Stories about methamphetamine and crystal meth in the media abound about its highly addictive properties as well as the devastating physical and mental toll endured by users. But what is not frequently reported is the fact that methamphetamine was prescribed for decades as a drug to combat obesity - and remains legally available for that condition, as well as ADHD, under the brand name Desoyxn - among other health issues.
Studies conducted during the last five years have concluded that crystal meth has undergone a resurgence in recent years by women who are using the drug to lose weight. A 2011 report from the Burnet Institute of Medical Research in Australia notes that 30 percent of female meth addicts stated that weight loss or maintenance was the primary reason for their first use of the drug. Global figures for crystal meth use show 24.7 million individuals abusing the drug worldwide, with Australia reporting exceptionally high numbers. A study in the Medical Journal of Australia showed that 2.5 percent of its citizens aged 13 years or older have tried the drug. Statistics for users in this age group in both the United States and United Kingdom are significantly lower.
Unfortunately, crystal meth’s effect upon weight loss is essentially a falsehood. The period of lost appetite, starvation, and weight loss that is initially incurred after using the drug prompts the user’s body to store fat in an act of self-preservation to prepare for another round of deprivation. Upon achieving their weight loss “goal,” users will frequently quit crystal meth, only to discover that the weight quickly returns as the body attempts to rebuild itself. As a result, first time and casual users soon return to the drug to maintain the weight loss, only to fall victim to its addictive properties and horrendous side effects.
A Maryland college campus is now without a pageant queen after she handed back her crown due to charges of marijuana possession and assault. Porsha Simone Harvey won the title of Miss University of Maryland Eastern Shore, but was dethroned due to her arrest for pot possession and assaulting a police offier. The UMES Office of Campus Life announced Harvey’s termination in a formal letter to her, claiming her behavior was “inconsistent with a UMES student and someone of your position.”
UMES police officer M. Barnes arrested Harvey on Feb. 15 after she reportedly “took her elbow and thrusted [sic] back at me, strike-landing against my chest” after he asked her to exit a crowded hallway during a Homecoming Week dance. Harvey, 21, was jailed and charged with disorderly conduct and failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order of a law enforcement officer. Three days later, she was charged with possession of marijuana after a bailiff found a bag of the drug in her pocket when she went in for a bail review. She now faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for each charge.
The university has since denied dethroning Harvey for the charges and said she voluntarily resigned as pageant queen. “Ms. Harvey, reflecting on the past several days, felt her personal matters may detract from her ability to fully carry out her responsibilities,” said Anthony Jenkins, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "Moreover, she did not want to further harm the institution nor the reputation of the Miss UMES brand. We support and respect her decision.”
Jamie Lee Curtis made a frantic 911 call over the weekend after finding her friend unconscious in the back of her car due to a reported drug overdose. The unidentified friend reportedly had an accidental overdose after mixing alcohol with prescription pills. Curtis was driving her friend to the hospital before deciding to call 911 after her condition began to worsen. The woman was treated and released just hours later after appearing to make a full recovery.
It was a scary moment for the now-sober actress. Curtis is a volunteer counselor and public speaker for anti-drug campaigns after overcoming her own addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Her prescription drug use reportedly began at the age of 35 after having cosmetic surgery on her eyes and quickly worsened. Curtis initially began using drugs and alcohol as a way to combat "loneliness," but her condition deteriorated to the point that she was stealing pills from her sister, Kelly.
She eventually wrote Kelly a letter that was never sent to her. “I’ve been harboring a bad secret,” read the letter. “I have found and taken many of your painkillers. I’ve betrayed you, and I know that you’re angry, and you have every right to be.”
Curtis has now been sober for over 14 years and called it the “single greatest accomplishment of my life because it broke the cycle of addiction in my family.” She credited staying sober with “being courageous enough to acknowledge it privately with my family and friends. Working really hard at solidifying it, getting support around it and being healthy. And then talking about it publicly.”
- Toronto Crack Mayor Rob Ford Parties Post-Oscar In Hollywood [TMZ]
- Ricky Gervais Offers To Host Oscars 'Drunk' In 2015 [E! Online]
- Brother And Sister Arrested For Meth, Admit To Incest [Gawker]
- Miami Dolphin's Richie Incognito Involuntarily Admitted To Care Unit For Counseling [Talking Points Memo]
- New Hampshire Daycare Worker Accused Of Drunk Driving With Child In Car [WMUR]
- Drunk Polish Politician Faces Disciplinary Action For Shouting 'Heil Hitler' In German Airport [The Independent]
- Former William & Mary Football Player Charged With Selling LSD To Students [Daily Press]
- Dr. Drew's Daughter Reveals Battle With Eating Disorders [USA Today]
On February 24, Devin Blowers, 24, and Katie Ray Christopherson, 29, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide after shooting a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy searching their vehicle.
Just weeks before the shooting, the couple was arrested by West Fargo police after reporting a meth-fueled hallucination, where Christopherson claimed that “black males [were] pointing guns at the building” they occupied. When police found no such threat, they determined that Blowers was under the influence of methamphetamine because he looked “amped” up and had “extremely dilated pupils,” according to the police report.
“When a person has been binging on methamphetamine but is in the coming down phase, they are incredibly irritable, prone to mood swings, bursts of anger, all sorts of things like that that,” said Michael Kaspari, a registered nurse and agency director of First Step Recovery in Fargo. “It’s behavior that a person normally wouldn’t engage in.”
Blowers spent about a week in jail and was charged with a misdemeanor of ingesting a controlled substance, which led to one year of unsupervised probation and chemical dependency counseling. Christopherson had a felony possession charge filed against her and a warrant issued for her arrest.
The following week, Blowers and Christopherson were stopped by Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Alexander, who checked their IDs and was shot in the chest by Blowers. Alexander was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was not seriously injured. After failing to flee, Blowers shot and killed Christopherson before turning the gun on himself.
The couple leaves behind three young children, including a one-month-old daughter born prematurely and currently in the neonatal intensive care unit of Essentia Health in Fargo.
While advocates argue that marijuana is relatively harmless, studies show that smoking pot could have a detrimental effect on teenage brain development.
"[I]n childhood our brain is larger," said Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "Then during the teenage years our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren't really used, and it prunes back. It actually makes the brain faster and more efficient."
Using marijuana during this time is a very bad idea. "It's the absolute worst time," Lisdahl said, and further explained that our teenage years are the "last golden opportunity to make the brain as healthy and smart as possible."
Lisdahl cited a growing body of studies that suggests that regular pot use - just once a week or more - can affect the parts of the teenage brain that deal with problem solving and memory. One study showed that regular marijuana users have grades that, on average, are one point below their peers. Another study showed that marijuana users lost about eight IQ points between childhood and adulthood, while non-users did not lose any. And adults who use marijuana scored lower on memory tests than non-using adults.
But Dr. Gregory Tau said that these studies present a chicken-or-egg dilemma.
"It's very possible that there's something very different to begin with among teenagers who tend to get into trouble with marijuana or who become heavy users," Tau said, explaining why it could be these factors that drive people to marijuana use. "They could have subtle emotional differences, perhaps some cognitive functioning differences. It may be hard for them to 'fit in' with a peer group that's more achievement-oriented."
Though expressing doubts about the studies, Tau doesn't have any qualms with the idea that marijuana adversely affects the teenage brain. "It's not rocket science to think if you smoke weed when your brain is developing, that it can't be 'good' for you, just like any 'toxic' substance isn't good for you," he said.
Teenagers, however, don't seem to know about or care for such studies. In a recent federal survey, 60 percent of high school seniors believe marijuana is safe. Around 23 percent reporting using marijuana in the past month, more than alcohol and cigarettes. Six percent reported using pot every day, a number that has tripled over the past decade. Lisdahl said that more teenagers use pot in states where medical marijuana is legal and worries what will become of teenagers in states that legalize recreational pot.