Lana del Rey, who battled addiction in her teens, says she has struggled to stay sober in the face of criticism from the media and musical peers. "I feel like my work's important, but I don't always feel like I get respect for it," the pop singer told Canada's Fashion Magazine, "when I feel like people don't like this music and that the 10 years I spent making what I made was not for a good reason, that makes me want to drink again." Del Rey, who rose quickly to fame after the YouTube hit Video Games, has shared about her early descent in to alcoholism at 14, after her parents sent her to boarding school. “I would drink every day. I would drink alone," she told GQ last years, "I knew it was a problem when I liked it more than I liked doing anything else." The now-sober starlet says she relates to actress Lindsay Lohan, who has herself struggled with substance abuse and unfavorable press attention and is currently in rehab. "She's really interesting, and she's a fan of mine, and she knows I love her too," said the singer of Lohan. "We are in a similar boat." Del Rey, whose recent single Young and Beautiful is featured in The Great Gatsby, adds that she does not believe in the "school of hard knocks," though she claims, "I've had them." "All that stuff about whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger is so not true," she says, "Do you know what makes you stronger? When people treat you and your art with dignity."
A powerful new synthetic drug that is 40 times stronger than heroin and 80 times stronger than morphine has hit the streets of Montreal, police warn. Seven recent raids throughout the Canadian city resulted in the arrests of two dealers inside a UPS store as they attempted to ship over 12,000 pills of the narcotic known as Desmethyl Fentanyl, a derivative of the painkiller Fentanyl, which were hidden inside a microwave oven and a toaster. “The effects could be fatal,” says Dr. Danielle Auger, director of public health for the provincial Health Department. “Large quantities were seized, so we can presume that they are on the street. These drugs are made in very poor conditions with a lot of different chemicals. It is quite a gamble to take drugs like this.” One officer was taken to the hospital with heart palpitations simply from handling the potent drugs, even while wearing a mask and gloves, and three other officers developed rashes on their arms. Police seized nearly 300,000 illegal pills in the seven raids, including Fentanyl, oxycodone, ecstasy and speed. Many of these pills had been painted bright colors or stamped with popular logos—including those of Facebook and Tim Hortons (a Canadian donut company)—to make them more appealing to young people. Police also seized three machines used to manufacture the drugs, in addition to 1,500 kilograms of ingredients capable of producing at least 3 million more pills. Inspector Marc Riopel of the Montreal police says the pills were being manufactured at a rate of one per second.
Many of the most dangerous drugs of abuse aren't illegal—in your home and dealt by your doctor, prescription drugs are highly addictive and highly available. Teens looking for a quick fix will often simply pop into their parents' medicine cabinets and overdose rates are a national tragedy. How did it get this bad? What have we done wrong and how can we let people know that legal doesn't mean safe? And how can we safely keep painkillers available to those who genuinely need them?
The Fix is once again teaming up with Phoenix House to host a Twitter chat to search for answers. Join us by logging into Twitter today at 3 pm EST and searching for the hashtag #rxchat. Tweet your answers to the questions posed by @_TheFix and @PhoenixHouse—if you don't follow them yet, do it now!—and make sure to include #rxchat in every tweet you send. Everyone is welcome to jump right in.
The lineup of participants includes: HLN host and Fix video columnist @JVelezMitchell; @MarioDoRightof the Mario Do Right Foundation, @drugwarmovie of the acclaimed film The House I Live In; @HealthyLiving, Huffington Post Health; @SoberCoachNY of A&E's Relapse; @houstonaaron of Students for Sensible Drug Policy; former prosecutor @copssaylegalize; addiction therapist and interventionist @maevro; social worker, Fix columnist and Newsweek/Daily Beast writer @Jeff_Deeney; @AnchorWestRehab men's treatment centers; addiction science journalists @Dirk57 and @Guinevere64; @WatershedCares treatment centers, and the Phoenix House contingent, headed up by CEO @HMeitiner. And of course your Fix staff, including, @GodfreyWill, @HRSLaton and @ShutUpMay. Follow them all to get the most out of the debate. See you there!
- Turkey Considers Tighter Limits on Alcohol Sale and Consumption [Reuters]
- Smoke Travels to Non-Smoking Hotel Rooms, Study Shows [USA Today]
- How Do You Make A Painkiller Addiction-Proof? [Popular Science]
- Advocacy Groups Pressure LivingSocial to Drop Events Mixing Guns, Alcohol [The Hill]
- Smoking Lots of Marijuana Lowers Risk for Bladder Cancer, Doctor Says [Washington Times]
- Tommy Chong Says Marijuana Helped Him Beat Cancer [Fox News]
Two years after the death of New York Rangers player Derek Boogaard from an accidental overdose, his family is suing the National Hockey League for enabling his addiction to prescription drugs. They claim the NHL failed to keep the 6 foot 7, 265-pound enforcer "reasonably safe" while he played for them, allowing him to be injected with Toradol (an intramuscular analgesic) and giving him “copious amounts” of prescription pain medications and sleeping pills. “The NHL drafted Derek Boogaard because it wanted his massive body to fight in order to enhance ratings, earnings and exposure," said his family's lawyer, William T. Gibbs, in a statement. "Fighting night after night took its expected toll on Derek's body and mind. To deal with the pain, he turned to team doctors, who dispensed pain pills like candy." In one season, NHL medical personnel allegedly prescribed the player over 1,000 pills. He was twice admitted to rehab for opioid addiction before fatally overdosing on a combination of alcohol and oxycodone in May 2011, at age 28. After his death, Boogaard was found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a form of brain damage "caused by repeated blows to his head during his hockey career," according the lawsuit. His mother Joanne said in the statement, "He was there protecting his teammates at all costs, but who was there to protect him?"
Getting drunk at the workplace can cause trouble with coworkers—but especially if your coworker is a 15,000 pound pachyderms. A video (below), taken at Kruger National Park in South Africa, shows a presumably intoxicated off-duty field guidecharging at a wild elephant, as his beer-wielding buddies egg him on. The elephant holds its ground at first, as the man stumbles and falls. But after the drunk recovers and charges a second time, he (surprisingly) sends the giant animal packing. In response, the Singita Group, the eco-tourism outfit who employ the man in the video, have sent him packing. “The guide involved in the confrontation is no longer employed by Singita and further disciplinary procedures are in progress with regard to others involved," says a response issued on the group's Facebook page. They describe the video as “disturbing," and claim the elephant was "extremely agitated by the confrontation and retreated into the bush.” Visitors have been banned from using alcohol at the park since 2011, following complaints about drunk visitors knocking down animals, littering and disturbing wildlife.