December 9, 2014  |  That Was the Week That Was  |  Volume 2., No. 16
Looking Deep Within
Regulating A Single Gene May Alter Addiction and Stress Responses 

Researchers have now used genetically engineered DNA binding proteins to target specific processes within a gene – located within a brain reward center in the mouse. By regulating the activity of this specific gene, the scientists found they were able to alter gene expression and behaviors related to addiction and stress.

8 Ball Not 8th Ball
Bradley Cooper Opens Up On Loss And Sobriety

Bradley also touched on how he continues to maintain his 10-year sobriety. While prepping for his role as a Navy SEAL in American Sniper, he had to bulk up considerably, but chose to do it without supplements. “I did it naturally because I’ve been sober for 10 years and didn’t want to do anything. I had a realistic conversation. Can I do this in three months naturally? Can I gain 30 pounds of f*cking muscle? I didn’t know if I would be able to do it or not. CONTINUED 



Photo Essay
A Look Into A Destructive Cycle Of Sex Work And Addiction

In spite of growing national awareness about the commercial sexual exploitation of children, broad-reaching resources and “wrap services” remain limited. For Lisa, a young Seattle-area woman struggling to leave a life of sex work and addiction, this is literally a life or death issue. From a troubled home, Lisa was predisposed to vulnerability. After being pimped, her drug use became more serious. By 2012, at the age of 19, she used heroin daily. “Heroin makes me forget everything,” Lisa said in a 2013 jail interview during the filming of The Long Night, a new documentary about grassroots efforts to address domestic minor sex trafficking. Warning: This slideshow contains graphic content not appropriate for all audiences. CONTINUED 

One Day at a Time   VIDEO
Actor Wes Bentley Opens Up About Heroin Addiction: ‘I Have To Work On It Every Day’

Wes Bentley opened up about his life- and career-altering heroin addiction during a conversation with HuffPost Live’s Ricky Camilleri on Monday. Bentley made a name for himself with his breakout role in the 1999 Best Picture winner “American Beauty,” then he effectively disappeared, appearing only sporadically in low-profile films. When he decided to return to Hollywood in earnest years later, he told HuffPost Live he found himself “starting anew in the truest sense.” CONTINUED 



Nashville Skyyline
Does Country Music Have A Drinking Problem?

Recent hit singles include Jerrod Neimann’s Drink to That All Night, Little Big Town’s Day Drinking, Dierks Bentley’s Drunk On A Plane, Toby Keith’s Drunk Americans, Lee Brice’s Drinking Class, Brantley Gilbert’s Bottoms Up, Frankie Ballard’s Sunshine and Whiskey, Cole Swindell’s Ain’t Worth The Whiskey, and Lady Antebellum’s Bartender – and those are just songs that reference drinking in the title.

Laughter Is Healthy, All the Way to Bank
‘Caddyshack’ Is Therapy for Drug Abusers In Philly

PEOPLE battling drug and alcohol addiction in Philadelphia are watching Hollywood movies in outpatient group therapy – on your dime. The tab can exceed $50 a person for each movie, paid by Medicaid. Clients said that some of the movies they saw – like “Caddyshack” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – had nothing to do with recovery. Outpatient treatment is big business in Philadelphia. Each year, Medicaid pays more than $70 million to help people with drug and alcohol addiction through various treatments, including group and individual therapy.



Generation With A Golden Arm   VIDEO
Heroin Misery
Of The Trainspotting Generation 

The number of adults over 40 seeking treatment for heroin and crack cocaine addiction in England has more than doubled in 10 years, new figures have revealed. While the total number of heroin and crack cocaine addicts has fallen below 300,000 for the first time since estimates began, there is a generation still hooked – the so-called Trainspotting generation. More than a third of the total population of adults in treatment centers are aged 40 or over, according to Public Health England. CONTINUED 

The Russian’s Aren’t Coming
Alcohol Kills 500,000 Russians Annually

More teenagers and women of childbearing age have started consuming alcohol, which lowers life expectancy and contributes to the number of untimely deaths in the country, the statement said. The government has been trying to ameliorate the problem by banning the sale of alcohol at night and in small kiosks and shops. In 2012, all alcohol ads were banned. According to the World Health Organization, Russia was the fourth heaviest-drinking nation in the world behind Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania. CONTINUED 



Politically Correct
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: “I agree with Russell Brand on drugs policy”

Clegg told listeners: “One thing Russell Brand’s verve and zaniness does a lot of good is drug reform. I think the policy has not done a lot of good for a long period of time.” Legal sanctions for the possession of drugs in the UK has led to the “unnecessary criminalisation” of more than 1.5 million people in the last 15 years, according to a letter signed by Brand and others, which was presented to David Cameron.

Politically Incorrect
Too Much Marijuana May Hinder Creativity

Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands conducted a study of regular marijuana users and found their creativity suffered when under the influence. “They recruited regular pot users and what they really found is that it doesn’t seem to hinder things in the long-term when people are not under the influence,” said Dr. Max. “What really happens is when you’re under the influence, you’re not going to be thinking quite so creatively.” CONTINUED 

Socializing Sobriety
Dry Bar Pop-up In Downtown Ann Arbor

“It’s an alcohol-free place for conversation and connection,” explained Sims. “I haven’t had a drink in 20 years, and I know a lot of people who don’t drink. I love to go out on a weekend, but not in a bar. I wanted a bar-like convivial atmosphere, with snacks and drinks and conversation, without it being a bar.” The bar will offer a variety of hand-crafted non-alcoholic cocktails like egg creams, a pomegranate-rosemary soda, wassail, a Vernor’s cranberry sour, pumpkin chiller and coffee drinks from the Mighty Good Coffee menu. CONTINUED 

Looking For An Easier Softer Way?
Naltrexone Scientist to Predict Treatment Outcome in Substance Use Disorders

The research investigates usefulness of genetic variation in the gene encoding the µ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) in predicting treatment response to naltrexone among alcoholics. The research highlights a functional single-nucleotide polymorphism in exon 1 of the OPRM1 gene, rs1799971, also referred to as Asn40Asp (or A118G), which is one of the best-studied functional genetic variants relevant to alcoholism treatment. CONTINUED 

New York City Junkie Serenade
Heroin Takes Over a House, and Mom

Darkness fell on Wood Court on Staten Island, and they came. Footfalls on the gravel path, their crunch-crunch-crunch setting dogs barking, babies wailing, parents peering out windows, night after night. “Cars pulling in and out,” said one neighbor who, still concerned for his family’s safety, declined to give his name. “Fifteen, 20 minutes, then out. Fifteen, 20 minutes, then out.” Cars idled on the corner, rock music thumping.

From the ‘Horse’s Mouth
A Descent Into Heroin’s Netherworld by Howard Josepher

I can identify with Laurie Sperring of Staten Island and her quick descent into heroin addiction. I was 23 and had just graduated college when, like Ms. Sperring, I said to a friend, “Just one time.” That one time was the start of seven years of addiction and numerous criminal convictions. We do not become addicted by getting high one time, but for the lack of a better term, many quickly fall in love with the feeling heroin gives us. CONTINUED 

Justice ‘Served’
Texas Judge Fails Sobriety Test – Stumbles Away Free  

Court of Appeals Judge Nora Longoria was allegedly begged for leniency during her DUI arrest in July. Last month, the District Attorney’s office said it lacked enough evidence to prosecute and another judge threw out the case. The DA said it never got the dashcam video, which showed Longoria stumble through her failed sobriety test. CONTINUED 

You Have A Pornography Addiction,
Now What?

Someone who is addicted to pornography can exhibit a lot of the same signs as someone with any other addiction. Signs can include not being able to control when you start or stop your compulsive behavior, not being able to stop your behavior even though you have tried to stop numerous times, keeping secrets, hiding your behavior, losing time with family, losing time at work, returning to the behavior even though it is against your value system, etc. CONTINUED 

It’s All In Your Head

Link Found Between Brain Chemical & Drug Addicts  

Low levels of the naturally occurring mood-altering brain chemical serotonin can make some people more likely to become drug addicts, according to a New Zealand study released Friday.  The finding could lead to the development of drugs that prevent drug addiction. The researcher suggested that therapies that increase serotonin levels could be investigated as a way of preventing drug addiction.

Continuing The Conversation
The Sheffs Are Writing Another Book on Drug Abuse

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Friday that the Sheffs’ book, currently untitled, will come out in the fall of 2016. David Sheff is known for “Beautiful Boy,” a memoir about Nic’s addiction to crystal methamphetamine. Nic Sheff wrote about his addiction in his best-selling memoir “Tweak.” The  new book will draw upon research into drugs and drug addiction to help teens and tweens make “informed decisions” about drugs.

Capitalism & Competition
Website Lets Buyers, Sellers Share Drug Prices Online

“It’s kind of like a Wikipedia for black market prices for prescription drugs.” The website is called and it’s run by a Boston-based company called Epidemico. Every month, the site gets more than 100,000 visits and about 5,000 new price reports, according to its founders. If someone buys or sells Percocet in Chelsea for $10 per pill, for example, you can find that information with just a couple clicks. CONTINUED 

Is Your Campus Smoke Free?
Smoking Makes It Difficult To Quit Drinking 

Some of us fall into the “when I drink, I smoke” category. It is also common to believe quitting drinking might be made easier by smoking. Alcoholics are often smokers, and research has uncovered a connection that might make it hard to quit drinking if you smoke, Pacific Standard reports. Scientist Kelly Cosgrove and colleagues from Yale investigated what happened to people going through alcohol withdrawal while continuing or quitting smoking. CONTINUED 

When Two or More Gathered…Genius Enters
Harlem Drug Rehab Pioneer James Allen Honored

The pioneering Addicts Rehabilitation Center honored its founder, James Allen, for 56 years of service to the drug treatment hub, the neighborhood’s first-such facility. “He’ll never know the many lives he’s touched,” said the center’s CEO, the Rev. Reginald Williams, himself a former program participant who overcame a battle against drug abuse. Allen, 89, said he’d always hoped he could help more people.

What I Learned In School Today  VIDEO
Boston University Institutes Program to Reduce Binge Drinking VIDEO  

All of this is part of a program to raise awareness about the effects of alcohol abuse in the effort to decrease this behavior. This initiative began in 2011 when approximately 250 students were hospitalized for alcohol related problems at BU alone and alcohol abuse caused multiple problems at other Boston area schools. “The reality,” says Leah Barison, a Wellness & Prevention Services counselor at Student Health Services (SHS), who works with students who’ve been transported, “is that one in three BU students chooses not to drink. And among those who do drink, two out of three do so responsibly.” CONTINUED 

Miracles In The Rooms
New Book Examines Science Behind AA 

Joseph Nowinski, a clinic psychologist wrote “If You Work It, It Works!” to look at the scientific basis for 12-step recovery, examining numerous research studies to do what AA itself doesn’t do: defend the program from critics who say 12-step recovery is not an effective treatment for alcoholism and addiction. “AA doesn’t defend itself and most people are totally unaware of the scientific evidence in support of it,” said Nowinski, whose book’s subtitle is “The Science Behind 12 Step Recovery.” (AA has a tradition of silence on “outside issues” in order to avoid controversy.) CONTINUED 

In These Times
Hazelden Introduces Anti-addiction Medications into Recovery                                                    for First Time

“This is a huge shift for our culture and organization,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, Hazelden’s chief medical officer, who pushed for the new practice.  As the program’s first adolescent patient, and someone who has been in recovery from multiple drug addictions for 37 years, Seppala is keenly aware of how dramatic this decision is for the organization, which once debated whether or not coffee was acceptable in its abstinence-based program. “We believe it’s the responsible thing to do,” he says.

Lead Me Not Into Negativity
Resisting a Temptation Means Living
More Positively

Thirty-three years ago, August Montalbano said, he took his final gulp of alcohol and has been a regular attendee of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings ever since. “Meetings are a big, important part of my life,” he said. “If you have a disease that’s going to kill you, I don’t need the Cadillac, I don’t need a million people that I can be a big shot with. I have to be at meetings with people who have the same disease.” CONTINUED 

Med Trials
Has Purdue Met Its Match? OxyContin
Case Goes to Trial  

Purdue, maker of the painkiller OxyContin, has won dismissals in over 400 personal injury lawsuits related to the medication, has settled product liability cases involving the drug without disclosing the terms, and has defeated more than ten class actions suits brought against it over the painkiller, but has never gone to trial on a case of OxyContin abuse. Until now. CONTINUED 

Obituary – Anonymous No More
Popular Alcoholics Anonymous Speaker 
‘saved lives’

If Sandy Beach had lived 10 weeks longer, then on Sunday he would have celebrated 50 years without taking a drink. It was also an experience that he shared to great effect with tens of thousands of fellow alcoholics as one of the nation’s most sought-after speakers at conferences, retreats and other gatherings of Alcoholics Anonymous. CONTINUED 

Sensitive People
Bullying Features ‘hugely’ in Addicts’ Childhoods

Being bullied as a child has emerged as a significant factor in why people who subsequently become alcoholics or drug addicts took their first drink or drug, research has found. Counsellor Helen Murphy, who examined the link between childhood bullying and substance misuse for her thesis, said “bullying featured hugely” among the men she interviewed where her focus was on “what really caused them to pick up that first drink or drug”. CONTINUED 

2015 Experience, Strength & Hope Awards 

6th Annual Awards Honoring Joe Pantoliano

This year’s honoree is actor and author Joe Pantoliano. With more than 100 film, television and stage credits to his name, Joey joined the cast of The Sopranos, and won an Emmy Award. He’s also the author of Asylum, his deeply moving and inspiring memoir. This Award is given in recognition of an individual’s honest memoir, including their journey through addiction to recovery, and their dedication and enthusiasm for carrying the ‘message’ to a society awash in addiction..FOR MORE INFORMATION  


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