Testing It Up » April 2010

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Actor Jeremy London Talks About Prescription Drug Addiction

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And the list goes on – another star in Hollywood confesses up to battling addiction with prescription drugs.

Thirty-seven year old actor Jeremy London is remembered for two characters: that of Griffin Holbrook in Party of Five and Chandler Hampton on 7th Heaven. My brother and I were Party of Five junkies once, and while I would watch to see London, he would be concentrating on Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Jeremy LondonIn a conversation with People magazine, London shares how finding fame also led him to find and abuse drugs. He said: “I was treated like royalty… It was hard for my brain to accept.” He moved to Los Angeles in 1993 along with his identical twin brother Jason – and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2006, he married actress Melissa Cunningham, and together they bore a son, Lyrik.

At this time, however, all is not well in Jeremy London’s world. He attributes his difficulties – in both his career and his personal life – to abusing prescription pills. Jeremy tells People: “There were times I didn’t care if I died… I felt like I was losing everything.”

The good news behind all this is that it seems that London is trying to turn his life around. He has a lot of things to face, though, including an ongoing divorce as well as financial issues. In September of last year, he reportedly went to rehab to deal with his drug issues, and to prove that he can be a good dad. He is currently allowed to see his son twice a week.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Quadriplegic Arrested and Jailed for Growing Marijuana

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John Haring is a 45 year-old man from Clearwater, Florida, who has been suffering from chronic pain for more than twenty years.

As related in a feature on TampaBay.com, when he was 24, Haring suffered an accident while working as a truck driver in Ohio. His rig rolled as he tried to avoid a kid who suddenly came in the way of the 18-wheeler that he was driving. His injuries left him without the use of his fingers and his legs; he has spent time on a wheelchair since.

John HaringIn order to manage the pain that he suffers from arthritis, among other things, he has, over the years, been prescribed with prescription painkillers. Thus far, however, these medicines have not worked well. So he turned to marijuana, growing them in his home in Clearwater.

This would have been perfectly alright if he had been living in California, and if a doctor legally advices him to turn to pot and writes a prescription for it. The thing is, Haring lives in Florida – a state where marijuana – even when used for medical purposes – is illegal.

He was initially caught in 2007, with 41 plants growing in his home. In 2009, he was caught with three times the number he was initially caught with. For his latest arrest, Haring will be doing jail time for ninety days, and serve three years of drug offender probation – which means that he will be undergoing drug testing. If he fails a test, he may be facing up to five years in jail.

The feature questions whether there is sense in locking up a man in a wheelchair. What do you think?

Florida Drug Screening

Substance Abuse

Important Tips to Prevent Date Rape

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As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we would like to share an article on www.Testcountry.org that provides self-defense tips on how to prevent date rape.

This year’s theme is the prevention of sexual violence in campuses, where cases of date rape are reportedly on the rise. The sad thing about date rape is that since it is something that usually happens between two people who know each other – a classmate, roommate or ex-boyfriend – it usually goes unreported.

date rape drugsThe first tip talks about first dates. If possible, schedule these during the day – and do a double date (or maybe even a group date) with a couple that you are familiar with or who will be having a date in the same venue. And have a first date at a public place and do not ask someone you are dating for the first time to pick you up from home or from your dorm alone.

Next, protect yourself from accidentally ingesting date rape drugs by not taking alcohol, since this is what attackers use to dilute roofies and whatnot. Besides, if you are under 21, you should not be taking alcohol anyway.

Also, be careful about your demeanor when you are out with someone, or even when attending a party. Sometimes, one’s actions may lead potential attackers into singling you out as prey for the night. Then, do not show a man that you hardly know that you are afraid of him.

Another useful reminder that was given to us was to never let one’s drinks out of one’s sight, and to never accept a drink from a stranger. True, having a martini suddenly arrive at your table courtesy of the cute leather coat guy (credit to Christina Applegate’s character Courtney in The Sweetest Thing) is flattering and sexy; but it is not safe.

Substance Abuse

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Date Rape Drugs

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and April 21 is observed as Denim Day. According to a feature on Lake County News, the “Denim Day California!” campaign started in 1999 as a move in protest against the decision of an Italian Health Court to overturn the conviction of a 45-year-old rapist who was accused of raping an 18-year-old girl. The reason? The girl reportedly wore tight jeans, and those kinds of jeans cannot be removed from the wearer without assistance.

date rape drugsThe theme for the 2010 observance of Sexual Assault Awareness month is “Prevent sexual violence… on our campuses.” One of the issues that is causing concern on campuses is the issue of date rape, and it is a good a time as any to provide information on date rape drugs.

Rohypnol or Roofies

Slipping a “roofie” in someone’s drink is one of the things that date rape perpetrators use to drug their victims. Rohypnol is the brand name of the pill Flunitrazapam, is said to be ten times stronger than Valium and can be dissolved in water. The “high” that a roofie brings can last for up to eight hours, and the unknowing victims cannot remember anything that happens over that period of time.

Gamma-Hydroxy Butyrate or GHB

As in most abused prescription drugs, GHB finds legitimate use in Europe as a general anesthetic for such conditions as narcolepsy, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia and anxiety. It is, however, not yet approved in the United States, because of the severe effects that it can bring to a person, which includes loss of consciousness and dizziness.

Health & Wellness

FDA Encouraged to Set New Standards for Salt Content in Food

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The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) has issued a report that includes an advice directed towards the Food and Drug Administration regarding the amount of salt that is added to food, according to a feature on TheHeart.org. The IOM is calling for the setting of stricter standards regarding how much salt should be added to food, which should be followed by food manufacturers, restaurants and food service companies.

salt in foodDr. George Bakris of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, who is the incoming president of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), praised the action taken by IOM: “I take my hat off to the IOM. ASH, along with the AHA and other societies, has been actively campaigning against high salt in the diet, but there needs to be a partnership with the government in doing this; otherwise physicians will fail”.

According to the IOM report, the FDA has the power to regulate the use of salt as a food additive. What IOM is suggesting is that the agency should start reducing the maximum amount of salt that can be added to food, but that it should do so gradually. The rationale behind the gradual reduction of the maximum amount of salt that can be added to food is so that consumers will not be able to notice the change in taste.

Dr. Jane Henney of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who is the chair of the IOM Committee that compiled the report, shares that the knowledge about the role that sodium plays in the development of hypertension and other diseases has been in existence for 40 years, “but we have had virtually no success in cutting back the salt in our diets.”

Chicago Health Screening

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Michael Lohan Visits Daughter Lindsay – with Cops!

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Various celebrity news sites reported the latest in the life of la familia Lohan – apparently, concerned dad (as he claims) Michael paid daughter Lindsay Lohan a visit in her L.A. apartment, where 16-year old younger sister Ali is also staying. And surprise, he brought company with him – cops from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Michael and Lindsay LohanAccording to Michael Lohan, who spoke to Hollyscoop.com (what a surprise!), he did what he did because he was concerned about the welfare of his younger daughter Ali, who is still a minor. Mr. Lohan thinks that a 16-year old does not belong in the apartment of his older daughter who is both famous and infamous for her partying and what not. He said Lindsay may be taking Ali along when going out clubbing; minor or not, celebrities are said to be able to get away with getting into bars and clubs.

Nicole Nishida of the Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Michael Lohan had called on the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department and expressed his concerns. The department sent deputies over to Lindsay’s apartment and were received and given access by the star. The deputies found that there was “no danger at all”.

Lindsay was not too happy about the incident and vented on Twitter: “He has NEVER paid child support, and is marrying a tabloid writer and can barely spell his own name due to his “brain” that has been ruined due to HIS drug use. when will it ever end… it’s been going on my whole life with him-hasn’t he caused enough pain?… thank g-d for my mommy… w/out her, i wouldn’t even know myself.”

As for Michael, he maintains his daughter Lindsay “needs help… and I won’t stop until she gets it,” according to a feature on People.com.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

DC Council Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana on 4/20

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It seemed like a fitting coincidence: the DC Council passed a bill approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes – unanimously – on Weed Day. According to a report on the Washington Post, the Council authorized five medical marijuana distribution centers, which can increase to eight as the years go by.

marijuanaPatients suffering from glaucoma or cancer or has HIV – or a “chronic and lasting disease” – may, with recommendation from a doctor, possess up to two ounces of marijuana in a thirty-day period. Unlike the medical marijuana regulations in other states, patients will not be allowed to grow marijuana; medical marijuana will have to be sourced from licensed dispensaries regulated by the Department of Health.

Council member and Health Committee chairman David Catania gave the following statement: “This legislation seeks to avoid problems while assuring the District moves forward with a medical marijuana program that is based on evidence and best practices.”

Surprisingly, though, the DC bill is critiqued by medical marijuana advocates (in addition to those who are opposed to marijuana legalization of any form), who say that there are too many restrictions in the way the bill is set up, which may result in its inability to attract established growers.

Oakland-based Harborside Health Center executive director Steve DeAngelo shares: “I think the bill is deeply flawed, and I don’t think it is going to achieve the purpose, which is protect patients… The regulations may be setting up a system that drives patients back onto the streets.” Harborside distributes medical marijuana to patients in California.

Early Disease Detection

Diabetes Drug May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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A study led by Dr. Christoph R. Meier of the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland indicates that the diabetes drug metformin may have anti-cancer effects.

breast cancer checkAccording to a report by Reuters, the study, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care, showed that women who have taken metformin for more than five years may have a reduced risk for breast cancer when compared to women who were on other treatments. Epidemiological studies reveal that type 2 diabetes patients on a metformin treatment plan may have lower risks for certain cancers. The feature also mentioned that the addition of metformin to a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin was more effective in the treatment of breast tumors in a study involving mice, as opposed to using the cancer drug by itself.

The results of the study were based on the medical records of women in the United Kingdom who were between the ages of 30 and 79 and who were being treated for type 2 diabetes. Among more than 1,400 women in the UK who were taking diabetes medication, those who have been on metformin for more than five years were found to be 56 percent less likely to develop breast cancer when compared with women who had no history of using metformin, according to researchers.

As of now, researchers at Harvard University are developing a large clinical trial that will test whether the use of metformin after standard treatment for breast cancer can help prevent the further recurrence of the disease.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Poll Shows Majority Oppose Marijuana Legalization

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A poll conducted by the Associated Press and CNBC indicated that most Americans are not in favor of legalizing marijuana, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times.

marijuana leafThe results showed that 55% of respondents were against legalization, as opposed to 33% who were in favor. Most of the respondents, however, believed that marijuana should be made legal for medical purposes. The poll was conducted from April 7 to 12 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media; the data was collected through telephone interviews of more than a thousand adults nationwide.

Most of those who supported legalization were of the younger set; older people tend to oppose legalization, as did women and Republicans.

Several readers of the LA Times reacted to the poll, however. For one, the question of legalization is not yet something of national concern – not yet, at least; Californians, however, are nearer to the subject as they are set to consider the legalization of marijuana in the state in November. Some readers felt that the results of the poll were not representative of the stand of Californians.

In response to the reactions of its readers, the Los Angeles Times has set up a poll where readers can show their stand regarding marijuana legalization.

Stipulations in the California initiative include allowing anyone aged 21 and above to “possess, share and transport” a maximum of one ounce of marijuana for personal use. It will also empower local governments to authorize the cultivation of marijuana and impose taxes.

Other states that are also considering legalization are Nevada and Washington.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Michael Douglas’ Son Cameron Sentenced

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Thirty-one year-old Cameron Douglas, the son of Michael Douglas, has been sentenced to five years in prison for possession of heroin and dealing of meth and cocaine, according to a report by Reuters. He was arrested last year at the Gansevoort Hotel in Manhattan.

The younger Douglas had pleaded guilty to the charges against him in January. In court, he admitted to being addicted to heroin. He told Judge Richard Berman that “things will be difficult this time.”

Cameron and Michael DouglasHis father had written to the judge in his behalf asking for leniency. His stepmother, Catherine Zeta-Jones, wrote the judge in support of her stepson, as did his mother Diandra. Michael Douglas reportedly wrote: “I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father. I’m not sure I can comprehend it with two generations to deal with.”

In a previous post, we shared a bit of insight into Cameron’s privileged life and eventual downfall. His first road to addiction started when he was 13 years old, when he started smoking marijuana; he shifted to cocaine just when his parents’ marriage began having problems. He eventually got hooked on marijuana and was reportedly cut off from the family fortune when he refused to get help for his problems.

Cameron’s father Michael was at court when the sentence was handed out Tuesday. There was no mention in the article about his mother; his stepmother was not present.

Cameron Douglas will be given credit for time that has already been served, which at this point is almost a year.