What makes some drunks merry and others prone to bar brawls? According to a recent study at Ohio State University, booze may cause meanness in individuals who are less capable of gauging the consequences of their actions. In the study, 500 men and women were asked to play a simple game. They were told they were playing against an opponent, and if they lost, they would receive a shock. If they won, they could choose the length and intensity of the shock given to their opponent. Before playing, the subjects were given a test to measure their concern for the consequences of their actions. It was revealed that the more impulsive individuals administered slightly longer, more intense shocks than their less impulsive counterparts. The subjects were then given alcohol—as they got drunk, individuals who cared less for consequences were much more belligerent against their—luckily imaginary—opponents. “They are by far the most aggressive people in the study,” says Brad Bushman, one of the study authors.
According to these findings, impulsive tendencies drive drunken belligerence. Luckily, these tendencies can be managed, says Michael McKloskey, a Temple University psychologist who treats aggression. He says impulsiveness often comes from a feeling of victimization—a person may act out aggressively because they feel the world is turned against them. But a sense of perspective can be learned—i.e. that guy didn't knock your drink over on purpose, so don't put a fist through his face. When people develop a more realistic perspective, says McKloskey, “they’re able to stay calmer, and they can keep their anger in check.”
A marijuana vending machine is being tested in Santa Ana, California: instead of candy or soda, your cash will buy you a chunk of medicinal pot, with around-the-clock convenience. Called the "Autospense," the machine is located inside a Santa Ana cannabis shop called The Dispensary Store. The machines are high security; to make a purchase, patients must swipe a registration card, and enter a personal ID number as well as provide finger print recognition. Dispense Labs—the vending machine company, who don't supply the pot—believe the machine is a safer way to distribute marijuana, especially since Autospence keeps track of everything that is sold. "All the way through the process, from vegetation to flowering to packaging, to inventory control, to boxing, to the individual stores," said Joe DeRobbio, founder of Dispense Labs. "It mitigates the black market risk because now there's no way to subvert the system." Police officers in Santa Ana have been cracking down on many dispensaries in the city, and claim that this machine is illegal. For now the store has been cited and shut down, but according to The Dispensary Store managing director, Lera Nastri, they didn't break any laws. "We just go by what the state law has mandated," she says. "And they say we are legal to be able to provide medicine for our patients.”
Mariah Haberman, who was crowned Miss Wisconsin Central last month, is making Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) issues her primary platform as pageant winner this year, and has revealed that she has first-hand experience with the issue. "I don't think my life was stolen from me, but (their drinking) totally shaped the person I am today," she says." I grew up in a family where alcohol was very prevalent, alcohol was always around and eventually in 2007 my step father was killed in a drunk driving accident, that obviously changed my life. And it changed my entire family's life." Haberman credits her grandmother and stepmother as positive role models who encouraged her to "dream big" and helped her to overcome the tragedy. With her Miss Wisconsin sash in tow, she now goes to schools and gives media interviews about her experiences as a child of alcoholics. "Talking to someone back then would have helped immensely," she says. "Maybe we could have even saved our family if we had brought this into the open 5-10 years earlier, instead of one of my parents having to die from an issue that we kept quiet about." According to Sis Wegner, CEO of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, one in four American children lives with parental alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Wisconsin is a notoriously heavy-drinking state.
Islamic militants across the Middle East are training their weapons on establishments that serve alcohol. Five people were injured earlier today in southern Lebanon when when a bomb exploded in a restaurant in the coastal town of Tyre. The third-floor restaurant, Nocean, is reportedly known for its dance parties. Police had to cordon off the area due to large chunks of concrete falling onto the street. "I was on my way to the restaurant in my car, talking on the phone. I heard an explosion and then something fell on the car," says Zahi Zaydan, the restaurant's owner. Four of the five injured patrons were released from the hospital shortly after checking in. This isn't the first alcohol-related attack that Tyre has faced: two bombs were detonated at a nightclub and liquor shop in November, and a restaurant selling alcohol was targeted in December. The majority of Tyre residents are Shi'ite Muslims, but members of Lebanon's Christian and Sunni Muslim communities also live in the city. Lebanon is one of the few Arab countries that has no bans for its citizens on the consumption of alcohol, although a number of establishments have stopped selling it due to intimidation. Earlier this year, two masked gunmen murdered two people and injured 20 more at an alcohol-serving hotel in Yemen.
Seems like there's only one place to go if you're a pre-teen wanting to get loaded. A 10-year-old boy was accidentally served alcohol at an Olive Garden restaurant in Indianapolis last Thursday. The boy—who was there celebrating his 10th birthday—ordered a non-alcoholic Frullato Smoothie, but the server mistakenly brought the child a four-ounce cocktail containing rum instead. The waitress later realized her error, and had the restaurant’s manager inform the parents that their son was drinking liquor. They quickly took the 10-year-old to the local hospital, where doctors confirmed that there was alcohol in his system. The boy was described as “alert" but “shaken up” by a police officer. "We find this situation completely unacceptable," said Olive Garden spokeswoman Heidi Schauer. "We are thankful that the child is okay and we will continue to work with the family to resolve this issue." The waitress involved has been fired. But it's not the first time that Olive Garden has made headlines for serving alcohol to kids—last year a branch of the Italian restaurant chain in Florida unintentionally served sangria to a two-year-old.
- Report Reveals Increased Drug Use Among US Soldiers in Afghanistan [Global Post]
- How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death [New York Times]
- FDA Says Focused on Tracking Drugs After Approval [Reuters]
- Indianapolis Smoking Ban "A Reason to Celebrate" [Journal and Courier]
- Civil Rights Leader Carl Snowden Charged With Marijuana Possession [Washington Post]
- Drunk Driver Made to Wear Sign Saying He Killed a Man [ABC]
- Demi Lovato Reveals Why She Tried Cocaine: "I Was Depressed" [Hollywood Life]