Valentine’s Day, like many a holiday, has a strong association with booze. Just ask the Missouri State Representative who, in 2010, tried to get some “Love Legislation” passed to allow restaurants and bars without Sunday liquor licenses to make an exception if Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday. So does that mean that sober people should sit on the romantic sidelines and just toast tea? Not at all, says Chicago Healers practitioner Dr. Martha Howard, who came up with a list of a dozen foods that have an aphrodisiac effect. Included on the list are:
- Chocolate—which releases dopamine in the brain’s pleasure center, inspiring attraction, excitement and euphoria
- Almonds—which, for the child-minded, increase fertility
- Asparagus—rich in folic acid, which boosts histamines that can allegedly enhance “performance”
- Avocado—also high in folic acid as well as calming due to its B6 and potassium
- Bananas—which supposedly boost male libido
- Figs—said to stimulate arousal
- Oysters—high in sperm-producing zinc
"These foods are ideal for Valentine's because they're all celebratory," Howard tells The Fix. So what does she think is the most effective item on her list? "Chocolate," she says without hesitation. "It contains Phenylethylamine, which is considered the 'love chemical' because it causes a release of dopamine and brings on feelings of excitement and pleasure." Bring it on.
Talk show host and rock wife Sharon Osbourne is using the death of Whitney Houston to spread awareness that addicts—including celebs—need help while they're still alive, rather than just praise after they die. Members of Osbourne’s family, including husband Ozzy Osbourne, daughter Kelly and son Jack, have long histories of drug abuse, but are now sober. Yesterday, Sharon tweeted about the hypocrisy of fans mocking addicted celebrities, rather than offering help and support. Mentioning Houston—as well as her fellow late, addicted music superstars Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse—Osbourne wrote, "It always takes for them to die before we shower them with praise and adulation. They were addicts and there are many addicts still alive. Don't mock them, just help them."
One question that alcoholics and addicts starting a 12-Step program often hear is, “Are you willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?” Well, for people considering treatment at Thamkrabok Monastery in Thailand, one of those lengths is... projectile vomiting. That’s right—one of the pillars of treatment at the temple, which has treated more than 100,000 addicts since its rehab program began in 1959, is drinking a sick-making brew of no fewer than 108 herbs, which causes patients to throw up, ostensibly eliminating toxins from the body. Which all seems very Sid and Nancy; wouldn’t a nice lemon cleanse achieve the same result? That said, the program—which is free—does seem to work. Despite some high-profile failures (British rocker and former Kate Moss partner-in-crime Pete Doherty among them), a large number of hard cases get sober at the monastery, from tough-punk, chain-smoking Thai kids to Detroit heroin-addict yogis. And after getting clean, 30% of residents become monks themselves, which is one way to guarantee long-term community support. According to the founder of a detox in England, about 95% of the people he’s sent to treatment at Thamkrabok have managed keep off drugs and alcohol since doing time at the vomitorium.
Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie), Everclear frontman Art Alexakis and skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi are among the famous faces talking about how drug addiction has affected them in a campaign for The Partnership at Drugfree.org, entitled You Are Not Alone. Shot by award-winning director Lori Hoeft, the testimonials are meant to offer a message of hope for the families of teens and young adults caught in the grips of drug addiction, and to remove the stigma and misunderstanding that often prevents people from seeking help. "Each individual we shot had a unique point of view to share from their own experiences," says Hoeft. While Hosoi, Alexakis and Blair Witch Project star Josh Leonard speak about their personal addictions and how they've now remained sober for decades, Eden talks about losing her son to a heroin overdose in 2011. According to Drugfree.org, 90% of addictions begin in the teenage years, and there are 11 million teens and young adults in the US who currently need addiction treatment.
An investigation by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting has found that a high number of children from four villages studied in the Ghoryan district of Afghanistan are becoming entrenched in heroin smuggling into Iran. An estimated 60 children in these villages have died from swallowing heroin capsules as part of the smuggling efforts, while another 1,000 have gone missing while attempting to cross the Iranian border. The children are paid approximately $260 to smuggle five capsules a time. The crystallized version of the drug sells for $1,200 per kilogram in Afghanistan—and double that amount in Iran. "The smugglers exploit our poverty and obligations," says Aarash, one of the children from the villages who has trafficked crystal heroin. Children are particularly attractive to smugglers because they are not executed in Iran—unlike adults. Border police apparently do little to stop the heroin trade and often help facilitate it; last year, Mulhim Khan, the general in charge of the Herat border police, was arrested by the Iranian authorities in Islam Qala on charges related to drug smuggling.
A drunken maniac who was thrown out of a pub in northern England for violating the smoking ban returned to terrorize his fellow drinkers with a swinging, revving chainsaw—and the video has now been released. Dean Dinnan, 24, was "very much under the influence of alcohol and drugs" on the night of August 5 last year, according to his attorney. He was so enraged at being asked to extinguish his cigarette and escorted out of the Endyke pub in Hull that he came back and menaced the other customers—who fled or defended themselves with bar stools—with his petrol-powered machine. He failed to find the man who'd offended him, but instead severed the tendon of another drinker, who required 21 stitches and six weeks off work. The incident was captured by security cameras and Dinnan has now been sentenced to three years in jail, where smoking is still permitted.