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.
The speculation surrounding Whitney Houston’s recent death has been furious, and fellow all-star vocalist Celine Dion wasn’t bashful about joining the fray: “It's just really unfortunate that drugs, bad people, bad influences took over her dreams, her motherhood," Dion said on Good Morning America. “That's why I'm scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out,” she continued. “That's why I don't go to parties!"
- George Clooney Talks Cocaine Use and Teetotaling [The Daily Mail]
Hollywood star George Clooney says that he’s tried cocaine in the past, but it’s not really his thing: “I didn’t have an issue with it. I’m not a big druggie, not at all. Blow is completely a nonstarter.” His relationship with alcohol, however, is a little more fraught. “I drink at times too much… I do enjoy drinking, and there have been times in my life when it’s crossed the line from being fun to having to drink late at night for absolutely no reason.” Been there, George.
James Mee, the police officer who arrested Mel Gibson in 2006 for driving under the influence, has settled his long-running suit with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after, Mee claims, he faced anti-Semitic discrimination from his superiors. Celebrities really do make the best role models.
Star Magazine (via GossipCop) reports that Miley Cyrus’ salvia rips and stoner cake may not be the full extent of her partying; according to their source, her substance use has been escalating. “Miley has been partying and boozing a lot,” says their source, even citing fears that Cyrus might overdose. Another source, though, tells GossipCop that these claims are absurd, which we’re inclined to believe; a real drug addict would never be so careless with her public image.
Although perennially-frazzled Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kim Richards missed the taping of the show’s much-heralded reunion, a separate special interview with the former child star was taped and aired this week. “I’m an alcoholic,” Richards explained in the interview, later saying, “I drank to cover the guilt and shame.” Then again, if we had cameras documenting our every embarrassing foible, we probably would, too.
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The highly addictive painkiller OxyContin will soon be pulled from pharmacy shelves across Canada. Health professionals anticipate extremely dangerous mass withdrawals in communities in the northern First Nations reserves. In the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) an estimated 50% of residents are addicted to the drug; NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy says that figure hits 70-80% in some communities. Users are as young as nine and as old as 65. Last month, the Cat Lake First Nation declared a state of emergency due to mass painkiller addiction there. OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma has plans to introduce a new form of the drug, called OxyNeo, that's supposed to be harder to crush, making it harder to abuse by snorting or injecting—methods addicts use to achieve a quicker high. But Health Canada has still decided not to cover the new drug under insurance programs, having already pulled OxyContin from its Non-Insured Health Benefits Program. With restricted access to Oxy and limited treatment programs, it's feared that the addicted people of NAN will turn to other dangerous drugs, such as heroin, and that the epidemic there will worsen instead of being resolved.
- Marijuana Dispensary Group In LA Goes All Out For Statewide Pot Shop Law [LA Weekly]
- Addiction: It Retrains the Brain, Is Tougher On Women [Harvard Health Publications]
- National Guardsmen Face A High Risk of Developing Alcohol Abuse Problems Following Deployment [EurekAlert]
- Flies Get Drunk to Kill Off Parasites [Live Science]
- 5 Didn't-See-It-Coming Relapse Triggers (And How To Avoid Them) [Psych Central]
- TSA Finds Marijuana Smuggled in Peanut Butter Jar [Huffington Post]
- Video Game Addicts in South Korea Could Be Limited to Playing Online for Just Four Hours a Day [Daily Mail]
In a week when British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to create a fleet of “drunk tanks” and “booze buses” and set a minimum price for alcohol, a UK paramedic who's worked in ambulances on Saturday nights thinks he has a better idea: a drinking license. Writing in The Guardian, Brian Kellett claims that Cameron's proposals would simply be “wallpapering over the cracks” instead of dealing with the real issue: "The problem is that people drink, and continue to drink, because there are no consequences. I could...slump over into someone's front garden, a free [thanks to the UK's National Health Service] ambulance will arrive and take me to hospital... At no point will I have to talk to the police about being drunk and disorderly...Tomorrow, I can do the same thing again." Instead, Keller hopes to see a day when if you "prove that you are not adult enough to use a mind-altering substance responsibly then, much like someone who is too dangerous to drive, your drinking license is taken away." He believes this would help end the problems caused by Britain's legions of drunks, such as overcrowded hospitals and police stations, adding that the fines collected from unlicensed drinkers could go towards domestic violence support and alcohol treatment programs. "Suddenly, there are consequences," he writes.