If you were always terrified of clowns, your fears may have been prescient. The circus came to town in West Virginia when residents at Teays Valley Nursing and Rehab Center in West Virginia were subjected to an armed robbery from a man dressed as a clown and fiending for prescription pills and drugs. The bizarre incident began when the man broke through a back bathroom window while dressed in a clown mask and scrubs, wielding a gun and ordering a nurse to get down on the ground. Police say the suspect demanded pills and stole them from the nurses' cart before clambering out the same window he came in—presumably not wearing the shoes to go with his mask. The remaining patients and nurses at the center were either asleep or unaware of what was happening. Detectives have been interviewing and trying to get more information to crack the case, while the nursing home says it's taking extra precautions to prevent any similar incidents.
Texas state senator Jose Rodriguez has described a ban on alcohol at a hotly-anticipated boxing match in El Paso as an insult. In a letter to the officials at the University of Texas—which is hosting the June 16 fight and imposed the booze ban—Rodriguez, an El Paso native, writes that the policy "perpetuates the idea that our community is unsafe or that El Pasoans and other attendees cannot be trusted if alcohol is available." The middleweight bout, between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee, is expected to pull in over 40,000 fans, but has a troubled history—university officials nearly didn't allow it to take place at all, because of fears that leaders of the rival Sinaloa and Juarez Mexican drug cartels would show up. The cartels have now reportedly declared the event a "neutral zone." Sen. Rodriguez now wants the alcohol ban overturned, arguing that it implies local officials can't be trusted to handle security, prevents the university from making money, and promotes off-site drinking instead.
The smoking-cessation drug varenicline—marketed by Pfizer as "Chantix"—could help majorly curb drinking, according to a study of heavy-drinking smokers at the University of California, San Francisco. Study participants, who were seeking treatment for smoking (not drinking), were given either the drug or a placebo—and those who were given varenicline were found to have reduced their average number of drinks per week by 36% by the end of the study. A previous study at the University of Chicago on a smaller test-group also found Chantix decreased smokers' propensity to drink. Lead author of the UCSF study Dr. Jennifer Mitchell notes that taking the drug did not impact the frequency of participants' drinking, but it did significantly decrease the amount they drank once they started. A drug that effectively helps individuals cut back on alcohol consumption could be immensely helpful in reducing overall harm caused by alcohol abuse, says Mitchell: “If you currently drink seven drinks a night, and we can turn that into two or three, then you’re not only drinking at a level that’s going to harm you less, you’re less likely to harm others, as well. If we could lower the rates of drunk driving, spousal and child abuse and other secondary effects of alcoholism, that would be tremendous.”
- Mexico Drug Violence: Sinaloa Shootout Leaves 12 Dead [BBC]
- Driving While Stoned? Marijuana DUI Bill Gets Closer To Approval In Colorado [Huffington Post]
- 'Cinco de Mayo' Celebrated for Alcohol, Not History [Associated Press]
- New Alcohol Policy To Curtail Drinking for UK Members of Parliament [International Business Times]
- Student Drank Urine After DEA Left Him in Cell 5 Days With No Food, Water, for Smoking Pot [America Blog]
- Pregnant Adriana Lima Is Craving Beer – But Not Drinking It [People]
- Baseball: Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd Admits to Using Cocaine Throughout '86 Season [Chicago Tribune]
In Bobby Brown's first interview since Whitney Houston’s death—airing Wednesday and Thursday on Today—the R&B singer denies responsibility for his former wife's drug problem. Brown recalls having dinner with Houston and their daughter Bobbi Kristina, the week before the singer's death. "She had this glow about her that was just, you know, incredible,” he says. He assumed that "she must be doing really well, because she looked really well...She just looked like she was in a good place." When interviewer Matt Lauer asks how he felt about the cocaine that was discovered near Whitney Houston's body, Brown replies: "I was hurt… because me being off of narcotics for the last seven years, I didn't know she was struggling with it still. But at the same time...It's a hard fight to...maintain sobriety that way." He says he's saddened that people believe he was a bad influence on his ex, claiming that she was doing drugs "way before" they got together. In fact, he says, "I didn't get high before I met Whitney...I smoked weed, I drank the beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all. I'm not the reason she's gone." After all they went through, Brown still says: "I love that woman with everything that I am. And I believe she loved me the same way. We wouldn't have been able to make the most beautiful girl in the world without love. And that's the truth."
More and more teens are getting more and more stoned, according to a survey released today by The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The survey of 3,322 high school students shows the number of teens who smoked pot in the past month at 27%—a steep rise from 19% in 2008. The rate of heavy marijuana use has also doubled in three years; nearly one in 10 teens now get blazed 20 times a month or more—and this group is much more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs, like cocaine, meth or painkillers. But overall, teen use of "hard drugs" seems to have plateaued, and abuse of painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin has also remained stable. Not that parents of teenagers should chill out any time soon: "Dramatic increases in teen marijuana use, coupled with entrenched behavior of abuse of Rx and OTC drugs, puts teens at greater risk for substance use disorders, academic decline and other problems," warns Partnership President Steve Pasierb. He takes parents to task for complacency over substance use, warning that a little weed can pave the way for other risky behaviors: "Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can't wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy." The survey shows a drop in parents safeguarding alcohol and Rx stashes at home—and a spike in parents' own substance use. 15% of parents admit to using an unprescribed Rx drug at least once in the past year—that's a 25% increase since 2010.