Mexican authorities have just revealed that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman—the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and perhaps the world's most wanted drug lord—narrowly escaped capture last month with the unintentional aid of a prostitute. She was brought to a rented house where he was staying in Los Cabos, Baja California—but Guzman apparently decided to postpone the encounter on account of her menstruation and cut his stay short. Had he stayed there as planned, authorities claim, he would have been captured. The chance to take down a man believed to have a security detail of 300 men and several helicopters doesn't come often. But would capturing Guzman have any impact on Mexican drug violence? US General Charles Jacoby, the head of the US Northern Command, thinks not. “The decapitation strategy—they’ve been successful at that. Twenty-two out of the top 37 trafficking figures that the Mexican government has gone after have been taken off the board,” he says. “But it has not had an appreciable effect—an appreciable, positive effect.” Worse, a surge of violence tends to follow whenever a cartel leader is toppled—before someone else steps up to take his place. Even Guzman himself, who is President Felipe Calderon's prize target this election season, has several well-known kingpins lined up to take over should he be captured or killed.
Abused children face a higher risk of becoming alcoholics later in life, confirms a new study just released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Childhood trauma, which can include physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect, has long been considered a risk factor for alcohol addiction. But this study asserts just how powerful an influence it could be. Researchers surveyed 196 people who were undergoing treatment for alcohol dependence. They found that about one quarter of the men and one third of the women reported a history of childhood physical abuse. In addition, a startling 49% of the women had been sexually abused during their youth, along with 12% of the men. Comparatively, a recent national survey among the general population found that about 8% faced physical abuse as children, and 6% experienced sexual abuse during childhood. Childhood abuse also leads to increased risks of suicide and several psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The proportion of alcoholics abused as children might jump significantly if emotional abuse and neglect were included. But as clinical director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse Markus Heilig notes, "Because emotional abuse is difficult to define, and is greatly under-reported compared to physical and sexual abuse, true rates of emotional abuse are unknown." The new study's findings underline the importance of trauma assessment in understanding and treating alcohol addictions.
In one of the most stomach-churning cases to feature on TLC’s My Strange Addiction, a cancer-stricken woman has sadly become dependent on drinking and bathing in her own urine. On the season finale this weekend, 53-year-old Carrie will discuss her habit. "I like warm pee. It's comforting," she says. "The first time I drank my urine, I didn't throw up and it wasn't horrible. So I thought, 'You know what? I can do this.'" She adds, "My urine does smell, depending on what I eat. Today it tastes a whole lot different than it did four years ago." Besides drinking her pee, Carrie puts her urine in her eyes, rubs it on her skin, and even brushes her teeth with it. She credits her habits with helping to keep her cancer at bay, and has been drinking up to 80 ounces of urine a day for the past four years. "There are certain things I don't like to eat anymore, because they don't taste good recycled," she says. "I love, love, love asparagus. I won't eat it anymore. It makes the urine taste … oooh, really bad." But her daughter worries about the prospect of her mom's habit doing more harm to her health than good, since urine is your body’s way of recycling waste. Viewers can find out on Sunday, 10 pm EST whether Carrie gets the help she needs.
An anonymous commenter on a blog posting Hollywood blind items has been naming names about some of the most shocking blinds—including an actress with a penchant for abuse rumored to be Hayden Panettiere, and the violent rape of Natalie Wood, purportedly at the hands of Kirk Douglas. Now speculation is rampant that the anonymous commenter is Robert Downey, Jr. Following a long history of substance abuse issues, it seems more than possible that Downey has developed enough of a conscience in sobriety to start calling out morally reprehensible behavior—although one would think all those trips to rehab might have taught him more discretion.
The Lin-sanity over basketball player Jeremy Lin may have reached its apex when photos of a cannabis strain titled “Lin Sanity OG” went viral on Twitter after being posted by rapper Stalley. Could be a calmer influence than the pundits and commentators who can’t stop talking overexcitedly about the Knicks guard.
- Courtney Love’s Ex-Assistant Shopping Tell-All Book [NY Daily News]
Perhaps she was inspired by The Fix’s recent ebook about notorious rocker Courtney Love; now her former assistant, Jessica Labrie, is shopping a new book about her experiences working for Love. The book’s tentative title is, ominously, Get Me a Xanax.
Actress Sienna Miller has slammed the corrupt medical community in Hollywood, as well as the celebs who get hooked on prescription pills. “‘Everyone’s on something there,” she says of the Los Angeles entertainment culture. “It’s the most medicated place, there’s a whole massive market for really addictive drugs.” Specifically, she complains about being prescribed Vicodin—which she calls “prescription heroin”—when she didn’t really need it. Perhaps she hasn’t heard that prescription heroin is the new heroin.
Reservoir Dogs actor Michael Madsen was arrested last weekend for child cruelty after an altercation with his teenage son. Authorities reported that Madsen appeared to be drunk when he was arrested, but the conflict with his son developed after Madsen found the boy smoking marijuana. Addiction: a family disease.
The Freedom & Recovery Conference—held April 23-26, 2012 at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego—will bring you face-to-face with leading experts who specialize in treating service men, women, and their families. Military personnel, law enforcement officers and first responders can be exposed to more stress and trauma in one day than most people will experience in a lifetime. This unique conference will gather the nation's foremost treatment experts to examine these issues, with a focus on education and training for professionals who provide care to this special population. They will discuss the unique challenges that these individuals face, as well as treatment strategies that prepare them for a return to work and civilian life.
Make plans now to join us for two special evenings with guest speakers:
- Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient, on Tuesday, April 24 @ 6 pm
- J.R. Martinez, retired soldier, Dancing With the Stars participant, on Wednesday, April 25 @ 6 pm
Scientists are proving, with fruit flies, what women have long known about men: those who can't get a leg over are more likely to get drunk than their counterparts who can. Here’s what the researchers did: they put some horny male fruit flies together with groups of females that had never mated—receptive virgins, if you like. Another group of male flies was stuck with females that had already mated: and therefore, as happens with that species, weren’t interested in sex. After four days of contrasting sexual fortunes, the males were moved to new containers with two food choices: one soaked in booze and one not. The researchers expected all the flies to prefer the booze, but surprise!—the ones who didn’t score got drunk sooner and for longer, on average sucking up four times more alcohol than those who'd got sex. The scientists claim it’s the first discovery, in fruit flies, of a social interaction that influences future behavior. “You see that the mated males actually have an aversion to the alcohol-containing food,” says neuroscientist Galit Shohat-Ophir, who led the study at the University of California but now works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia. “And the rejected males have a high preference to that food with alcohol.”
The study, which appears today in the journal Science, shows that levels of a chemical called neuropeptide F (NPF) is linked with the flies’ desire for booze: when levels of NPF were low, the flies drank more, and vice versa. Scientists think NPF is similar to a human neuropeptide that influences behaviors like eating, sleeping, and stress response. This study also indicates that this neuropeptide system goes awry, says George Koob, professor of neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute in California. The system is “very sensitive to stress,” he explains. “For instance, after you lose a loved one, or a relationship has crashed, you get dysphoric, your NPY goes down, and this provides a strong urge to drink a lot—whether you’re a mammal or a fruit fly.”