The "drinking for two" phenomenon may be more prevalent than previously thought. One in 13 pregnant women drink booze, with one out of five of these women admitting to binge drinking, according to a study released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers examined data from 345,076 women aged 18-44 from a behavioral survey conducted between 2006 and 2010. Of the women studied, 4% were pregnant, and 7% of these women drank alcohol. A prior study from Sweden revealed a slightly higher percentage of women who drink while pregnant, at 12%, but in more moderate amounts—mind you, that study concerned women in Europe, the world's booziest continent. This study suggests one in five pregnant drinkers in the US consumes up to six drinks per session. "These results indicate that binge drinking during pregnancy continues to be a concern," write the researchers, led by the CDC's Claire M. Marchetta. The women who admitted to binge drinking while pregnant were mostly aged 18-24, and mostly did so three times per month or more. Unmarried women were also more likely to drink excessively. Back in June, five different Danish studies reported that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol while pregnant may be safe. However, the CDC contends that drinking any amount of alcohol while pregnant is dangerous, and can lead to conditions including fetal alcohol syndrome and birth defects.
Chalk it up to semantics, but either way, everyone’s mad after a cover story in GQ about Joseph Gordon-Levitt briefly mentioned the actor’s brother’s 2010 death as being the result of “an alleged drug overdose.” Gordon-Levitt quickly took to Tumblr to call the language “factually inaccurate.” The magazine responded that that the story “sought to be respectful—and brief—in the way it described his death” and that the publication “stands by its reporting, the facts of which are fully supported.” Either way, don’t expect to see JGL on any more GQ covers anytime soon.
Just because Jodie Sweetin is sober doesn’t mean she’s having an easy run. The actress, best-known for her role in Full House, has had her issues with drugs and alcohol well-documented—both by the press and by the star herself in her 2009 memoir unSweetined. She was in a serious car crash in Los Angeles in March 2011, and is now suing the other driver for $25,000, claiming that she suffered damage to her vehicle as well as loss of "earning capacity."
When Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested for DUI after a car accident last week, she initially claimed that she’d accidentally taken an Ambien instead of her thyroid medication that morning. Later, when her drug tests came back clean, she claimed that she’d likely had a seizure as a result of earlier neurological damage. Either way, she’s pleading not guilty to the charges—and she’ll probably check which pills she’s taking more carefully from now on.
Eighties rock stars doing coke? Hard to believe, but it’s true, according to Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, who shares intimate stories of the band’s hard-partying antics in an excerpt from his upcoming book. Now clean and sober, he says sobriety is an ongoing battle: “The addictions are still there, and keeping them at bay requires work.”
The media frenzy following Michael Jackson’s death made Dr. Arnold Klein a well-known name for all the wrong reasons, but he’s not disappearing from the headlines quietly. New reports have emerged claiming that the Medical Board of California has put the doc under investigation over his participation in Michael Jackson’s declining health, and they’ve now ordered him to see a therapist and undergo drug testing. The doctor is suing to find out why—but given that he’s filed for bankruptcy and had to auction off memorabilia to pay his debts, talking to a mental health professional might not be such a bad thing.
It doesn't sound like a fair trade to us: a San Francisco man has received a three-year suspended prison sentence on the condition he enter drug treatment—after swapping $10,000 worth of fish for just $400 worth of crack cocaine. Byron Bates, 44, was working as a truck driver for a seafood distribution company in October 2011 when he was asked to make a round of deliveries in Sacramento. That afternoon, customers began calling to complain that no deliveries had been made, and the company was unable to reach Bates by phone. The truck was found abandoned in Oakland four days later, containing a few remaining, rotting pieces of fish, and Bates was ultimately arrested in South San Francisco. He'd performed the notable feat of persuading a drug dealer to accept payment in fish. The San Mateo Superior Court judge said she chose not to send him to prison because his crime was non-violent, he showed remorse and his "theft-related conduct was driven by addiction." Bates—who wept as he told the court, "I just feel a lot of guilt right now"—has been accepted into the Delancey Street Foundation's addiction recovery program in San Francisco, and vows to turn his life around.
The death of an extreme teen gamer is sparking concern over gaming addiction in Taiwan. An 18-year-old boy identified as Chuang died after reportedly engaging in a 40-hour online gaming marathon with no food or sleep. He had booked a room at an Internet cafe in order to play the highly anticipated game Diablo III. After a cafe employee checked on him when he seemed to be lying lifelessly on a table, Chuang apparently took a few steps, collapsed, and was rushed to the hospital. He was pronounced dead after arrival and health officials suspect that he suffered from blood clots. Deaths from gaming are rare, but can happen when obsessed players ignore the body’s need for food, sleep and movement. Asia seems to have particular problems: last year a 30-year-old Chinese man died after playing video games for three days straight with no sleep and only small amounts of food and water, and another gamer suffered a fatal heart attack while playing League of Legends in an internet cafe in Taipei this year. There have even been reports that some young men in China are turning to prostitution to support online gaming habits. Concerns for young players in South Korea led to the recent introduction of a law mandating built-in parental controls on video games.
- Marijuana Use Before Pregnancy Doubles the Risk of Premature Birth [Medical Daily]
- Drug Decriminalization Decreases Number of Addicts in Portugal [Global Post]
- 1 in 13 Pregnant Women Say They Drink Alcohol [Los Angeles Times]
- Lack of Rehab for Sex Offenders [The Guardian]
- Britain: Charges Over Heiress' Death [New York Times]
- Nathan Hindmarsh's $200,000 Gambling Addiction [FOX]
- Russell Brand: Back to Days of Sex Addiction Post-Divorce [US Weekly]
As if getting clean wasn’t tough enough already, recovery patients in Utah will soon not be allowed to smoke cigarettes in rehab. The state’s Recovery Plus initiative will require all substance abuse and mental health treatment facilities that receive public funding to be tobacco-free by next March. Some centers, like adult detoxification center Volunteers of America (VOA), have implemented the ban ahead of schedule, and they are finding a significant number of clients are having a more difficult time completing the program. "The cigarette thing almost made me walk out," says Dusti Benavidez, a patient at VOA. “I understand we have to climb a mountain to get clean. Can we climb one mountain at a time?" Patients who smoke prior to admittance are provided with nicotine replacement therapy and education. Even still, the impact of the ban will be felt by a significant amount of people; about 66% of those in substance abuse programs are smokers, according to Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Many clients have already left the detox prematurely, and therefore not receiving assessments for admission to treatment programs, according to VOA residential service director Andrew Johnston. “We’re waiting to see if our numbers rebound to previous levels,” he says. If the number of clients continues to drop, the center may ask the state to waive the ban.
Despite the struggle, research shows that kicking the habit during detox may be worth it, as people who give up smoking during treatment have a 25% better chance of long-term abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Treatment providers are especially eager to promote health and wellness in the state, as Utah clients with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues tend to have a life span that’s 29 years shorter than the general population. “We have a responsibility to view ourselves as health care providers," says Rick Hendy, program administrator of adult mental health for the state Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Utah clinics are not the only place to enforce smoking bans; a Texas rehab center voluntarily kicked out tobacco just a few months ago, and New York and New Jersey have made all rehab facilities entirely smoke-free.