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Internet addiction

5/09/12 1:44pm

Canada Craves Internet More Than Booze

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What are Canadians chained to the most?
Photo via

What would you do for internet access? That question was posed to Canadians in an online poll conducted by Rogers Communications and the results show just how addicted to the internet they might be. Thirty four percent of the participants were willing to forgo alcohol for regular internet access, while 31% would part with chocolate and another 27% would forgo coffee to stay connected. The slightly more disturbing findings showed that 6% of the participants would forgo sex and another 4% would give up bathing daily or having regular personal contact with other people to stay logged on. "The Internet is indispensable to us today and we have yet to see its full potential," says Robert Switzman, Senior Director Emerging Business, Rogers Communications. "From apps that monitor cholesterol to fridges that automatically order groceries, the Internet is becoming the backbone of all connections in the world around us, and will continue to evolve how we go about our daily lives." As for the sexless, socially isolated and stinky 10% of the poll, they may simply be holding out for some apps to be developed that will help them bathe and fornicate.

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By McCarton Ackerman

opium dilemma

5/09/12 12:45pm

Opium Price Hike Could Spur Afghan Violence

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15% of Afghanistan's economy comes from
opium. Photo via

As security forces in Afghanistan step up their efforts to eliminate opium from the country and a fungus ravages the poppies that yield it, the price of opium is set to skyrocket and could lead to violence in the country. Zarar Ahmad Muqbel Osmani, the Minister of Counter Narcotics, said the increased demand for opium throughout the region and decreased supply will not only make entering the poppy trade more appealing to desperate and cash-strapped farmers, but will also force the government to further ramp up their already intensified efforts to eradicate opium. "The price hike will definitely pressure us a lot," said Osmani. "The tendency towards cultivation will grow, it will create resistance, law and order issues, and it will raise the casualty rate (for the Afghan security forces)." Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's opium, and tons of it is shipped through Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia annually—with less than 10% of it seized by authorities in these areas. The poppy trade has earned insurgents more than $100 million a year, and traffickers billions more. According to the UN, the farm-gate value of opium production more than doubled in 2011 from the previous year to $1.4 billion and now accounts for 15% of Afghanistan's economy. Although there's a foreign-funded push to wean farmers off poppy through incentives like subsidies legal crops and fertilizer to grow legal crops, the effort has been largely unsuccessful.

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By McCarton Ackerman

naughty nurse

5/09/12 11:17am

Nurse OD'ed on Ecstasy at Addiction Clinic

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Not what the doctor ordered Photo via

A nurse working at a British addiction clinic is under review for allegedly binge drinking, taking ecstasy and overdosing in front of her lover and patient. Amy Sutherland met the man—referred to only as Service User A—outside of work in 2009, but soon realized that the drug addict—who had a criminal record and a personality disorder—was being treated at the Botchergate Centre clinic in Carlisle, where she was employed. Sutherland soon admitted her affair to her boss, Karen Nicoll, and was ordered to end it—but she didn't. She's accused of taking ecstasy in front of her lover at the clinic and drinking for hours in his presence; after overdosing, she apparently asked her mother to call in sick for her the next day: "Ms. Nicoll received a telephone call from the registrant's mother indicating that Amy Sutherland would not be coming to work for health reasons," says a Nursing and Midwifery Council representative. Later that day, Service User A's mother called Nicoll to complain that he hadn't received his methadone prescription because his partner/clinician had been hospitalized for drug overdose. Nicoll put two and two together and Sutherland folded when confronted, admitting that she'd continued the relationship and had overdosed. If found guilty at an NMC hearing, she faces being banned from her profession.

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By Fionna Agomuoh

teenage wasteland

5/09/12 10:31am

Painkiller Epidemic Doesn't Spare Teens

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Many teens get the pills leftover from family
members. Photo via

As many as one in eight US teens has taken pain killers with out a prescription, and many abuse these drugs at a much younger age than previously thought, according to a new survey asking young people about their use of opioids (oxycontin, codeine, and other prescription painkillers). Of the 7,400 students surveyed, 13% admitted to using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons: either self-prescribing for pain, or to get high. "The non-medical use of controlled medications in (teens) has surpassed almost all illicit drugs except for marijuana," said Dr. Robert Fortuna, pediatrician from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "It's just an alarming trend." Many teens surveyed had been prescribed pills for pain management in the past, and were misusing leftover pills for recreation. Others may have been given the pills by friends or family members who had been prescribed the drugs. Many teens who had misused opioids said they began as early as 16 or 17 years old, which is younger than previous research stated; this data indicates that anti-drug programs may need to target kids at younger ages—beginning freshman or sophomore years of high school. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 14,800 Americans died from painkiller overdoses in 2008, a rate which has tripled within 10 years.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

5/09/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 9th, 2012

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Beer-stealing and bar-cruising
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By Reina Berger

pain game

5/08/12 4:39pm

ER "Toothache" Pain 'Scripts Surge

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Doctors are caught between rock and a
hard place. Photo via

Dental patients in emergency rooms are fairly common, and with a new report from the National Institutes of Health showing that painkiller prescriptions for dental patients increased 26% in ER visits between 1997-2007, doctors now face a huge challenge: determining which dental patients complain of tooth pain as a ruse to get narcotics. According to a new analysis of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, painkillers were prescribed in three out of four visits to the emergency department for dental complaints during the survey period. “The overuse of narcotics is a huge problem, and when a patient presents, especially for dental pain, it’s difficult to make an objective assessment,” says Dr. Gail D'Onofrio, chairwoman of the emergency medicine department at Yale School of Medicine. “It puts the physician in a difficult situation to assess whether or not someone truly needs pain medications. We err on the side of treating pain, and it is a huge potential for abuse.” Doctors also say time pressures and heavy patient loads prevent them from using state drug monitoring programs to see whether a patient has recently received painkillers. But some states are looking into ways to crack down on this problem. Ohio Governor John Kasich announced guidelines on Monday to limit the number of pills ER doctors can prescribe—including no longer prescribing painkillers to patients seeking treatment for chronic pain, and limiting prescriptions to a three-day window.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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