- Hundreds of Out-of-Staters Find Comfort in Oregon MMJ Cards [OregonLive.com]
- Networking Fuels Painkiller Boom [Sacramento Bee]
- Murder Trial Highlights Alcohol Abuse at Colleges [Baltimore Sun]
- Cocaine Traces Found on Costa Concordia Captain's Hair Sample [ABC News]
- Remember Alcohol's Toll [New York Times]
- Drug Addict Racks Up $120,000 Road Toll Bill [New York Post]
- Wodka Vodka Continues Its Offensive Ad Campaign[New York Observer]
Partygoers in India have fueled a rapid increase in the sale of K-72 and K-76—party pills which contain cobra venom, reports the country’s Narcotics Control Bureau. The cobra venom is processed into a powder that can also be mixed with alcohol, enhancing sensations and boosting energy so that ravers can dance for longer periods of time. While party drugs like ecstasy typically cost 2,000-5,000 rupees ($40-$100) per pill in India, a pinch of K-72 or K-76 can set you back as much as 20,000-25,000 rupees ($400-$500). “After they drink, they get such a high that they don’t know where they are or what they are doing,” says Sourbah Gupta, an activist for animal welfare organization People For Animals. The cobra venom craze has met with protest from wildlife activists because cobras are classified as highly endangered in India. To extract a half-liter of venom as many as 100 snakes have to be killed—in violation of India's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and its Wildlife Act. Police are starting to take action, seizing a half-liter of cobra venom and five live cobras in New Delhi over the past week.
The Woodstock old-age home in the Netherlands might not have the youth and music of its namesake, but it does have the drugs. The center was opened in The Hague in December 2008 to keep elderly drug users off the streets and provide them with free room, board and methadone treatments. Treatments are optional—residents are even allowed limited use of hard drugs. “This is real freedom,” says 65-year-old resident William, smoking a ball of cocaine. “I like it here. Here there is no police watching you.” Home to 33 residents, Woodstock gives old-timers a chance to detox in a stress-free environment, but doesn't try to rehabilitate them. “In fact, our criteria state you can only get into Woodstock if you're over 45 and after a medical examination declares you are beyond rehabilitation,” says the home's manager, Nils Hollenborg. The center has helped to reduce crime in The Hague—a few years ago elderly drug addicts accounted for 9% of petty crimes, but the figure has since dropped to 5%.
This week is Children of Alcoholics Week, and a government report released yesterday says that one in 10 children in the United States lives with a parent who has experienced an alcohol abuse disorder in the past year—and many live with two addicted parents. According to researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 7.5 million children—about 10.5% of the under-18 population—live with an alcoholic parent. Of these, 6.1 million live in two-parent households and 1.4 million live with a single alcohol-abusing parent—1.1 million with an alcoholic mother and 0.3 million with an alcoholic father. The report is based on data from children throughout the US aged 12 and older, surveyed from 2005-2010. “The enormity of this public health problem goes well beyond these tragic numbers as studies have shown that the children of parents with untreated alcohol disorders are at far greater risk for developing alcohol and other problems later in their lives,” says SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “SAMHSA and others are promoting programs that can help those with alcohol disorders find recovery—not only for themselves, but for the sake of their children. SAMHSA is also playing a key role in national efforts to prevent underage drinking and other forms of alcohol abuse.”
Teen pop star Demi Lovato is known for being refreshingly candid about her addiction struggles. The singer, who is also a contributing editor for Seventeen magazine, has submitted a letter to the publication encouraging fellow teens to steer clear of alcohol and drugs. “‘Sober Is Sexy’ is my new motto, and it couldn't be more true! All you need to have fun in life is a great attitude and good friends,” she writes. “I've made a commitment to myself to live a happy healthy life the best way I know how and I want to spread the message that you don't need to do drink or do drugs to have fun.” Lovato then continues by warning that “innocent fun” can lead to bad choices drunk driving, and addiction. She also gives a shout out to the clothing line “Sober is Sexy,” which uses fashion to promote sobriety and support addiction treatment. The 19-year-old was admitted to rehab for “emotional and physical issues” back in 2010. She later confirmed she had been struggling with an eating disorder and depression, as well as cutting herself. “I basically had a nervous breakdown. I was really bad off,” she said. “My parents and manager pulled me aside and said, ‘You need to get some help.’ It was an intervention. I wanted freedom from the inner demons. I wanted to start my life over.”
Illicit drug use may be partly to blame for a fourfold increase in ectopic pregnancy-related deaths among Florida women in recent years, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida's death rate from ectopic pregnancy was similar to the national rate at 0.6 deaths per 100,000 births from 1999-2008, with 13 deaths recorded in total. But that figure jumped to 2.5 deaths per 100,000 births in 2009-2010, with 11 recorded deaths during that period. The proportion of deaths caused by ectopic pregnancies in the state soared from 3.5% of all pregnancy-related deaths to 10.8%. Several of the 11 women who died from ectopic pregnancies in Florida during 2009-2010 tested positive for illicit drug use, including cocaine. "This is the first report of an abrupt increase in ectopic pregnancy deaths identified in the United States in recent times," note the researchers. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. It can result in the mother's death from hemorrhage due to rupture.