Stats and sterotypes point the finger mostly at boys and young men when it comes to Internet addiction. But experts are warning that because of this, young women's web-dependence, which typically develops through social networking sites like Facebook, often slips under the radar. “[Young women] are always thinking about what's going on right now in the network,” says Bernd Werner of the German Foundation for Media and Online Addiction. “They use such sites to chat with others in their clique. There's pressure from within the peer group.” Werner thinks that many parents remain unaware of their daughters' online problems, believing incorrectly that this compulsion only affects boys. One recent German study indicated that 0.7 % of males aged 25-64 had trouble breaking away from social networking sites and games, compared with 0.4% of women. Despite that disparity, Werner suggests putting strict boundaries on your child’s computer use—regardless of gender—by limiting hours, placing computers in common areas rather than the bedroom, and not succumbing to pressure to give young children smartphones. “The signs parents would note for online addiction are the same for girls on social networking sites as for boys involved in online gaming,” he says. “For one thing, there's a loss of control. I can no longer control how long I stay on the internet.” Taking an interest in what your daughter is doing on Facebook is important, says Werner; red flags include when a girl begins to ignore personal hygiene, hobbies and friends.
- Salafi Muslims Attack Alcohol Sellers in Tunisia [Reuters]
- More Mexicans Seek Asylum in U.S. as Drug Violence Rises [Los Angeles Times]
- Maltese Employers Take Advantage of Incentives for Former Drug Users [Malta Independent]
- Women with Lifelong Smoking Habits Lose a Decade of Life [Examiner]
- Qantas Pilot Blames Asia's Black Market for Pill-Popping Passengers [The Australian]
- NY Drug Raid Nets 640 Marijuana Lollipops, Cash [ABC News]
- Alcohol Was Becoming "Life or Death" For John Goodman [The Guardian]
Just in case Halloween's ghouls and goblins don't terrify you enough, there's always the horrifying prospect of a big jump in boozing at this time of year—with the nation's monitored offenders no exception. According to data compiled over the past nine years by Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS), the producer of SCRAMx alcohol monitoring anklets, drinking increases by 20.4% on a weekday Halloween, and rises by a full 25% over the adjacent "party" weekend—ie, right now. The company bases its findings on a population of 258,000 offenders across 48 states who have been mandated by court or addiction treatment to wear SCRAMx anklets; the devices test their sweat every 30 minutes, 24/7. These numbers may even understate the general population's extra drinking: “If these are the individuals being monitored 24/7, every 30 minutes, and they know they're going to be caught and face consequences, you can imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren't being monitored," says Lou Sugo, vice president of marketing for AMS. "Drunk people generally make poor decisions, and deciding to get behind the wheel of a car is just one of the potential issues.” The roads are always haunted by drunk drivers around now, so the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration is running a Halloween Impaired Driving Prevention initiative from October 25-November 4.
Former tennis champion Chris Evert was known as the "Ice Maiden" during her playing days, but there's nothing chilly about her enthusiastic support for drug addiction charities in South Florida. The 24th installment of the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic kicks off tomorrow, featuring several former champions playing doubles with celebrities including Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, comedian Jon Lovitz and Real Housewife Jill Zarin. Matt Lauer, Chevy Chase and President G.H.W. Bush have participated in previous years. "It wasn't getting compassion and sympathy," says Evert of drug abuse and addiction issues. "I was an athlete; I had no drug problems, but that's not to say people that I love [didn't have drug problems]. We said, 'Let's be proactive.' I always believed that people make mistakes and everybody deserves a second chance." Since the annual event began in 1989, over $20 million has been raised for addiction-related charities.
Evert may have escaped addiction herself, but there was a timely reminder this week that many other tennis pros haven't. Current player Claudine Schaul, who was the flag bearer for Luxembourg at the 2004 Olympic Games, was arrested for trafficking cocaine. She says she sold the drug out of her car with two accomplices, one of whom was her boyfriend, while also taking it herself to minimize pain from ongoing injuries. It's safe to say that trafficking was her main source of income: ranked as high as No. 41 in the world in 2004, she's since fallen to No. 775 and only earned $3,650 in prize money so far this year. She admits that she was "scared but relieved" when police showed up at her door, but now faces up to 20 months in prison.
Ethan O. Perlstein, an evolutionary pharmacologist at Princeton, wants people like you to fund his meth lab. No, not the Breaking Bad kind—though Perlstein is a fan and uses the motif to pitch his project—but the science kind, to research how amphetamines, including meth, really work. Chasing government grants to undertake research takes a long time, and can also create a separation between science and the general public, Perlstein believes. “I actually think the antiquated and inefficient government grant funding model is the root cause of a lot of problems in basic biomedical research,” he tells The Fix. “Raising money on the Internet via social media or networks is an antidote because this open, interactive model forces scientists from the outset to make their ideas and hypotheses understandable in plain English," he continues," which then sets the stage for a sustainable 'inquiry, discovery, new inquiry' cycle.”
He hopes he can hit his fundraising target of $25,000, so he can figure out where in the brain these drugs mess around—which could then help us to to map out the brain's wiring and create new addiction treatments. “If our project gets fully funded, we will be able to perform experiments that have been long overdue in basic psychopharmacology research. Namely: where do amphetamines accumulate inside brain cells?” he tells us. “In the past, maps of where psychoactive drugs go in the brain have allowed scientists to develop models that connect molecular interactions to cellular responses to macroscopic behaviors.” Anyone interested in supporting his vision for amphetamine research and open science can check out his project page, Crowdsourcing Discovery, or watch his video pitch: