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Recovery events

10/01/12 11:05am

Vancouver's Addicts Rally for Recovery


The recovery rally was held at the Vancouver
Art Gallery on Sunday. Photo via

The Vancouver Art Gallery was chock-full of hundreds of recovering addicts and their families and allies on Sunday afternoon, rallying to show support for addicts who have not yet received treatment and to push the government for more substance abuse programs. As part of Canada's first ever Recovery Day, recovering addicts shared their personal stories with the crowd, many of whom donned sweaters that said “sober” and some carrying posters reading “recovery saved my life.” “The message is: recovery works,” said rally organizer David Berner. “If you or someone in your family is in a disaster of addiction and alcoholism, get yourself to a program because millions of people are cleaning up.” The rates of teen drug use in British Columbia are alarming, much like in the US, with statistics suggesting that young people who struggle with substance abuse are first experimenting with drugs and alcohol as early as 11 years old. “Youth addicted to drugs... are disproportionately likely to commit crimes. From my personal research and my time in policing of 31 years, this is quite evident and it continues to be a significant problem that we are not addressing,” said former Solicitor General Kash Heed who is a strong proponent of implementing recovery programs for youth. “The monetary value of saving one high-risk youth from a lifetime of crime puts the number [up to] $2.6 million to $4.4 million." Statistics show young people who remain in treatment for longer than four months have an 80% chance of staying off drugs in the future.

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By Valerie Tejeda


10/01/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: October 1, 2012


Delicious Photo via

By The Fix staff

drug nostalgia

9/28/12 5:01pm

Cocaine for Snowblindness—and Other Antarctic Remedies


Chilling out after hitting (geographic)
bottom. Photo via

Before Facebook existed, those in search of adventure were known to strike out for the South Pole—but their carry-on bags may have included some items not unfamiliar to a modern-day drug user, according to Gavin Francis, a modern Antarctic enthusiast and writer. In his piece in the most recent issue of Granta, Francis writes that the men of Ernest Shackleton's 1907–1909 Nimrod expedition brought along an array of now-illicit drugs—not for recreational purposes, but for first aid. They cleared “snowblindness” by dripping cocaine into their eyes, stopped diarrhea with “chalk ground up with opium,” and cured colic (better known today as gallstones) with a “tincture of cannabis” mixed with a “tincture of chili pepper.”

Unsurprisingly, the effectiveness of these remedies was limited. Whisky, which they brought along for warmth, didn't protect the explorers from the harsh weather; one injured adventurer even went to his death by walking outside so his handicap wouldn't slow down his team. And when scientific curiosity alone wasn't enough to keep them trudging through the snow, they'd pop a “Forced March”—a pill made of blended cocaine and caffeine taken hourly. The only antidotes they stowed that are considered remotely medical today were aspirin and morphine. But despite carrying a smorgasbord of substances, documentation suggests they were rarely tempted to overdo it—in fact, they erred on the side of abstinence, even when it proved painful. In 1912, Robert Falcon Scott, commander of the doomed British expedition to the South Pole, refused morphine before starving and freezing to death in his tent. “[M]ust be near the end,” he wrote in his journal shortly before he died. “Have decided it shall be natural.”

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By Bryan Le

presidential Election

9/28/12 3:52pm

Pro-Pot Roseanne Barr Runs for President


Barr is for life, liberty and the pursuit of pot.
Photo via

Comedian and former sitcom star Roseanne Barr is running for president on the California-based Peace and Freedom Party ticket—and, unlike her higher-profile opponents, President Obama and Governor Romney, she's not waffling on drug policy. "Marijuana should be totally legal," the 59-year-old Barr said during an impassioned speech at Oaksterdam University, in Oakland, Calif., last night. She added, "We live in a free country, so it should be legal to smoke marijuana and drink." Currently working as a macadamia-nut farmer in Hawaii, Barr said she has a medical pot prescription for glaucoma, and has smoked pot for most of her life. During her speech, she allied herself with medical-marijuana advocates who have criticized the Obama administration's crackdown on pot dispensaries in states where they are legal; she also called legalizing marijuana the "way to end the drug wars and stop the monopoly of the subsidized prison systems." As the crowd chanted her name, some wielding posters with slogans like "Yes We Cannabis," Barr thanked them for "breaking through" the two-party system's "mind-control programming," and credited weed for encouraging free thought and helping people to "remember what is important."

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By May Wilkerson

Culture Flash

9/28/12 3:06pm

Reel Recovery Film Festival Kicks Off in NYC

If you’re itching for a cultural “moment” in sobriety, or if you’re merely a drooling fan of the sometimes haunting, sometimes vile, sometimes exhilarating genre of “Addiction Cinema," the New York edition of the Reel Recovery Film Festival starts today and it’s loaded with great movies. Kicking off with screenings of a documentary about troubled poet and musician Gil-Scott Heron and the drunkard’s classic, On The Bowery, the festival will then feature a discussion of the film with Robert Downey Sr

Founded in Los Angeles four years ago by native Leonard Buschel, the brains behind Writers in Treatment, the Reel Recovery Film Festival comes to New York for the first time this year, and the screenings all take place at the Quad Cinemas on 13th Street in Manhattan. Every screening will be followed by a talk with a filmmaker or a clinician. 

“The purpose of this festival, besides showing great films,” says Buschel, "is to help remove the stigma of addiction, but also to bring treatment professionals together. You look at the clientele and there’s a lot of clinicians, a lot of sober people, and about 10 or 20% are just attracted to these films. I call them 'on the cusp.' In psychology, it’s hard to look directly at your problem, but if you look at a reflection of it you can actually process it.”

The highlights from the seven-day festival include the documentary, Death of an Addict; the Danish english-language film, Love Addict, about co-dependency and, naturally, love addiction; a whole day devoted to women and addiction (Lipstick and Liquor, My Name Was Bess). There will also be a host of high-profile films, such as the cocaine classic Less Than Zero and last year’s demonic cult hit, Shame.

There will also be an evening of sober comedians and a round-table discussing trying to be creative after you get sober, hosted by William Cope Moyers, and including the New York TimesDavid Carr, Fix columnist Maia Szalavitz, Laurie Dhue, Maer Roshan and others.  

For tickets and more information, visit

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By Mike Guy

Jane Says

9/28/12 1:46pm

Debunking the Myth of the "Normie"

Reader's question: Do you think there are ways in which recovering addicts are at an advantage, compared to your average "normie"?

[Jane is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like.  Send your questions to]

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By The Fix staff


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