It's a miracle most of them are still alive, but the founding members of Guns N' Roses—minus Axl Rose—took the stage in Cleveland this weekend to accept the honor of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Singer Myles Kennedy, who performs with Slash’s solo band and with Alter Bridge, took the mic for a three-song GnR set: "Mr. Brownstone," "Sweet Child O’ Mine" and "Paradise City." “I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight because it’s about the music that the band created," said former bassist Duff McKagan, who played in the band from 1985-1997. The band's excesses in their heyday were so notorious that they ended up being encapsulated in a 2004 Behind The Music special. McKagan's extreme alcoholism saw him going from drinking a gallon of vodka per day to ten bottles of wine, as a means of "tapering off," ultimately leading to his pancreas bursting in 1994 at the age of 30. He's stayed sober since. Drummer Steven Adler's heroin addiction ultimately got him fired from the band in 1991; a particularly potent speedball in 1996 led to a stroke and temporary paralysis of the left side of his face, resulting in a speech impediment. His efforts to get clean were documented by stints on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and and Sober House (he was arrested on the latter for being under the influence of heroin). And while fellow drummer Matt Sorum managed to keep his drug use out of the public eye, he claims he did more drugs than Adler at his peak. Meanwhile, Slash has stayed sober since entering rehab to tackle his drinking problem—and says he's a better guitarist as a result.
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."