The Surgeon General's Office declares that teen smoking is an American epidemic, with one in five high school-aged youths smoking cigarettes. The first report issued on teen smoking since 1994 states that large numbers of teenagers—an estimated 3,800—take up this deadly habit every single day. "Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and three million high school students smoke," reports Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. "We don't want our children to start something now that they won't be able to change later in life." Even though the number of teens smoking is down on past decades, the rate of decline is slowing. Nine out of 10 current smokers started before they hit 18, and around 99% of all new tobacco use happens by the age of 26. The report also denounces tobacco companies for attempting to market to youth by making smoking seem attractive and cool. "This report highlights the urgent need to employ proven methods nationwide that prevent young people from smoking and encourage all smokers to quit,” says John Seffrin, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “This includes passage of smoke-free laws, increases in tobacco excise taxes and fully funded tobacco prevention programs."
A proposed amendment to Illinois' "Good Samaritan" law threatens to undermine its original purpose, critics say. The current law was signed on February 6 and is due to go into effect in June; it grants limited immunity from prosecution to those who call 911 about drug overdoses—like several laws either proposed or passed in other states. Its aim is to encourage people to seek emergency medical aid without fear of legal repercussions; it was passed in the face of a growing heroin problem in Illinois. But now Illinois representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is lobbying to add a new clause, to decree compulsory drug treatment for the both the OD victim and the 911 caller. Refusal means prosecution. Critics say the proposal would effectively nullify the law by once again invoking the fear of legal sanctions for 911 callers. “Drug users witnessing an overdose should not have to make a choice between entering treatment or not calling 911 during the crucial moments,” says Illinois resident Karen Hanneman, who fought to get the current law passed. Durkin's justification for his amendment is based on getting more people in need into substance abuse treatment. But his proposal offers treatment not as an option, but as an ultimatum. Director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy Kathleen Kane-Willis sees both sides. “Would we like treatment on demand for folks who are treated for overdose? Absolutely. That would be great," she says. "The problem is, making the immunity dependent on treatment has an impact on people who can't afford it… That one statement might make someone not call. It really waters the immunity down.”
Actor David Duchovny is furious with an author who has used his name and likeness to promote a book that claims sex addiction is a myth. In a recent piece published in the New York Post, David J. Ley, author of The Myth of Sex Addiction, describes the condition as “nothing more than a pop-psychology phenomenon.” Mentioning Duchovny, along with fellow famous sex addicts Tiger Woods and Michael Douglas, Ley argues that sex addiction is not really an addiction because it carries no tolerance or withdrawal effects, no danger of overdose and no threat to life. He feels that most men who seek sex addiction treatment do so after their infidelities are exposed, or when their high sex drives affect their relationships. Duchovny's lawyer, Stanton L. Stein, has written to Ley asking him to stop using his client’s likeness. He states, "I am not complaining about whether sexual addiction is or is not an actual medical condition... I am objecting to him using my client's picture in order to sell his book. The purpose of my letter was to tell him I don't want him using illegal pictures of my client in his book." Duchovny sought treatment for sex addiction in 2008 while separated from his wife Tea Leoni. The couple reportedly separated again earlier this year.
Having trouble with drinking? Maybe you should try a dose of Acid. Researchers claim that a single dose of LSD could be helpful in treating alcoholism. A new paper, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, examines six different trials throughout the '60s and '70s, involving a total of 536 patients being treated for alcohol problems. The researchers, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's department of neuroscience, discovered that 59% of subjects given a single dose of LSD showed improvements in their alcohol habits in follow-up assessments months later—compared with just 38% of people who didn't take the drug.
Perhaps most interestingly, the trials suggest that the anti-alcoholism benefits of LSD are more mental than physiological. "Many patients claim that they get significant insights into their problems, that they get a new perspective on their problems and motivation to solve them," says study co-author Pal-Orjan Johansen. However, the drug would need to be administered in conjunction with treatment; LSD had a positive influence on the alcohol habits of people up to six months out of treatment, but not on those who'd been away for up to one year. The study has aroused great interest in the scientific community; Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, is calling for more research to be conducted on the subject. Psychedelics were identified by psychiatrists in the '50s as having a range of medical uses and AA co-founder Bill Wilson even praised the benefits of LSD in his book, Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.
All eyes were on Demi Moore recently following her drug-related hospitalization last month, there’s a new member of her clan in the spotlight: Scout Willis, Demi’s 20-year-old daughter with Bruce. Scout, currently a student at Brown University, has tweeted messages like “Why worry about school? Just take an adderall, make lists, smoke too many cigarettes and voila, panic attacks and straight A's here I come." But Scout’s rep explains that the Twitter account was just a “culture jam” for a course assignment on culture media.
Troubled starlet Demi Lovato has taken her share of knocks in the press, with recent rehab rumors abounding, but a new MTV special aired this week sheds some light on her recovery and the challenges facing her. “I cannot tell you that I have not thrown up since treatment. I cannot tell you that I have not cut myself since treatment. I'm not perfect,” she admitted.
- Lindsay Lohan: Addicted to Plastic Surgery? [RadarOnline]
When Lindsay Lohan took to the stage of SNL last weekend, it was hard to notice that her face looks dramatically different—and RadarOnline’s plastic surgeon claims that her aggressive facial work may point to plastic surgery addiction. Just what she needs.
Pattie Malette is best known as the woman who brought Justin Bieber into the world (and held his hand as he made his way through along the treacherous road to stardom), but she’s got a thorny past of her own. Which she plans to capitalize on in her upcoming memoir, Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber’s Mom. (Seriously.) The book will discuss the “trauma, abuse and addiction that marked her early childhood and young adult years.” It will also feature a foreword by the Biebz himself.
Reality star and web personality Tila Tequila made headlines this week after a suicide attempt left her hospitalized with a brain aneurysm. Now she’s headed to rehab to treat her psychiatric issues and substance abuse. No word yet on where she’s headed, but here’s hoping there are no cameras there.
A hotly-anticipated bilingual play aims to give audiences a different perceptive on the Mexican drug war. Timboctou—a dark comedy that premiers Sunday at LA‘s REDCAT theater—skewers ruthless drug lords, oblivious US consumers and the Mexican narco-terrorism that has claimed 40,000 Mexican lives since 2006. “I believe it's a question of bi-national responsibility," says director Martín Acosta. "I don't think the play analyzes who is responsible. But it assumes there's a very direct link, looking from the Mexican side." The play, written by 27-year-old Mexican playwright Alejandro Ricaño, joins many Spanish language media programs—and even a dedicated music genre called "narcocorridos" (drug-themed songs)—in encouraging people to view the drug war as a product of greed and addiction, rather than simply the fault of Mexico and Latin America. It was co-developed by the University of Guadalajara and the CalArts Center for New Performance. “It's easy to blame the Mexicans. I don't ever see the other side, the people who are taking all these drugs, which is us," says Andrew Steele, who wrote the screenplay for Casa de Mi Padre, a similar Spanish-language satire produced by Will Ferrell. "It's absurd to me that anyone could blame other people for their own weakness...What's happening is a bunch of crazy people are doing drugs and not realizing people are getting killed over there."