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."
- Teen Smoking an "Epidemic," New Report Finds [MSNBC]
- Discovery of Brain's Natural Resistance to Drugs May Offer Clues to Treating Addiction [Science Daily]
- Drowned Son of Ex-Packers Assistant Coach Joe Philbin Had Consumed Alcohol, Marijuana [Green Bay Press Gazette]
- Connecticut Lawmakers Revisit Medical Marijuana Issue [Mystic River Press]
- Spiritual Connection Helps Man Kick Cocaine [AJC]
- Premier League Soccer Star Arrives at Work Drunk [AFP]
- Cocaine Hidden in Baby Granddaughter's Clothes [CTV]
Denver DEA head Barbra Roach’s recent attempt to demonize marijuana growers with some mold-related scaremongering raised the bar. But not to be outdone, UK police apparently made an even more outlandish claim: that the very smell of mature marijuana plants is “carcinogenic.” This revelation appeared in a Harborough Mail story entitled “Drugs Factory Raided.” The “factory” in question was a home in the village of Cottingham, Yorkshire, where police seized 90 cannabis plants. Slipped into an otherwise-mundane report was a jaw-dropping claim: "Police are warning that when cannabis plants reach the final stages of maturity the odour they release has carcinogenic properties. Officers who deal with the plants use ventilation masks and protective suits and people who have plants in their home, especially anyone with young children, may be exposing their family to a health risk." No officer’s name was attributed to this, nor was a journalist’s name attached to the article.
The alert Dr. Ben Goldacre, academic, broadcaster and author of Bad Science, did some digging over at his blog. The real fun comes as Dr. Goldacre posts his email exchanges with both the editor of the newspaper and Andy Roberts, a “communications officer” from Northamptonshire Police, prompting an impressive display of blame-shifting. After a few rounds of “he said, she said” Roberts—who says the police originally issued the claim to the newspaper with the caveat that it should be investigated by a medical expert—states: “I have asked Inspector Gary Williams to ask his local officers where the 'carcinogenic' link has come from and I am waiting to hear back. I suspect this may be an urban myth and, should this be the case, I would be happy to address it.” Well, they do say that the first casualty of war is the truth.
Already engaged in an epic battle, both Palestinians and Israelis are now dealing with another deadly problem: heroin addiction. Smack was scarce on the West Bank and the Gaza strip before 1967's Six Day War, when Israel occupied the area. But since then, Al Quds University estimates that 6,000 people in East Jerusalem are hooked on the drug, compared with 300 in 1986. Naturally, the problem has become highly politicized. Activists claim that unemployment and poverty have led many young Palestinians—especially in East Jerusalem—to seek release through the drug. But Israelis haven't been spared. According to a recent news report, the Jewish state is now home to an estimated 300,000 heroin addicts—70,000 of them teenagers. NGOs promote drug awareness and counseling services in schools and distribute needles, straps, and condoms to addicts in an attempt to stem the rising tide of STDs and Hepitatis C associated with heroin use. No figures are available for overall drug use in Palestinian territory, but just a single drug rehab is now operating on the West Bank. "There are no resources," explains its founder Nihad Rajabi.