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Sexuality and addiction

8/23/12 11:00am

Substance Abuse Higher Among Lesbians

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Is homophobia linked to substance abuse?
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Bisexual and gay women are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drug use and binge drinking, claims new research from Australia’s Curtain University. Of the 900 lesbian or bisexual women surveyed, whose average age was 26, illegal and legal drug use was found to be higher among this group than in the general public—about half admitted to drinking more than Australian national guidelines recommend, and one-third admitting to binge drinking. “In the six months prior to the survey nearly half of the women had used an illicit drug—36% had used cannabis, 18% ecstasy and 16% speed... these figures are higher than the broader community," says researcher Jude Comfort. “The findings all help in building a picture of the community and provide direction to work with this community to improve their health.”  The report also showed that 35% of the women surveyed had experienced some form of anti-gay bullying or intolerance in the year prior to the survey, and 20% had experienced violence from a female partner. According to Comfort, domestic violence among lesbian couples is something that's rarely discussed, and health promotion, prevention, and intervention programs are lacking in this community as well. “While health promotion has made significant gains in some issues at the broader community level it appears these messages have been less successful in achieving positive health behavior in this group of women,” says Comfort, who hopes this study will help establish the need for future public health programs targeted to bisexual and lesbian women.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

8/23/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: August 23, 2012

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Now a smoke-free family. Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

Courtney Love

8/22/12 4:44pm

Courtney Love's Ex-Attorney Makes Drug, Libel Claims

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"Couldn't refrain from substance abuse."
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Courtney Love could face stiff penalties for a no-show at a deposition in New York at 9:30 am tomorrow. "She runs the risk of sanctions,” says Frederic Gordon, who represents Love's ex-attorney Rhonda Holmes in her libel suit against Love, which also contains substance abuse allegations. “We went to the trouble to go to New York," Gordon tells The Fix. "If she doesn't show up, she'll have to come to Los Angeles. We are left with the expenses and she should have to pay."

Holmes represented Courtney from late 2008 to spring 2009 over allegations made by the singer relating to fraud and stolen property. She was replaced by Keith A. Fink (who filed suit against Courtney himself this year for non-payment). But Love became unhappy with Fink and tried to return to Holmes in fall 2009. Holmes states in her complaint that one reason she decided not to represent Love again was "Due to the lack of any indication Love would honor the condition to refrain from substance abuse for at least the duration of Plaintiff's and Love's attorney-client relationship."

The complaint alleges that Love then "became angry and vengeful toward Plaintiffs for their refusal to represent her, and Love therefore in retaliation against Plaintiffs, published malicious, false and libelous statements, using her fame and influence to reach millions of people in an attempt to cause irreparable damage to Plaintiffs' business, name and reputation." This includes a claim that Love libeled Holmes on Twitter by saying the attorney had taken bribes and disappeared: “I was fucking devastated when Rhonda J. Holmes of San Diego was bought off. Perhaps you can get a quote,” Love tweeted in 2010. A month later she told she told the New York Post, “They got to her. She’s disappeared.”

Speaking with The Fix, Frederic Gordon describes Love’s public outcries as "despicable," and full of falsehoods. “Courtney is a woman who doesn't think she has to act by the same rules," he says. "It's denigrating to others. She lives her life as though she's outside the boundaries and rates. She doesn't rate. Her self-destructive, outrageous behavior, from rants to raves about everything—it’s to her own self-gratification. She’s so self-absorbed, she thinks to 'what is useful for me?'" He adds, “I don’t believe that people who are celebrities like Courtney can act by their own rules.”  

Love has no legal representation in Los Angeles Superior Court for three cases filed against her, including non-payment to and abuse of former assistant Jessica Labrie. But she recently hired Kenneth Freundlich of Encino, CA to represent her in three outstanding cases against her in New York Supreme Court, including loss or theft of jewelry and non-payment to a hotel and a security company. Courtney Love responded to The Fix's request for comment with the threat of a temporary restraining order.

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By Carmela Kelly

drunk brain

8/22/12 4:10pm

Drunk Brains Forget Facts But Not Feelings

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Booze can make you forget, for better or worse.
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Alcohol is known to make you forget things, but a new study shows that it only impairs your explicit or conscious memory, while your implicit—or unconscious—memory remains intact. Implicit memory is when previous experiences help condition your response to something, "priming" you to respond the same way in the future—for example, learning to play pool or pulling your hand away from an open flame. Explicit memories, on the other hand, are the conscious recollection of a past event—and include remembering someone's name, a childhood visit to the zoo or the time of a dental appointment. The study, conducted by Suchismita Ray, a professor at the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, examined individuals' ability to retain memories while sober or intoxicated, and found that even a drunk brain retains implicit memory—particularly when those memories are more emotionally charged. "Alcohol dampens overall emotional reactivity, but the brain still allocates more neural resources for emotional cues compared to neutral ones," says Ray. "And with good reason—emotional memories are important for survival." So after a night of heavy drinking—even if you don't remember the bouncer dragging you out of the bar—the next time you walk by that establishment, you may still feel a sense of humiliation and dread.

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By May Wilkerson

College Drinking

8/22/12 3:26pm

Brooklyn College is "Stone Cold Sober"

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Fletcher goes to school to learn Photo via

In stark contrast to the party animals at WVU and elsewhere, Brooklyn College just came in seventh out of 377 schools as a top "stone cold sober" campus on the Princeton Review's national list. The survey also found that the school boasts the fifth lowest amount of beer consumption, the fourth lowest liquor consumption and 12th lowest weed consumption. Officials say the student demographics, commuter culture, and busy schedules all lend to a non-party atmosphere, and most students are fine with that. “There’s no frat house around here,” says student Arrion Fletcher. “I just come here, go to school and jet out. I think a lot of people do the same thing.” Students at Brooklyn College tend to be a little older than the traditional, fresh out of high school crowd, and many work at least one job. “Our campus is comprised of a student body that is very focused and here to earn a degree," says school spokesman Jeremy Thompson. "We all let our hair down sometimes, but it’s just not done here through the use of alcohol and marijuana.”

Teachers find this a blessing; journalism professor Ron Howell says no one has ever come to his class under the influence, and the worst he sees are stressed chain-smokers: “You don’t see beer cans, you don’t smell liquor around here—not even late in the evenings.” And most students approve: "This is a place to learn—it's not a bar,” says Francheska Brown. “I'm glad the campus is the way it is. I don't want to smell weed while I'm going to class." Of course, there are always some hoping for a more Animal House-style experience. “When school is out everyone should be smoking weed and doing whatever they want. It’s college,” claims student Ricky Telfort. “Everyone I know goes to class and goes home and that’s wack.”

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By Chrisanne Grise

teenage wasteland

8/22/12 2:20pm

Teen Drinking and Smoking May Predict Rx Abuse

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Future pill poppers? Photo via

New research highlights a link between smoking and drinking in your teens, and painkiller abuse in adulthood. The Yale University study, to be published in the upcoming issue of Journal of Adolescent Health, collected data from 18-25 years olds, using the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006-2008. Of the young adults surveyed, 12% said they were currently abusing prescription opioids—and of this group, 57% said they had abused alcohol as teens, 56% had smoked cigarettes, and 34% had used marijuana. “About 3.5 million young adults abuse prescription opioids, and this number is growing," says study lead author Dr. Lynn Fiellin, associate professor of medicine at Yale. Researchers also found that these correlative behaviors were different between genders: among women, only marijuana was linked to abusing prescription drugs later in life, whereas among men, cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana contributed to an increased risk of Rx abuse. The researchers note that the study shows a correlation—rather than proving a cause-and-effect relationship—between teen substance abuse and prescription drug abuse. 

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By Valerie Tejeda

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