trafficking 30 Pounds of Cocaine in Cake Mix Boxes [CNN]