Looks like you can believe at least some of the things you see on TV, research finds. When it comes to the war on drugs, substance abusers and dealers, shows like CSI: Miami and Law and Order play it close to reality by reflecting public opinion on the war on drugs and avoiding stereotypes about drug users and distributors. Researchers Johanna Blakley and Sheena Nahm at the Norman Lear Center at USC analyzed 49 hours of ten top-rated TV series with storylines on terrorism and drugs in 2010. Their findings showed that drug users were never arrested in storylines about the war on drugs, and that the drug suspects were presented as morally ambiguous or even heroic in some cases. And despite the predominance of minorities in prison for drug-related offenses, 65% of drug suspects in these TV shows were found to be white—accurately reflecting the fact that the vast majority of drug users (and likely offenders) in the US are white. Prescription drug abuse and methamphetamines were also featured three times more often in these shows than marijuana use. The full Primetime War On Drugs and Terror report can be found here. Here's a short video featuring the report's findings.
Pop singer Rihanna has demonstrated remarkably little discretion when it comes to tweeting pictures of herself smoking marijuana to her 17 million Twitter followers — so when MTV tweeted, “Yikes! @Rihanna’s marijuana photos from Coachella spark controversy,” with a link to a story about Rihanna’s drug usage, Rihanna was quick to respond, “Yikes…. @rihanna ran out of fucks to give.” MTV’s response to the Barbadian superstar? “Well played,” they tweeted.
A new wrinkle in the ongoing saga of Lindsay Lohan’s Nightclub Fights: Lindsay and her father, Michael Lohan, were just casually enjoying an alcohol-free evening at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood on Wednesday night, when Lindsay somehow got into an altercation with a woman who hurled a drink in Lindsay’s face. Does that count as a relapse?
- Taylor Armstrong: Drinking Spiraling Out of Control [RadarOnline]
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills earned headlines for the drug-addled behavior of castmate Kim Richards—but now another Housewife is coming under fire for her substance abuse: Taylor Armstrong. RadarOnline reports that after Taylor’s husband, Russell, committed suicide late last year, Taylor turned to alcohol to deal with her grief—and her drinking has escalated to the point where friends want her to go to rehab.
- Whitney Houston- and Charlie Sheen-Branded Marijuana Goes On Sale [Huffington Post]
A California medical marijuana dispensary came under fire this week for selling a strain of cannabis sativa known as “Whitney Houston”—alongside another strain known as “Charlie Sheen.” When reporters followed up, though, the drugs were quickly removed from the dispensary’s online menu. Maybe the proprietors at 45 Cap Elite Herbal Center realized what they were doing was in poor taste—or, just as likely, the good stuff just sold out.
Common knowledge tells us alcohol and livers don't get along, but new research suggests a little drink a day can keep hepatitis away for those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NALFD). The study—published in the online issue of The Journal of Hepatology—was led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Researchers were surprised to find that participants (all 21 and older, of course) who consume modest amounts of alcohol—no more than one or two servings per day—can keep NALFD from progressing into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and on into full-blown cirrhosis. It could be good news for millions of Americans with NALFD. “Our study showed that those people with modest alcohol intake—two drinks or less daily—had half the odds of developing NASH than people who drank no alcohol,” says senior study author Jeffrey Schwimmer, MD. “The reasons aren’t entirely clear.” Patients with NAFLD also experienced less severe liver scarring if they were moderate drinkers. Schwimmer suggests that even with such findings, doctors should consider their patients individually before suggesting any alcohol consumption. “For a patient with cirrhosis or viral hepatitis, the data says even small amounts of alcohol can be bad. But that may not be applicable to all forms of liver disease.” he said. “40 million Americans have NAFLD. Physicians need to look at their patient’s overall health, their CVD risk, their liver status, whether they’re already drinking modestly or not. They need to put all of these things into a framework to determine risk. I suspect modest alcohol consumption will be an appropriate recommendation for many patients, but clearly not all.”
The University of Colorado Boulder campus will remain closed today for 4/20, a judge has ruled, despite a lawsuit by marijuana activists. The University's decision was taken to try to prevent the annual pot smoke-out rally and demonstration. The pot-activists filed suit yesterday, but the judge ruled in the favor of CU, after a student, a professor, the dean, and CU campus Police Chief Joe Roy all testified. Activists believe the CU's closure is unconstitutional and violates their First Amendment rights. "CU's proposed closure of an entire campus to shut down an afternoon protest occurring on a small portion of the campus is without legal support or precedent," they state. Officials at CU say the 4/20 event in past years has attracted up to 10,000 people, and the closure is in the best interests of protecting students. "Because of the disruption that 4/20 has caused over the years and the complaints I got from staff faculty and constituents, we took this bold move to close campus," says Chancellor Phil DeStefano. Police officers are at campus entrances today, checking every ID to make sure no visitors get in. Anyone who makes it in without ID could possibly face jail time or a $750 fine for trespassing.
- Marijuana Activists Suing CU-Boulder Over 4/20 Campus Closure [Huffington Post]
- Teens Who Use Ecstasy, Speed More Likely to Experience Depression, Study Shows [CBS]
- Bloomberg Compares Smoking To Jumping Off Bridge; Number of Tickets For Smoking In Parks Jumps [Huffington Post]
- Cigarette Butts Are The Most Common Pieces of Litter [WALB]
- "We Smoked It All": College Football Drug Culture [ESPN]
- Building A Better Low-Alcohol Beer [Food & Drink]
- Rihanna Drug Use Photo Sparks Debate—Is It Marijuana, Cocaine or Something Else? [Twirlit]
In November 2008 it wasn't hard to find a bleeding-heart liberal high on President Barack Obama, but the trip didn't last long. After Obama eventually took office, reality set in and much of the euphoria faded. But that doesn't mean everyone has stopped getting high on the president, they're just doing it in different ways—with ecstasy, LSD, heroin and marijuana named after the commander-in-chief. A story in the Observer today reports that there are at least 26 different types of ecstasy named after the president. There's also a highly popular strain of medical marijuana that goes by the name "Obama OG." And heroin? Back in 2009 you could get Obama branded smack in Sullivan County, New York. Then there's the Obama LSD, which you could have gotten your tongue on in December in 2009. Oddly enough, there's one obvious omission from the list of drugs named after Obama—cocaine. After all, it was his drug of choice.