A disgraced Catholic Bishop busted at the Ottawa airport with a cache of 588 images of child pornography—some graphic images of nude boys wearing rosary beads and crucifixes—on his laptop told the court this morning that addiction to pornography was to blame. According to a report in the Ottawa Citizen, Bishop Raymond Lahey told the magistrate, “I have come to recognize that I became addicted to Internet pornography on a very indiscriminate basis. This was an addiction powerful enough that despite my own distaste for it and my own internal convulsions I could not break it.”
The prosecutor described in images and videos seized by police as Catholic imagery mixed with “disgusting” sado-masochistic scenes, including one of a male in “monk’s garb” using a paddle to spank a young boy. Lahey, who hasn’t been accused of molestation, is slated for sentencing on January 4. He faces a mandatory minimum of a year in jail.
A group of scientists is going on the offensive against “rogue” online pharmacies. In a commentary published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine, the group says that American doctors remain remarkably ignorant about the availability of controlled drugs online—despite the fact that prescription drug abuse rates now outstrip those of all illegal drugs combined except cannabis. Because online pharmacies have no real legal oversight, they write, it's up to physicians to learn to recognize the signs of and risks for addiction in their patients, and to educate them about the dangers of buying drugs in the digital Wild West. The warning aren't without risks. “It's a little like saying to a teenager who is looking to use drugs, ‘Don’t go to that part of town, because there’s a lot of drugs there,’” Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D., a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and lead author of the study, told The Fix. “But there's a subset of patients with addictive personalities who haven’t become addicted yet. They’re hospitalized for back pain, treated with narcotics, and have some continuing pain and they don’t want to bother their primary care doctor to get the medication. They’re not thinking to themselves they’re going to get addicted.” The issue of online pharmacies is part of a bigger problem, Jena says: “That is that physicians in general are not very good at dealing with substance abuse. It’s a complex disease—it’s not like we can say, ‘Your blood pressure is high, take this medication and your blood pressure will be low.’ We’re not really trained to identify which patients may be at risk and then treat accordingly.”
- Arizona Authorities Arrest Over 200 Involved in Massive Drug Cell [AP]
- Drug Poisoning Deaths Continue Climb in US [LA Times]
- EU Formally Limits Exportation of Lethal Injection Drug [Chicago Tribune]
- 70 Arrested in Yearlong DC Drug Sting [Washington Times]
- Feds Shutter Oldest Pot Dispensary in California [Mercury News]
- Man Dies After Eating Brother's Cocaine Suppository [TSG]
Scientists at Britain's National Archive were shocked when they opened a sealed package and discovered a gram of heroin that had survived almost 84 years in storage. According to the BBC, the package was part of a shipment of documents transported to England from Egypt's British consulate in 1928. when they discovered the 19 antique paper pouches full of brown-white powder, the Archives handed the dope-filled stash to London's Metropolitan Police, which is investigating its provenance. The museum kept a photo of the booty, which is now on public display.
Why Alcoholism Is Worse—and Develops Faster—in Women [Science Daily]
Alcoholism damages the female brain about three times faster than the male brain, according to a large new Swedish study. Women who had been drinking excessively for four years saw the same decrease in the “good mood” neurotransmitter called serotonin as men boozing for twelve. This discovery may help explain why the onset of alcoholism occurs later in women, but its negative effects hit them far earlier.
The New DSM-V: Caffeine Withdrawal In, Legal Problems Out [Medscape]
At last week’s annual meeting of addiction psychiatrists, the decade-in-the-making revision of the DSM-V—the “doctor’s bible” that determines diagnoses, treatments and insurance reimbursements—was the subject of considerable debate. The specialists proposed adding “caffeine withdrawal” to the list of symptoms in the chapter on addiction (which is officially called “substance use disorders”), given the surge in the number of ER visits related to the consumption of energy drinks and other carbonated soft drinks. Other proposed tweaks: adding “cannabis withdrawal,” increasing “tobacco disorder” criteria, including “craving” as a symptom, and removing “legal problems” from the criteria for alcoholism and addiction.
Hepatitis C Exempted from Chimp Research Ban [New York Times]
Last week the U.S. government announced that it will no longer support medical research using chimpanzees because as human’s closest relatives, chimps deserve “special consideration and respect.” Other mammals serve equally well, according to a new study, in all but a few exceptional cases where chimp use will remain necessary. One such case is in the development of a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus epidemic among people who use needle to shoot heroin and other drugs.
Jay Gray, NBC news correspondent, was arrested last week after reportedly getting soused with Joe Amendola, the lead attorney for Penn State coach and alleged child molestor Jerry Sandusky. A report by TMZ claims that Gray was one of several journalists invited by the press-hungry lawyer to watch a New York Giants football game his home, during which time, sources contend that Gray became thoroughly inebriated. Sometime after midnight a "smashed" T.V. reporter wobbled out of the party and was soon pulled over by PA State Troopers, who arrested him for driving under the influence. Both Amendola and Gray declined comment.