An Iraq war veteran who suffers from PTSD became the first person to make a legal marijuana purchase yesterday in Colorado. In a staged ceremonial “first buy,” Sean Azzariti purchased an eighth of an ounce of “Bubba Kush” and a weed-laced truffle, spending $59.74 at Denver’s 3D Cannabis store. He told news outlets that marijuana helps alleviate the symptoms of his PTSD and later tweeted that “today I was fortunate enough to be the first recreational cannabis purchase in the world. We did it!!”
The new legalized pot industry is now operating in eight towns throughout Colorado via Amendment 64, which allows adults over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana legally. Those under the age of 21 may not purchase marijuana legally, but will not face having a criminal record if caught by police.
Colorado residents over the age of 21 can now buy up to an ounce under the new regulations; non-residents can purchase up to a quarter-ounce. Driving under the influence of marijuana and smoking in most public places is still illegal, but officials in Denver ruled last month that city residents could smoke pot on their front porch. Marijuana advocates say they expect $400 million in sales throughout Colorado in the next year.
Marijuana tourism is also expected to grow in the coming months. One such company, Colorado High Life Tours, is expanding its private and public limo and bus tours, mixing sightseeing with stops at marijuana grow centers and glass-blowing shops. But while tourists will be able to sample the goods, they won’t be able to bring any Colorado bud home as a souvenir. It still remains illegal to take marijuana out of the state and Denver International Airport will soon enforce a new policy that bans pot throughout the airport.
A Florida judge ruled this past Tuesday that the state’s drug testing of welfare users is unconstitutional. Judge Mary S. Scriven struck down the law and said that "the court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.”
Gov. Rick Scott, who put the law into place by arguing that the drug testing was necessary to protect taxpayers and families, said he would appeal the ruling. “Any illegal drug use in a family is harmful and even abusive to a child,” he said in a statement. “We should have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use in families – especially those families who struggle to make ends meet and need welfare assistance to provide for their children.”
But even before the judge's ruling, Florida's drug testing had largely proven to be a flop. In April 2012, findings showed that only 108 out of 4,086 welfare applicants (2.6%) who were drug tested showed positive results. In addition, reimbursing the costs of the tests to welfare applicants who tested negative outweighed what the government would have disbursed to people who failed, ultimately costing the state $45,780.
Despite these results, Minnesota became the latest state to randomly test welfare recipients as of yesterday. Kansas will also begin their testing program in July. On the flip side, North Dakota and Virginia rejected measures last year to mandate drug testing for welfare recipients.
Experts are claiming that a 20-year-old study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health may have incorrectly claimed that medication was more effective at treating childhood ADHD than a combination of medication and therapy or even therapy by itself.
The original study involved treating 600 children with ADHD with one of four methods: medication alone, therapy alone, medication and therapy together, or nothing beyond any treatment they may have already received. Based on the conclusions of more than a dozen experts involved in the original experiment, the study’s authors concluded that medication was more effective than therapy.
Now some of those same experts are criticizing the results of the test, claiming that the original experiment focused on classic ADHD symptoms like forgetfulness and restlessness and did not take into account academic achievement and social adjustment. Additionally, a follow up paper reported that the conclusions of the study did not carry over into adulthood. The success of treatment “does not predict functioning six to eight years later.”
Dr. Peter Jensen, who oversaw the study for the NIMH, found that the families involved in the study preferred combined treatment. “They didn’t not like medicine, but they valued skill training. What doctors think are the best outcomes and what families think are the best outcomes aren’t always the same thing.”
Unfortunately, the study’s findings have been used by insurance companies to deny coverage for psychosocial therapy for ADHD, depriving children of what might possibly be the most effective treatment for the condition. The study has also been used to bolster the pharmaceutical companies’ already over-the-top ADHD marketing; currently over two thirds of American children with ADHD take medication for the disorder.
"I hope it didn't do irreparable damage," said Dr. Lily Hechtman, who co-authored the study. "The people who pay the price in the end [are] the kids. That's the biggest tragedy in all of this."
Regtect, a new drug to treat alcohol dependence, was recently approved for sale in Japan. Unlike traditional drugs for alcoholism, which cause symptoms like nausea and headaches after consuming alcohol, Regtect works in the brain by suppressing cravings. The approval of the drug is seen as a significant step forward for Japan's largely untreated problem with booze; drinking is strongly entrenched in Japanese culture and of the estimated 800,000 alcoholics, only about 40,000 get treatment each year.
Tomomi Imanari, whose nonprofit organization is involved in the prevention of problems resulting from alcohol and drug abuse, believes the biggest problem facing Japan’s alcoholics is the social stigma that occurs with non-drinking. “Japan is a pro-alcohol society difficult for nondrinkers to get along in,” he said. “However, if people become alcohol-dependent, they are accused of being weak-willed and ostracized from society.”
According to Susumu Higuchi, the director of the National Hospital Kurihama Alcoholism Center, treating alcohol dependence is done in stages. First, the patient must realize that his dependence on alcohol is a disease - something not generally recognized in Japan. Next, the patient is detoxed from alcohol and treated for withdrawal symptoms. Finally, the patient receives individual and group therapy in combination with drug treatment.
With Regtect already available in 24 other countries, Higuchi is hopeful that the drug will help curb Japan’s alcoholism problem. Regtect has been shown in clinical trials to increase levels of abstinence after 24 weeks of use. “From now on, we will accumulate clinical data and establish a more effective and safer dosage,” Higuchi said.
- Leonardo DiCaprio Talks About Preparing for Drug Scenes in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' [Refinery29]
- 'X-Factor' Winner Matt Cardle Thanks Fans for Support After Shipping Off to Rehab [SugarScape]
- VIDEO: Drunk Lying in Road Makes Narrow Escape [Daily Echo]
- Drunk Miami Women Give Fox News Lesson About Live TV [Huffington Post]
- Former 'Wild & Crazy Kids' Host Omar Gooding Pleads Guilty in DUI Case [TMZ]
- Recreational Pot Sales Begin in Colorado [Washington Post]
- 'Real Housewives' Star Joyce Giraud Under Fire for 'Too Thin' Comments [Celeb Dirty Laundry]
- VIDEO: British Drunks Fall Off Underground Escalator, Onto Train Tracks [Mirror]
One of the top DJ’s in Belfast, Northern Ireland, passed away last weekend from a drug overdose while hosting a two-day house party at his apartment. Gerard Mulholland reportedly died after taking “speckled Rolex,” a yellow ecstasy pill that costs about $3.50 each and is cheaper than a pint of beer in the country. Four other people attending the party were hospitalized and are still receiving treatment for similar drug overdoses.
Mulholland’s Facebook page was flooded with messages and photos from grieving fans after the tragedy. “Gerard was a true gentleman. Sleep well, the word is a little less shiny without you in it,” wrote one person. “I can’t believe you’re gone, you were one of the most nicest people you could ever meet. You always had time for everyone, such a kind man.”
Eight deaths throughout Northern Ireland in 2013, including seven in the capital city of Belfast, have been linked to the pill. Many of the speckled Rolex pills have been laced with PMMA, a bulking agent that causes the body to overheat. In response to the tragedy, SDLP councillor Brian Heading said he is making himself available to dispose of the drugs with no questions asked. Local community workers and clergy have also set up drop boxes where people can dispose of the pills which will then be passed on to police.
“It is clear that whoever may be supplying this drug has no regard whatsoever for human life,” he said. “But we need to get the message out there that there is no such thing as a recreational drug.”