Earlier this month, star LSU cornerback Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu was dismissed from his football team for violations of the school’s drug policy—and over the weekend, it came out via Honey Badger’s father that the young man had checked into Right Step rehab, in Houston, to get a handle on his pot problem (including synthetic mary jane). Mathieu is being helped in his recovery by former Houston Rockets basketball player and NBA head coach John Lucas, who battled cocaine and alcohol addictions himself before getting sober. LSU head coach Les Miles, who took the Tigers to the BCS National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide last season—only to lose 21-0 to ‘Bama’s suffocating defense—sounded rueful but optimistic when discussing Mathieu’s case. “We have a simple policy here of behavior,” said Miles. “Consequences are pretty spelled out and defined... For Ty, it’s an opportunity for him to redirect. He’s still got a bright future. I think he can really accomplish all the goals he set for himself. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be doable.” One thing that’s now less doable, however—at least for Coach Miles and the remaining Tigers—is winning a national championship this year. Prior to Honey Badger getting the boot, LSU ranked No. 1 in pre-season polls. But after news hit that Mathieu was out, the AP did a do-over on the voting—and results released on Saturday revealed LSU at No. 3, trailing USC and Alabama.
Married couples often joke that their spouses drive them to drink, but a new study suggests that—for women—the claim is true. Sociologists from the University of Cincinnati, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University and the University of Texas found that marriage does often drive women to increase their alcohol intake—not because they’re necessarily unhappy, but because they’re influenced by their husbands' drinking, and men typically booze more than women. For a similar reason, men who are married drink less, because they spend more time with their less-boozy wives, rather than their drinking buddies. The opposite is true of divorced men, who are at a particularly high risk for alcohol abuse, the study found: three-quarters of divorced men said they drank more to cope with the pain of their marriage ending. But alcohol consumption among women decreased sharply post-divorce. The researchers examined large Wisconsin surveys from 1993 and 2004 about monthly alcohol intake, while also conducting 120 qualitative in-depth interviews over the past decade. "Some research suggests that men are more likely to cope with stressors in 'externalizing' ways (i.e., alcohol use)," writes lead researcher Corinne Reczek, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, "while women are more likely to cope in 'internalizing' ways (e.g., depression)."
A new synthetic drug has been wreaking havoc in Charleston, West Virginia: within a two-day period last week, eight people in the city reportedly overdosed and were hospitalized, thanks to a substance known as AM 2201. Originally thought to be a form of crack cocaine, AM 2201 is actually a synthetic cannabinoid that's been used used to coat the potpourri sold as synthetic marijuana. Dr. Elizabeth Scharman, director of the West Virginia Poison Control Center in Charleston, said she'd expect the effects of the drugs to be similar to other synthetic marijuana products like K2 and Spice—which could include extreme anxiety, hallucinations, vomiting and seizures. The effects of AM 2201 on these OD victims appeared to be immediate and included collapsing. “The reason they’re having such an adverse reaction is that they’re smoking it in pure form. If they were smoking it as K2, the chemical would have been diluted,” said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief detective for the Charleston Police Department. Predictably, these incidents are already being hyped by some media as the new "bath salts"—a substance that's already no stranger to sensationalization. Global Grind reported that the eight overdoses were in fact eight deaths. No such deaths have been mentioned by the Charleston Police Department.
The Real World got all too real when 29-year-old Joey Kovar, who appeared on The Real World: Hollywood and Celebrity Rehab, was found dead in Chicago on Thursday night. It's suspected that he consumed a possible combination of cocaine, alcohol and Viagra. Law enforcement officials say that Kovar’s eyes were blackened—a common side effect of a drug overdose—with a brain aneurysm the possible ultimate cause of death. A friend of Kovar’s also told police that she saw him take drugs such as Xanax and Adderall in the weeks leading up to his death. During his time on The Real World, Kovar left mid-season to attend rehab for alcohol abuse. He later appeared on Celebrity Rehab, where he sought treatment for addictions to ecstasy and cocaine. “RIP Joey Kovar my heart breaks. My love and prayers go out to your family,” tweeted Celeb Rehab cast mate Mackenzie Phillips. Even with evidence pointing toward drugs, Kovar’s family denies that he died from an overdose. “That is not what anyone is suspecting, my brother was doing very well,” says Joey’s brother, David Kovar. “Everything was going very well. The very, very last thing that our family is suspecting is drugs.” A toxicology report will be released in the next few weeks.
- Narconon Drug Rehab Report Prompts Church of Scientology Statements [Examiner]
- What Hepatitis C May Tell Us About Drug Use and Addiction [NPR]
- Marriage Curbs Men's Drinking, Makes Women Drink More [Counsel & Heal]
- Treating Addiction: Why Kind Love Beats Tough Love [Time]
- Ex-Drug Addict Now Helps Reunite Families [USA Today]
- The Privileged, Young Heroin Addicts of Orange County [LAist]
- Republican Congressman Scolded After Drinking and Nudity in Israel [ABC News]
Tens of thousands of marijuana advocates have been attending Seattle’s Hempfest since 1991, and this year’s celebration—which kicks off today—should have even more to celebrate with the upcoming state vote on legalizing marijuana. If passed this fall, the legislation would allow people over 21 to possess up to one ounce of weed. Surprisingly though, a large number of participants are actively campaigning against the measure. In fact, the debate has gotten so heated that the festival organizers are refusing to take an official side, for risk of alienating passionate employees and attendees. "It's painful and it's frustrating," says Vivian McPeak, director of the festival. "It's been sort of like navigating shark-infested waters." The organizers plan to ensure that both sides of the issue are represented at a panel discussion on the topic of legalization held during the festival this weekend.
Hempfest hasn't always been so controversial; in past years, attendees have united to campaign for marijuana ballot measures. But now that a substantial bill—called I-502—exists, the community is divided. Those opposed say the bill doesn’t do enough, since it won’t permit home growing except for medical marijuana patients, and recreational sales will only be allowed at state-licensed stores. In addition, the measure contains a DUI provision that could allow convictions based on THC in a driver’s bloodstream. "I believe that Hempfest should have taken a position against 502, and I think some of these national organizations who have come out in support of it have done so on a really knee-jerk basis," says Doug Hiatt of Sensible Washington. He believes the measure is a “ridiculous waste of time and money” because it only makes an exception to the existing laws, rather than repealing any current laws that ban marijuana. But advocates see the bill as a major breakthrough, and the result of years of hard work. "I'm actually sad that Hempfest isn't embracing this as sort of a pinnacle of the work that they've been doing for so long," says Alison Holcomb, campaign director for the I-502 campaign. "There have been so many people who have worked literally for decades to have a chance to begin to roll back marijuana prohibition...and this is the year that we can finally break through that wall."