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Addiction TV

4/16/12 4:00pm

Video: Nurse Jackie Checks Into Rehab


Nurse Jackie with her new rehab ally.
Photo via

On last night’s episode of the Showtime dramedy Nurse Jackie, now in its fourth season, the pill-popping RN Jackie Peyton finally checked into a treatment facility—and promptly decided, in classic addict fashion, that pretty much everyone else in the place was nuts, including an older woman who gets off on clowns. (Perhaps a fair assessment, there.) It’s an experience that Edie Falco, who plays Nurse Jackie, likely didn’t have to dig too deep to identify with: the actress—of Carmela Soprano fame—is herself a real-life recovering alcoholic. In the episode, Jackie bonds with an unlikely confidant: a green-haired kid played by Jake Cannavale, son of actor Bobby Cannavale (also on the show), who is the only one willing to take Jackie to task for how she acts during group therapy. According to Falco, her character and the punk kid are going to grow closer over the course of the season, which makes sense. “On some level, addicts are ageless and they all understand what it's like to be at the mercy of this stuff, so he's a real compadre,” Falco tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They want to help each other." Here's a trailer for the episode:

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By Hunter R. Slaton

choking game

4/16/12 2:57pm

Kids Choke Themselves to Get High


The "choking game" is not child's play. Photo via

Kids these days may be turning to more than drugs to get high: many are reportedly playing the "choking game," and those who do are more likely to engage in other "risky" activities including sex, substance abuse and gambling, according to a new study by Oregon Health Authority in Portland . The treacherous activity involves using a belt or rope around the neck to limit oxygen flow to the brain; releasing the pressure can result in a euphoric "high" feeling as blood rushes back to the brain. The study of 5,300 middle schoolers revealed that 22% of them had heard of the game, and 6% had tried it. Boys and girls were equally likely to have participated, and of those who had taken part, 64% admitted to choking themselves multiple times. The study also showed that sexually active girls were four times more likely to have played the game, and girls who had gambled were twice as likely. Of the boys surveyed, those who had used alcohol recently were four times more likely to have choked themselves. The findings suggest that exhibiting these other risky behaviors may indicate a child's increased likelihood to try choking—and vice versa. Doctors are advised to look out for signs of the activity, such as red markings around the neck. And both pediatricians and parents should warn teens about the dangers of the activity, which is responsible for at least 82 known child deaths between 1995 and 2007.

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By May Wilkerson

Afghan trafficking

4/16/12 1:01pm

Iran Blames US and NATO for Afghan Drug Problem


Iran's Ebrahim Rayeesi rounded on
the US and NATO. Photo via

Iran has predictably blamed the US and NATO for Afghanistan's drug trafficking problems, which have seen an alleged 40-fold increase in drug production since the US took over the country in 2001. Iran's Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said that outside interference in resolving a regional problem is unnecessary, and that only Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to settle the issue. "The main reason for the considerable increase in narcotics is the presence of foreign forces, specially the US and the NATO and today drug production and trade are done under the control and supervision of the Americans," said Rayeesi. His comments were reported by the Iran-based Fars News Agency, described by CNN and Reuters as a "semi-official news agency with ties to the government," and claimed by the Wall Street Journal to be affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Afghanistan is world's biggest opium producer. Over the past five years, its neighbor Iran, a favored transit route for heroin heading to Europe, has contributed more than $50 million per year to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.

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By McCarton Ackerman

recovery community

4/16/12 12:28pm

Dispatches From the Hispanic Al-Anon/ Alateen Convention


Fellowship for friends and families of
problem drinkers Thinkstock

Smiling faces and laughter filled Chicago's Midway Marriot Hotel over the weekend, as more than 300 Spanish-speaking members from across the US took part in this year’s XIX National Hispanic Al-Anon/Alateen Convention. The theme for these families and friends of problem drinkers was “The Winds of Experience, Strength and Hope.” The convention’s founder, Mirta S., stated “Our convention has two purposes: One—to carry the message in the Latin community to those affected by someone’s drinking; and Two—to unify the Hispanic groups in the United States. Watching this convention grow and seeing newcomers arrive is the greatest gift.” Gloria C., Public Outreach Coordinator for the national convention, tells The Fix: "On a national level, we are working hard to reach our Latino communities via Latino newspapers, festivals, and on TV interviews." On Friday, she and other representatives met with staff at the Mexican Consulate, where an average of 1,000 Mexican Americans visit daily. "The outcome was excellent—we are on our way to having local Al-Anon members offer free literature and meeting lists," she says. "This will benefit many in the Latino community.” Mirta S. is also pleased with the event: “Knowing that at least one person has reached out for help, means one family has renewed hope at a second chance.” The 2013 convention goes to New Mexico.

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By Elizabeth Santeramo

Rock 'n' Roll

4/16/12 11:32am

Guns N' Roses Enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


McKagan, Sorum, Adler—and Slash
at the weekend Photo via

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.

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By McCarton Ackerman

prescription drug abuse

4/16/12 10:56am

Kids Pen Plea to Pill-Popping Parents


Many Cat Lake homes like this one are sparse,
since addicts will sell furniture to fund their habit.
Photo via

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 addictseveryone 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".

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By Valerie Tejeda


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