According to a recent study, Japan’s affinity for alcohol, gambling and technology has also spurred a sizable increase in the number of individuals addicted to these particular pastimes.
A survey sponsored in 2013 by the country’s health ministry shows that an estimated 5.36 million people in Japan or roughly 4.8% of the country’s adult population, exhibit compulsive behavior in regard to gambling. The rate for many other countries stands at “more or less around 1% of the adult population,” according to a member of the study group that conducted the survey.
Gambling is an accepted everyday occurrence in Japan, where pachinko halls proliferate through the urban landscape, while programming devoted to racing of every type, from horses to motorbikes and speed boats, are regularly aired on weekend television.
Japan’s fascination for technological development has also sent the rate of Internet addiction to record-high levels. According to the study, some 4.21 million adults qualify as addicts in regard to Internet use—a number that has risen by 50% over the course of the last five years.
In 2012 alone, online users spent more than $5 billion on mobile gaming. Increased quality of digital content and the relative ease in accessing it through newer models of smartphones is considered the likely culprit. Internet addiction among junior high and high school students has been a subject of great concern in the Japanese media over the last few years, with government panels finding some 518,000 students in schools nationwide struggling with addiction.
Alcohol addiction has also seen substantially elevated numbers. The survey noted that more than one million people may be addicted to alcohol, compared with an estimated 830,000 just a decade ago. Little has been done to slow these rising rates or offer counseling and treatment for the growing number of addicts. “There is an absolute lack of preventive education for (gambling) addiction,” said Noriko Tanaka of the group Society Concerned about Gambling Addiction.
The issue is also rife with social stigma. Addictions are considered a dishonor to family names, and as such, are not openly revealed. “We are not calling for a ban on gambling,” said Tanaka. “But we must also discuss [its] negative economic and social impacts.”
Japan has taken strides to address Internet addiction among young people though “fasting camps,” which provide outdoor activities and counseling for children deemed to be online addicts.
According to police, a seven-year-old Florida boy told on his mom's meth habit and ultimately had her arrested.
The child took several days to work up the guts to tell someone about his mom's drug and paraphernalia stash. His mother, Briana Buchanan, was living with her boyfriend's brother, Peter—whose last name has been withheld—in Edgewater, Fla. where she kept her habit hidden in the trunk of her car.
The boy had told Peter several times that his mother was cooking "something bad," but it would be days before the kid showed Peter just how bad it was.
"He came up to me, and he said, 'There's really bad stuff in mom's car that I want to show you,'" Peter said, recalling how the paraphernalia was sitting among the boy's toys. Peter immediately called 911.
"Her son, who's seven, just told me she keeps bad stuff in her car, and he opened up the trunk, and she has a meth lab in her trunk," Peter told a 911 dispatcher.
Police arrived to find chemicals, two syringes, hot plates, and other items used to cook meth. The boy was also able to describe how his mother used the items, as she evidently had done the cooking in front of him.
"He said when they would get all this stuff together, they would put it all in a soda bottle, and they would shake the soda bottle and take the top off to, I guess, vent it out," Peter said.
Buchanan is now being held on $32,000 bail while the child went to live with his grandmother, where he will stay for the foreseeable future.
The Parsons student who was arrested for drug possession in connection with the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is successfully getting treatment, her lawyer said on Tuesday.
Juliana Luchkiw pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession in April. She, along with her then-boyfriend Max Rosenblum and neighbor Robert Vineberg, were arrested in February after the police searched their Mott Street building and uncovered two bags of cocaine in Luchkiw and Rosenblum’s apartment, as well as 350 packets of heroin in Vineberg’s apartment.
An informant, who told police Vineberg regularly sold heroin to Hoffman, led investigators to the building. The information made police believe that Vineberg may have sold Hoffman his fatal batch of heroin. The 46-year-old actor was found dead in his West Village apartment in February with a needle in his arm.
The Parsons, The New School for Design student was 22 at the time of her arrest. She was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, her lawyer Stephen Turano said. “She’s a college student. She is not a drug dealer,” he said.
Luchkiw is able to enter a new plea to disorderly conduct, which is a violation, after completing six months of drug treatment. She appeared in court to give an update on her progress.
“She’s doing very well. She’s been fully compliant with her substance abuse program,” Turano said.
On the issue of medical marijuana, the former governor of Florida Jeb Bush is conflicted.
Last Thursday, Bush issued a written statement urging Floridians to vote against the proposed amendment, also known as Amendment 2, which would allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana to individuals with debilitating medical conditions.
However, when asked by a reporter on Friday about the federal government’s role in enforcing federal drug laws in medical marijuana states, Bush, who is considering a presidential bid for 2016, said, “I don’t know. I’d have to sort that out. I think that states ought to have a right to decide these things. I think the federal government’s role in our lives is way too overreaching.”
“I believe it is the right of the states to decide this issue,” he said in a statement. “And I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”
Amendment 2, or the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Florida as a proposed constitutional amendment.
So far, the proposed amendment is popular among voters in the Sunshine State. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 88% of Florida voters support legal medical marijuana, and more than half of voters favor the idea of allowing adults to have small amounts of pot for recreational use.
The former assistant to socialite and occasional actress Brooke Mueller has filed a lawsuit against her, claiming that she made him act as a “drug mule” to fuel her multiple addictions.
Lior Masaphor is only suing for unpaid wages during his time working for her from December 2012 to March 2013, but claims in court documents that he watched her twin boys while she got “so high as to be literally wasted.” He also claims that her young children were in the room while she engaged in sex acts with other people. Mueller, the ex-wife of Charlie Sheen, has not commented on the lawsuit.
Unfortunately, Mueller’s history of drug abuse is well-documented. She made her 20th trip to rehab last summer to address an ongoing addiction to prescription drugs. Last September, Radar Online posted a video of what appeared to be the socialite smoking crack cocaine. The video came on the heels of her losing temporary custody of her twin boys last May, whom she had with Sheen, and a very public custody battle between the two that included the actor calling her a “whore” on Twitter.
In the video, Mueller appeared in a bathrobe, disoriented, and smoking what looked to be crack cocaine out of a glass pipe. As she bargains for crystal meth in the video, she asks someone off-camera, "Where is the crystal? I am giving you $1500." A source who claimed to be present during the video said this was “just another crazy night of her getting high. I know that she is aware that if she doesn't stop doing drugs, she is going to lose her kids [for good]...hopefully she can stop."
However, Mueller was photographed earlier this week with her children and appeared to be happy and sober, at least for now.
A new report that Facebook has instituted a “Facebook Drug Task Force” has left potheads across the country in panic, but it turns out that the story was a hoax.
Satirical news site National Report was responsible for the bogus post, which has since received 150,000 shares. The story reported that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg had hired a team whose sole purpose it was to monitor posts and messages for any sign of users trying to buy or sell drugs. The story was inspired by Facebook’s announcement that they would be adding “satire” tags to fake news stories after many gullible users were taking outrageous stories posted by other people to heart.
The story included a 24-hour hotline for the Facebook Drug Task Force, but those who called it were taken to the direct line of the notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. Despite the absurdity of the story given its source, several anxious drug users took to Twitter with comments that included “THE FEDS ARE WATCHING” and “How the fuck am I going to buy drugs now?” A Facebook spokesperson was forced to address the story and labeled it as “spectacularly false."
Facebook has regularly been the source of drug-related controversy. Residents of Clermont County in Ohio were outraged at three teenagers injecting their friend with heroin and posting photos of his dead body to the social media site last October, and even more so after only one of them was charged with a crime. Dylan Owens, 19, died from the injection, but only Maddison Rogers, 22, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs after administering the fatal heroin dose.
The Clermont County prosecutor said he doesn’t expect the other two individuals, both 20, to be charged with a crime unless new evidence is presented. “There were three people there, there were three people involved and they should all pay for what they did to Dylan,” said his mother, Tina Owens. “I don't know why they would do that, I don't know why they'd be so callous and cruel and heartless. Dylan would have my back and I want to have his and I just want justice."