It's not just the currency that's in trouble; Europeans are dubbed the “world's heaviest drinkers” by the World Health Organization and the European Commission. People living in Europe consume almost double the world drinking average, downing the equivalent of 12.5 liters of pure alcohol a year, according to a new report. Central-eastern and eastern Europe are considered to be the heaviest drinkers, consuming 14.5 liters per adult per year. Central-western and Western Europe follow close behind with 12.4 liters, then Southern Europe with 11.2 liters and the Nordic countries with 10.4 liters. But the data specifically for binge drinking ranked Nordic countries the highest in that respect. The report also found that within the European Union—a confederation of 27 countries—alcohol accounted for almost 12% of all deaths in 2004 among people aged 15-64. That's equivalent to one in 13 deaths in women and one in seven deaths in men. "The alcohol-related burden on health in Europe is avoidable," says Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO's regional director for Europe. “Alcohol consumption has clear, recognized health consequences for drinkers, those around them and society."
An Indiana man is lucky to be alive after being found in a ditch over the weekend with a blood alcohol level seven times the legal driving limit, according to local authorities. James Henderson, a 28-year-old from Valparaiso, may have set a record in Porter County with an astonishing blood alcohol level of 0.552—compared with a legal driving limit of 0.08. Medical experts say that reaching a level of 0.40 brings a strong chance of slipping into a coma, or even death. On Saturday afternoon, a woman was alarmed after spotting Henderson lying on the side of the road in a ditch, with another woman sitting next to him. She then called 911; when she returned to the scene 15 minutes later, Henderson was lying there unconscious and alone, with several bruises on his body. The young man, who has a history of alcohol-related arrests, is being treated at a local hospital for alcohol poisoning. When he recovers he will most likely be charged with public intoxication.
- Kony 2012: "Drunk" Invisible Children Leader Joked About Stealing From $1M Grant [International Business Times]
- Obama's "Uncle Omar" Enters Plea On Drunk Driving Charges [The Hill]
- Jon Hamm Tells Mad Men Fans to Smoke and Drink [Yahoo! Entertainment]
- From Bones To Bent, Why Television Loves Gambling Addicts [Think Progress]
- Alcohol Guidelines Come Under Review in the UK [Medical News Today]
- One-Day Smoking Ban Proposed in China [United Press International]
- "Too Noisy" Engineer Stabbed With Screwdriver by Addict [Cambridge News]
Spain's unemployment rate is hovering at a staggering 23%, so the government is resorting to an old American stand-by to try and cure its economic woes: casinos. The envisioned “Eurovegas” would be in one of two locations in Madrid and consist of six casinos, 12 hotels with 36,000 rooms, a convention center, three golf courses, shopping centers, bars and restaurants. The driving force behind the project is American casino mogul (and Newt Gingrich megabacker) Sheldon Adelson, who is looking to invest $22 billion in the lofty endeavor. Of course, he's got a few conditions, including easing the nation's smoking ban to allow gamblers to smoke inside, and bending zoning restrictions in order to build skyscrapers. Adelson says the project would create 260,000 jobs, but the idea has evoked fierce opposition in Spain. Many Spaniards fear that the "European Sin City," which would cover an area equivalent to 1,000 futbol fields, could create a sprawling hotbed of alcohol, drugs, gang violence and prostitution. Others simple believe the plan would be fiscally irresponsible. "I think a casino would be a waste of brain power and labor,” says Juan Garcia, a spokesman for an anti-Eurovegas association, “and instead endorse an activity that has little do with research, innovation and development.” Despite opposition, the plan may prevail; the Spanish government recently changed hands from Socialist to center-right, pro-business Catalan nationalists who are more likely to support the idea of boosting Spain's economy with a skyward business endeavor, even if it is a gamble.
Two US Army servicemen attempting to get hired as contract killers for a Mexican drug cartel were arrested by undercover feds last weekend in Laredo, Texas, in the climax to a DEA sting launched in Jan. 2011. Sergeant Samuel Walker, 28, and former Lieutenant Kevin Corley, 29, believed they were meeting with members of the Los Zetas cartel to discuss murdering rival gang members and recovering stolen cocaine in exchange for $50,000 and drugs. Instead, the soldiers—one on active duty, the other recently discharged—along with a third suspect, Shavar Davis, 29, were arrested by federal agents posing as cartel members. A fourth suspect, Corley's cousin Jerome Corley, was shot to death during the arrests. The three surviving suspects are being held in federal custody and face charges for drugs, weapons and conspiracy. The Los Zetas cartel, considered to be one of Mexico's most technologically advanced, powerful and violent drug outfits, is based just across the border from Laredo. Cartel violence throughout Mexico is believed to be responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths since 2006.
It's a story as old as the hot guitar lick itself: Rock 'n' roller gets famous, gets messed up on drugs and booze, and gets sober—but after that, you never seem to hear much from him or her. Not so for several members of some of the biggest rock acts of the 1970s and 1980s, who are currently bringing the noise under the band name "Rockers in Recovery." Hailing from the Sunshine State rock mecca of Pompano Beach, the group includes guitarist Ricky Byrd, who played with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; former Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto; ex-Aerosmith guitarist and songwriter Richie Supa; and Todd Rundgren collaborator Kasim Sulton. The group, whose mission is to foster a sense of community among sober music-lovers, performs benefit concerts across South Florida. Last year, Rockers in Recovery put on three shows for more than 10,000 fans, including a set at the 12-Step Music Fest on Sugarloaf Key in November. This coming Memorial Day, the group will be performing at a picnic at Pompano Beach's own 1st Step Sober House. As Byrd sees it, the reason he's in the band "is to show people you can be sober and still have fun." Supa, sober since 1988, adds, "The whole lie about being a rock star and having to do drugs, we're dispelling some of the myths. I tell kids now, 'I used to be part of the problem, now I'm part of the solution.'"