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Druggy Life

7/12/12 3:20pm

Fame Could Be a Cat-astrophe

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That Darn Cat Photo via

Usually you have to get famous before your drug escapades become known to the world. Cat Marnell did it the other way around. The former xojane.com beauty editor began filling her beauty posts with references to her extra-curricular—and, as it turned out—intra-curricular drug-using habits, attracting legions of fans and detractors in the process. Jane Pratt, her editor, intervened. But instead of sobering up, Marnell left the site and promptly began penning a column for Vice—Amphetamine Logic—that skips the beauty stuff and allows Marnell to write about her true passion. In today's Daily Beast/Newsweek piece on Marnell, she wins applause for her bravery as well as concern that the persona she's created—and the fame that's attracted—is neither good for her nor for her followers. The fact is, addicts and alcoholics tend to have the shared, unfortunate coupling of tremendous self-obsession along with self-hatred. So it might very well be that the worst thing that can happen to an addict who's struggling is for them to become famous. The Fix has published a few pieces on the topic, but it probably can't be said enough: addiction and fame aren't all that different—they both freeze you emotionally at the age they occur, and it takes an incredibly strong constitution to not buy into the adulation that insta-fame can have on a psyche filled with self-loathing. And when the person becomes famous for the very thing that's exacerbating their self-loathing—say, Amy Winehouse for saying "No, no, no" to rehab—that can be the most dangerous drink of all.

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By Anna David

Pharma Spending

7/12/12 2:13pm

"Pharmerging Markets" Drive Rx Drug Growth

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Rx spending reflects a shifting global
economy. Photo via

Consumers in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil are expected to drive growth in pharmaceutical spending—meaning the global share of developed but stagnating markets like the US, Europe and Japan will drop. A new report released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Infomatics forecasts that global spending will increase by $244 billion (5-7%) over the next five years, with the majority in "pharmerging markets"—countries that will see more than $1 billion in growth over the next five years, but where per-capita GDP is less than $25,000. In these countries, rising incomes and generous healthcare policies are projected to allow more people to afford meds. Although the report estimates that drug spending will reach about $121 per person in China, for example, in 2016—still far less than the $892 per person projected in the US—the sheer population size of the developing world will mean any increase has a huge impact. In 2011, 20% of the global spending on medicine was in emerging markets—but that's expected to increase to 30% by 2016. Developing markets, on the other hand, are expected to see a 9% decrease in their market share over the next five years due to a surge of patent expirations and low-cost generic drugs—at least nine major drugs will be losing their patent protections this year in the US alone. Whatever growth is expected to be seen in the American market will likely be due to the new health care law, with drug demands rising as more people become insured. 

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By Gabrielle Wuhl

Message on a Bottle

7/12/12 12:57pm

South Korea: Let's Improve Wrong Drinking Culture!

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Read before drinking. Photo via

South Korean drinkers will now have a message on their bottles—warning them not to get rowdy after drinking. In an effort to crack down on an epidemic of alcohol-fueled violence in one of the world's booziest places, the country's biggest liquor company is introducing labels on its products this week that caution: "No more drunken violence! Let's improve wrong drinking culture!" Hite-Jinro will feature the message on all its bottles of beer and soju—a hugely popular distilled liquor that's cheap, accessible and 20% alcohol by volume. South Korean adults are the world's biggest hard-liquor drinkers, consuming 9.57 liters per capita in 2005, according to the World Health Organization. And a recent survey found that alcohol was a factor in almost a third of the three million serious crimes recorded in the past five years—including robbery, homocide and rape. An enormous 76% of public disturbances and 44% of domestic violence cases reportedly involved drunkenness. But cultural acceptance means that Korean courts tend to show lenience towards offenders who commit crimes while drunk. "We felt tremendously responsible for social problems caused by drinking," says a sales manager at Hite-Jinro, "and will help efforts to change our drinking culture to a more positive one."

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By May Wilkerson

Medical marijuana

7/12/12 12:02pm

Feds Target Nation's Largest MMJ Dispensary

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HCC's founders, Steve DeAngelo and David
Weddingdress Photo via

The federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries is now aiming at its biggest target yet. The government is looking to seize properties in Oakland and San Jose owned by Harborside Health Center, which is considered the largest and most high profile MMJ dispensary operation in California—and the country. Attorney General Eric H. Holder said last month that the government was only targeting large-scale growers and dispensaries that have "come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws, and going beyond that which the states have authorized." And US Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag believes Harborside meets these criteria—it allegedly has more than 108,000 customers. "The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need," says Haag. Pot advocates say the planned shutdown will harm those patients who truly need medical marijuana—and break promises made by the Justice Department to only go after dispensaries that violate state laws or operate near parks and schools. Harborside was also the subject of the 2011 Discovery Channel reality show, Weed Wars. "People are not going to stop using cannabis, they're just going to buy it in the illegal marketplace…on the streets," says founder Steve DeAngelo. "Why are federal prosecutors using their discretion to do something so profoundly destructive?" DeAngelo says he'll fight the Justice Department "openly and in public," and resist any efforts by landlords to evict the dispensaries.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Political Scandal

7/12/12 11:09am

Jesse Jackson Jr. Has "Mood Disorder," Not Alcoholism

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Jesse Jackson Jr. isn't an addict, after all.
Photo via

It looks like Jesse Jackson Jr. isn't an addict after all. Rumors about the congressman and son of Rev. Jesse Jackson were swirling furiously yesterday after reports of him entering a rehab facility in Arizona. But Jackson's doctor stated that his patient was "receiving intense medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery." Initial reports claimed that Jackson was receiving treatment for drug addiction, while NBC's Andrea Mitchell tweeted that he was in the facility for alcoholism. The congressman went on medical leave from his position on June 10, but didn't announce his decision until two weeks later. His office released a statement last week that he was being treated at an inpatient medical facility for "physical and emotional ailments" that are "more serious" than initially believed, but House Leader Nancy Pelosi repeatedly called for an update on Jackson. He is still under an ethics investigation related to Illinois' imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich, but has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Headlines

7/12/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: July 12, 2012

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Celebrity chef Cat Cora faces DUI heat.
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By Chrisanne Grise

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