Sixth-graders in Northwestern Ontario’s Cat Lake reserve have put together a heart-wrenching list of reasons why their parents and other adults in the community should stop using drugs. “We feel that we don't know what to do to help you stop doing Drug,” they wrote as “Point Number Five.” Cat Lake is at the epicenter of a Canada's prescription drug addiction epidemic, with an estimated 70-80% of the town's adults addicted to narcotics such as OxyContin. Local government and health officials have been struggling to deal with the devastation wrought by addiction on communities across the country. Out of a population of only 700 in Cat Lake, local officials are collecting 500 needles a week through the needle-exchange program. Officials have put 172 adults on a list confirming them as addicts, and 250 adults are suspected addicts—everyone else in the community is either an elder or a child. The addiction to Oxycontin in this region has gotten so severe that health workers just assume their patients are using the drug. Since Oxycontin is no longer being produced in Canada, authorities are warning of a withdrawal crisis that they fear they are unprepared for. “We want you to stop because it hurts our family and we don't like it when we're angry,” says the children's "Point Number Four".
- Leaders Debate Cuba, Drug War at Summit of the Americas [CNN]
- New York's Smoking Ban Extended to 178 More Parks and Beaches [Daily Mail]
- Op-Ed: Heroin Vaccine Won't "Cure" What Ails Addicts [LA Times]
- Iranian and African Dealers Muscle in on Thai Meth Market [Bangkok Post]
- 99 Arrested at Coachella Festival, Mostly on Alcohol Charges [Redlands Daily Facts]
- Occupy Boulder Planning 4/20 Protest [Colorado Daily]
- "Drunk Goggles" Teach Prom-Goers About Dangers of Impaired Driving [Anniston Star]
A Swedish study has discovered that a significant number of women continue to imbibe alcohol while pregnant. The report, published on April 6 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that many female drinkers, including some with a history of binge drinking, continued to drink during their pregnancies, but in more moderate amounts. The study used data from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Studying the alcohol consumption of 2,264 women from a Swedish antenatal clinic, researchers found that before pregnancy, 89% of the women reported drinking regularly and 49% reported occasional or frequent binge drinking. During pregnancy, 12% of the women reported continued use of alcohol and 5% admitted binge drinking. Researchers found that the women with high AUDIT scores were more likely to report having continued drinking during pregnancy. Testing some of the women mid-pregnancy for biomarkers for excessive drinking, researchers also found that the alcohol biomarker values were too low to report. "While the AUDIT results suggested that a significant number of women continued using alcohol during pregnancy, implying a risk for fetal disorders, the biomarkers showed negative test values thus indicating only modest drinking levels," the report’s authors say. They plan further research in to the development of children who were exposed to alcohol in the womb
One addiction treatment program is trying something new: computer software to help recovering addicts improve their cognitive skills through online gaming. The St. Gregory Retreat Center, located in DesMoines, Iowa, believes computer games may improve brain functioning and assist in the recovery process. By logging into My Brain Solutions (or grabbing some of their free mobile apps), recovering addicts can not only play games that sharpen focus and improve memory; they can apparently boost positivity, self-confidence and emotional sensitivity as well. “When you are in an addictive world, reality changes because of drug use,” Brain Resource, Inc. CEO Gregory A. Bayer tells The Fix. “Self-control is lost because of serial problems and and inability to solve them, and loss of self-confidence comes with degradation of confidence and cognitive flexibility. The world becomes a lot narrower, and they become focused on a smaller world with smaller opportunities.” In one game, patients must catch bubbles with positive words—either a positive green bubble or a negative red one—to teach them to recognize opportunity and negativity that could be applied to any context. While the brain training technology has been used for employee wellness programs at companies like Cisco and Nationwide, Bayer tells us he's excited that My Brain Solutions is now aiming to help recovering addicts.
A 73-year-old Oklahoma grandmother was arrested Monday and charged with running a lucrative marijuana ring spanning four states. Police unearthed four pounds of pot and a semiautomatic weapon in Darlene Mayes' rural Craig County home, along with $276,000 in cash hidden in her mattress. Mayes claimed to be saving the money for her retirement fund; but cops believe she has been trafficking pot for up to two decades. Allegedly, she has been responsible for about 40% of the growing pot trade in the city of Tulsa and parts of neighboring Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. The massive operation was a family affair—one of her many dealers was her son, Jerry Dorsey, who was arrested Monday for possession with intent to distribute. "She was one of the tops of the totem pole in this area for northeastern Oklahoma," said Vinita Police Chief Bobby Floyd. "I think she was a big factor in the drug trade."
She’s not letting a little thing like a DUI slow her down: Despite being jailed (not to mention publicly humiliated) for driving under the influence last week, former teen star Amanda Bynes is keeping her nightlife as busy as ever, as she was spotted clubbing in Los Angeles for the second time since her arrest. Paparazzi spotted that while Bynes was trying to exit the parking lot, she drove over a curb. She was also sending a text at the time.
After Courtney Love took to Twitter to claim that Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl attempted to seduce her teenage daughter, Frances Bean, the younger Cobain struck back with an official statement: “While I’m generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn… Twitter should ban my mother.”
- The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson: Lower the Drinking Age! [The Huffington Post]
Photographs of underage Hunger Games star Alexander Ludwig leaving a Hollywood nightclub prompted an investigation by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. But the film’s male lead, Josh Hutcherson, says he thinks the drinking age should be lowered, anyway. “I think the age to go to war is 18, so I think the drinking age should be 18 as well,” he explained. Logical—but is it wise?
Despite her family’s best wishes, Whitney Houston’s 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, has reached an agreement with an as-yet-unnamed cable network to star in a reality show, with a deal to be finalized shortly. Sources claim that Brown was “impaired” during her meetings with the network to discuss the show.
- Is Jersey Shore’s The Situation Battling Sex Addiction? [Reality Tea]
As if Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino didn’t have enough problems starring on a show like Jersey Shore, sources are now alleging that he’s also sorting through sex addiction in addition to his rumored cocaine and prescription drug abuse. “He has a really dark side and a lot of demons,” a source said. Join the club, Mike!