facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Ask Jane

7/19/12 3:13pm

Could You Have Taken a Different Path?

Q: As an alcoholic, could you have avoided using in the first place if you had known better? Or is it something you had to go through in order to get better?

[Jane is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like. Send your questions to janevelezmitchell@thefix.com.]

1 comment | Add a Comment  

By Jane Velez-Mitchell

drug-related death

7/19/12 2:29pm

Cops Find White Powder in Sage Stallone's Room

Image: 

Cops are claiming Stallone was "too pudgy"
to be an addict. Photo via

The authorities who are investigating the death of Sage Stallone found numerous large empty prescription bottles and bags of white powder while searching his room. Although the baggies would suggest drug use, authorities believe a more "likely scenario" is that the son of Sylvester Stallone was dealing mass quantities of hydrocodone and not using at the time. They dubiously cite his weighthe stood at 5'7" and weighed 188 pounds on the day of his death—as the main reason for believing Sage wasn't an addict. One law enforcement source says, "He was pudgy, and drug addicts are almost always rail thin." Although authorities didn't find any hydrocodone in his house, they did find 60 empty prescription bottles that had held a minimum of 500 pills each. They believe that Sage could have been in possession of up to 30,000 tablets at one point that were likely shipped from another country. And while they're confident that the bags of white powder found in the room will test positive as ground-up hydrocodone, they are not making any claims about the bag's contents until the tests are done. Sylvester met with famed private investigator Scott Ross yesterday, who will be doing his own investigation into the death of Sly's son.

Add a Comment  

By McCarton Ackerman

addicted doctors

7/19/12 1:01pm

"Janus Doctor" Was the Stuff of Patients' Nightmares

Image: 

Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Hyde Photo via

Dr. James J. Scheiner, now 76, was an orthopedic surgeon for over 30 years. He spent many of them abusing the narcotics that were so readily available to him—and harming his patients in the process. He says that he looks back on his story as "a ruined life," even though he managed to get clean after being sent to prison back in the '80s. Now he's written a memoir about his two-faced existence—The Janus Doctor: A Nightmare of Drugs and Deceit—with a mission to expose just how many of the people entrusted with our health are jeopardizing it through their addictions.

Speaking with The Fix from his Maryland home, Scheiner recalls how, struggling against anti-Semitism and academic difficulties to get into medical school in the 1950s, he first took drugs to enhance his performance. While cleaning out the rat colony in the zoology building at the University of Cincinnati, he shared his troubles with a sympathetic retired professor—who introduced him to amphetamines. "To me, it was a wonder drug," Scheiner says. "Suddenly I was able to study for hours." But starting from his residency in Texas, and continuing long into his career as an orthopedic surgeon in Virginia, it was mainly opiate painkillers—above all, Demerol—that gripped him. He would inject himself three or four times a day. "You get this feeling of euphoria, as if you are omnipotent," he says. "Which most doctors have anyway... It's an occupational hazard; you feel as if you're a demigod!"

Having patients' lives in his hands didn't stop him. "I'd feel very alert for a while after I took it, maybe one hour," he tells us. "But then I'd have to leave the room mid-operation to go and inject myself again." Many times, he harmed his patients by causing infections: "When you use these drugs you start perspiring, and during surgery my perspiration would drip into the wound."

Some of Scheiner's colleagues knew, he believes, but he never got busted, thanks to a "vow of silence" in the medical profession. Instead, his practice dwindled as he botched procedures and paperwork, so he seized a lucrative opportunity to conduct clinical trials for a drug company. He was finally caught forging results and inventing patients to feed his habit, and sent to a federal prison for fraud. "I probably could have avoided prison if I'd hired a top-notch lawyer," he says. "But I wanted to go. I could see the damage I was causing and I wanted to go cold turkey." Despite the odds, he succeeded, getting clean in prison without any treatment or support group—apart from the unlikely combined influence of a "wise rabbi" and a "notorious Black Panther member." Scheiner thinks the medical profession's omertà extends to the medical boards: after his release, he was permitted to keep his license, and promptly appointed as head of orthopedics at a VA hospital.

Scheiner stayed drug-free for the rest of his medical career, which included posts in the Middle East and Africa. (Although the drugs he was prescribed after a painful gall bladder operation five years ago led to a year-long relapse.) He says he wrote his book because "I still feel very guilty over what I did, betraying a sacred trust like that, and I want to mitigate the hurt I caused." He believes that people need to be more aware of the risk that their own physicians are abusing drugs; his research in recent years suggests to him that around 15% of doctors do so—"and that's not including recreational use, the ones that go and get drunk, and are on call." He pauses when asked what it was like to be a "Janus" doctor, deceiving everyone around him. "Horrible," he says. "Just horrible."

Add a Comment  

By Will Godfrey

overage drinking

7/19/12 12:11pm

Senior Binge Drinkers Risk Cognitive Decline

Image: 

One is the smartest number. Photo via

If you're getting up there in years, you may want to adhere to a daily two-drink maximum, or risk losing some marbles. Older adults who drink heavily may be at a higher risk for cognitive declines that could lead to dementia, according to new research. A study recently presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver followed 5,075 U.S. adults (ages 65 and older) for eight years, tracking their memory and cognitive function via telephone survey. Results showed that the participants who were binge drinking (consuming four or more drinks on one occasion) at least twice a month, were two and a half times more likely to experience memory loss and cognitive decline. "It's not just how much you drink but the pattern of your drinking," says lead study author Dr. Ian Lang. "Older people need to be aware, if they do binge-drink, of the risks and they should change their behaviors." An earlier report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January found that one in six adults in the US are binge drinkers, and surprisingly, adults aged 65-and-over were the most likely group to binge drink. "Policymakers and public health specialists should know that binge drinking is not just a problem among adolescents and younger adults; we have to start thinking about older people when we are planning interventions to reduce binge drinking," says Lang. However, alcohol in smaller quantities may not be so bad—previous studies have shown that drinking moderate amounts (up to two drinks for men, and one for women) may actually reduce the risk of dementia.

Add a Comment  

By Valerie Tejeda

Legalization of Marijuana

7/19/12 10:52am

Morgan Freeman Slams Pot Prohibition

Image: 

Could you argue with this man? Photo via

Morgan Freeman has been a long-standing supporter of marijuana. He once referred to ganja as "God's own weed" in an interview, so it may come as little surprise that the actor has spoken out, vociferously, against the criminalization of pot. "It’s just the stupidest law possible, given history," he said. "You don’t stop people from doing what they want to do, so forget about making it unlawful. You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win! We could make zillions, just legalize it and tax it like we do liquor." Freeman has rarely held back during interviews in recent years. The actor told CNN's Piers Morgan last year that the Tea Party "is a racist thing" and gave a separate interview last June in which he claims that "we invented God."   

Add a Comment  

By McCarton Ackerman

Headlines

7/19/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: July 19, 2012

Image: 

Dangerous in the wrong hands
Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

Pages

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
the fix tv
Sober Living
Helping My Wife Survive Childhood Sexual Abuse

My wife revealed to me that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather. The process of healing has been difficult, but together we are working towards her recovery.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

Addiction News

Alcohol and Drug Abuse News Articles

For the latest addiction news, bookmark This Just In. From legal matters and celebrity troubles to addiction studies and recovery stories, this section features the hottest topics in alcohol and drug abuse news. We sort out the sometimes overwhelming world of addiction-related news and opinion and bring it to you conveniently in one place in an easy to understand format. News Junkie? Get a weekly hit of our top addiction news stories by signing up for The Fix newsletter.