A new generation of addicts is getting hooked later in life, with many senior citizens and baby boomers revealed to be "late blooming" substance abusers. A study conducted by the Hanley Center found that over a third of older addicts surveyed claim not to have abused substances until reaching their fifties. Depression and anxiety seem to be the major contributing factors, and economic trouble and the pressures of retirement may also put older individuals at risk. "Older adults face a distinct set of challenges as they enter their golden years," says Hanley Center Medical Director Dr. Barbara Krantz. “Without the proper tools to manage their emotions, older adults turn to quick fixes such as alcohol and drugs, creating the perfect storm for dependency." The survey found that while 78% of older adults reported a first experience with drugs or alcohol before the age of 25, 40% said they didn't become substance abusers until after the age of 48. "Many of these individuals have abused substances for a long time and that's why they require a customized treatment plan, which we offer at the Hanley Center, to help them successfully achieve a lifestyle that is free of drugs and alcohol,” says Krantz. In general, the number of elderly individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse and dependence is rising fast. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that the number of seniors who admit to using illegal drugs within the last year almost doubled between 2002 and 2007. And the abuse of nonmedical pharmaceuticals also increased from 2.2% in 2002 to 3.9% in 2009.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.