Kratom is a name for the product of the tree Mitragyna speciosa, which is native to Southeast Asia. The leaves of the tree are made into a tea or chewed by users. Initially it was scheduled to be banned on the 30th of September however significant public response prompted an extension. The Washington Post, Wired, Scientific American, and many other outlets have commented on the situation. [more inside]
...it’s hard to deny that something truly dire has ensnared a large chunk of the country. In a country as big, complicated, and diverse as the United States, that “something” is actually a great many things, but I would argue they can be broadly summed up by one idea: what I call the “one-bad-break test.” ... In societies that function well, there are various safety nets in place to prevent a bad break from leading to a tailspin for particularly vulnerable victims. Compared to many other rich nations, the U.S. is not such a society — all too often, when vulnerable Americans encounter a bad break, there’s nothing underneath them to stop their slide. Instead, devastation follows, sometimes in the form of bankruptcy and addiction and death.
On June 30, Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines. Duterte had served as mayor of Davao city for over 20 years, during which death squads killed an estimated 1400 people, including 132 children. Today marks exactly three months since Duterte took the reins over the twelfth-largest country in the world. In that time, an estimated 3100 Filipinos have been summarily executed. In remarks earlier today, Duterte compared himself to Adolf Hitler and noted, "there's three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I'd be happy to slaughter them." [more inside]
Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
There’s this frustration, this anxiousness, not knowing who I actually am without the medication. When I go off it now, I can’t get through simple chores, errands, tasks, anything. The biggest thing I hate about it is that I’m a drug addict. If I’m being completely honest, I’m dependent on it. There’s a lot of anger and self-loathing that comes with that. These are the thoughts that plague the medicated, the adults in their twenties who take prescription stimulants for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and have done so since childhood. [more inside]
A NYT photo essay: "Not since the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, analysts say, have so many children been at risk because of parental drug addiction."
This is what it's like to have sex for money when you're sick from heroin withdrawal [Content warning: graphic depictions of sex acts, drug use, and other topics which may be uncomfortable to some readers]
The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours, more than twice as long as generic medications. OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug. The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history.
Giving free booze to homeless alcoholics sounds crazy. But it may be the key to helping them live a stable life.
In addition to being a talented saxophonist, the late Art Pepper was many things -- among them, a drug addict, a thief, an alcoholic and a writer. This personal film portrait (from 1981) reveals the fascinating life of a remarkable jazz musician in his own words, as he describes his dreams, his criminal past, his upbringing and the meaning of his tattoos. He died the next year. [more inside]
David Milch, creator of NYPD Blue and Deadwood, has burned through some $100 million in lifetime earnings, and is $17 million in debt to the IRS, due at least in part to massive gambling losses.
She’s the dead hooker in the trunk. A universal cautionary tale, the drug-using sex worker is too wretched to be relatable, too scorned for even countercultural cred. She is repulsive, unclean and immoral. She is pitiable at best, inhuman at worst—dismissed by police lingo about murders whose victims are drug-using street workers: “No Human Involved.” If she’s white, she’s lucky enough to be merely an abject victim. If not, she’s a deranged criminal. She’s a scarred, blotchy mugshot in your local paper’s coverage of prostitution stings—recycled without regard for privacy by anti-drug PSAs to let kids know that that’s what they’ll look like after years of doing dope. She’s the woman I’ve heard my escorting clients joke about not wanting to fuck with someone else’s dick—not realizing that they are talking to a sex worker who uses heroin, as I force myself to laugh along with them.
It's a legal, natural plant that has been used in Asian medicine for centuries. Indeed, a growing number of Americans are finding it to be a useful alternative to heroin and prescription pain relievers. But of course, there's a catch. Like the opioid drugs it is used to replace, this stuff can be addictive, and it can also cause serious nausea. Unlike other opioids, however, it seems to have an extremely low overdose risk, which has caught the eye of people working to fight the record high level of overdose deaths. It's called kratom. MeFi's Own Maia Szalavitz for Vice News. [more inside]
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
Over the past year, the [Boston] Globe spent time with an East Boston heroin addict as she struggled through recovery and the prospect of losing her children to the state. Nearly every key moment was witnessed by a Globe reporter or photographer. Brave, broken, loving, at a loss, this is Raquel and her story.Warning: Does not end terribly, but does not end well.
Sending and receiving emails are important parts of his job. On average, he gets an email every 45 minutes. Sometimes, the interval between emails is only two minutes. Other times, it’s three hours. Although many of these emails are unimportant or stress-inducing, some of them are fun. Before long, whenever Michael S has an internet connection, he starts refreshing his email inbox every 30 minutes, and then every five minutes and then, occasionally, every two minutes. Before long, it’s a compulsive tic – the pecking pigeon of web usage.If the internet is addictive, why don’t we regulate it?
That Thing: A True Story Based on The Exorcist (Adam Sturtevant, Electric Literature)
The Runner’s High: It’s Like Smoking Weed [High Times]
Research on mice [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] has confirmed that a “runner’s high” arises from a release of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the same cannabinoid receptors that cannabis does. If you have ever run, biked, lifted weights, or performed any kind of physical exercise, you may have noticed a sense of euphoria and the feeling you are relieved of physical pain and anxiety. They thought it came from β-endorphin, but now scientists have confirmed that anandamide is most likely the cause.[more inside]
Rates of all types of addiction — not just alcohol — are elevated in aboriginal peoples around the world, not only in America. It’s unlikely that these scattered groups randomly happen to share more vulnerability genes for addiction than any other similarly dispersed people. But what they clearly do have in common is an ongoing multi-generational experience of trauma.No, Native Americans aren't genetically more susceptible to alcoholism.
Dallas County district attorney Susan Hawk's life fell apart after she took office: divorce, depression and thoughts of suicide. After she fired some of her most experienced staff and amid allegations of erratic or unstable behavior, she vanished from public view in late July. Nine weeks later, she re-emerged to announce that she had undergone two months of treatment at a mental health facility for Major Depressive Disorder. She says she’s ready once again to serve. Is she up to the job? (Some links in this post discuss suicide / suicidal ideation. Some readers may find linked content disturbing.) [more inside]
"Here are some books that will not only make you want to quit doing the thing that is killing you, but also offer an interesting narrative structure for writers because they flout the conventional hero journey template. Instead of a reluctant hero emerging from an ordinary world to delve into the tricky landscape of magic and tests, these heroes begin in chaos and emerge from the grungy ashes of last call and plunge into sober, or at least peaceful, life earned by one’s ability to overcome hurdles associated with addiction." (Antonia Crane at Electric Literature) [more inside]
Use of K2/Spice continues to rise, despite public health officials in many parts of America declaring it a national health crisis. But let's take a look back. Like many in the American military where its use remains twice as popular as marijuana, some early users may have thought that K2/Spice (or "synthetic marijuana") was a safer, more responsible alternative to weed for managing their substance abuse problems and for self-medicating anxiety disorders. After all, until recently, it was still sold legally throughout the country, and convenience stores everywhere sold the stuff. [more inside]
"Dying to be free : there’s a treatment for heroin addiction that actually works. Why aren’t we using it?" -- A long-form article, focusing on heroin addiction and its "treatment" in Kentucky, by Jason Cherkis. (Huffington Post Projects) [more inside]
The Hunting of Billie Holiday. "How Lady Day found herself in the middle of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ early fight for survival." [more inside]
Nuggets, by Andreas Hykade, is a short animated film about addiction. [SLYT]
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.
Only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.Metafilter's own maias on myths surrounding the disease(?) of substance addiction, and their impact on medicine and policy.
"Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Long Suicide of Montgomery Clift" by Anne Helen Petersen for Vanity Fair. (Warning: graphic description of car accident in the link.) [more inside]
The art world's food fetish is nothing new, triggering equal parts salivation and repulsion we gorge on so-called 'food porn' every day, saturating our screens with sugar. But beneath that candy-cane filter there's a darker side to our fetishisation of all-things sweet. With their Twix noses, salami decolletage and strawberry laces spewing from donut-shaped carverns, James Ostrer's saccharine-warped creations are delectably disturbing. Born out of a textbook childhood junk addiction, his new series Wotsit All About takes sugar worship to the extreme, sculpting mutated, larger-than-life candy characters from truck-loads of pick 'n' mix favourites. Pushing his sitters to the extreme he smothers them in cream cheese, frazzles and ice-cream cones, the food masks leaving a claustrophic, bitter-sweet taste on the tongue. Interview with the photographer. [NSFW]
You may know Neill Jameson as the frontman/honcho for black metal favorites Krieg, who have a new LP Transient for Candlelight Records, or via his involvement in Twilight, the supergroup headed up by Blake Judd of Nachtmystium and featuring members like Thurston Moore, Aaron Turner, Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), and more. But Neill's involvement with Blake Judd goes much deeper than that: Theirs is a friendship that was initally forged based on a mutually shared interest in music many years ago. In the following firsthand account, Neill recalls the history of some of the darker moments of his friendship with Blake Judd, ones that eventually lead to him severing his ties with the celebrated black metal musician, and the stark reality of drug addiction.
The Editorial Team of Substance Abuse make[s] an appeal for the use of language that (1) Respects the worth and dignity of all persons (“people-first language”), (2) Focuses on the medical nature of substance use disorders and treatment, (3) Promotes the recovery process, and (4) Avoids perpetuating negative stereotype biases through the use of slang and idioms. We ask authors, reviewers, and readers to carefully and intentionally consider the language used to describe alcohol and other drug use and disorders, the individuals affected by these conditions, and their related behaviors, comorbidities, treatment, and recovery in our publication. [more inside]
How much separates ADHD drugs from street meth? Not much. And where is it all going? "Aside from some foul cutting material, Winnebago methamphetamine and pharmaceutical amphetamine are kissing chemical cousins. The difference between them boils down to one methyl-group molecule that lets crank race a little faster across the blood-brain barrier and kick just a little harder. After that, meth breaks down fast into good old dextroamphetamine, the dominant salt in America’s leading ADHD drug and cram-study aid, Adderall."
This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
"Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else." [more inside]
Despite years of unabashed support, Canada's most conservative newspaper The Toronto Sun has published a 7-part recap of the Rob Ford scandal(s): Part 1: From penny-pinching councillor to crack mayor - Part 2: Rob Ford crack video hits the fan - Part 3: Mad scramble for the Rob Ford crack video - Part 4: Cops seize the Rob Ford crack video - Part 5: Walls close in on scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford - Part 6: The meltdown of a mayor - Part 7: Scandal-plagued Rob Ford unsinkable? (warning: only 20 free articles/month) [more inside]
The Ninth Floor. [NSFW] The Ninth Floor documents a group of addicts who moved into the apartment of a former millionaire in a wealthy neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. Shocking, haunting photographs by Jessica Dimmock. [more inside]
In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. … I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid “only” $1.5 million.For the Love of Money by Sam Polk
I smoked for years. I would quit for a few weeks at a time occasionally, but I always went back. For me, smoking cured everything; it could be anything I needed it to be. I could celebrate, mourn, fume, and daydream. It was proof that I existed: I was interacting with my environment and leaving evidence, all the while putting forth pretty much the least amount of physical effort possible. It was an excuse to sit and look at things. I could sit and stare into the middle distance and think to myself all I wanted because I was still doing something: I was smoking.
***WARNING ALL LINKS IN THIS POST POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE FUEL*** Crocodile (Krokodil), the super-powerful Flesh-Eating Russian version of morphine, has been called the World's Most Dangerous drug by such connoisseurs as Vice Magazine. Last week, news broke that it has spread to the United States, and even [gasp] New York City. [more inside]
Raised by two drug addicts with virtually unlimited wealth, Georgia and Patterson survived a gilded childhood that was also a horror story of Dickensian neglect and abuse. They were globe-trotting trust-fund babies who snorkeled in Fiji, owned a pet lion cub and considered it normal to bring loose diamonds to elementary school for show and tell. And yet they also spent their childhoods inhaling freebase fumes, locked in cellars and deadbolted into their bedrooms at night in the secluded Wyoming mountains and on their ancestral South Carolina plantation. While their father spent millions on drug binges and extravagances, the children lived like terrified prisoners, kept at bay by a revolving door of some four dozen nannies and caregivers, underfed, undereducated, scarcely noticed except as objects of wrath.
Alexander Trocchi—A Life in Pieces is a short biographical film about the once notorious Scottish writer, provocateur and ‘ungentlemanly junkie,’ including reminiscences from William S. Burroughs and Leonard Cohen. [more inside]
Former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page has recently emerged as a health guru of sorts, with an exercise routine based on Yoga. He's also reaching out to former wrestlers who are battling addiction problems, Scott Hall and Jake Roberts. via [more inside]
Via Gamasutra: "I used to work at [company], and it paid well and advanced my career," the person told me. "But I recognize that [company]'s games cause great harm to people's lives. They are designed for addiction. [company] chooses what to add to their games based on metrics that maximize players' investments of time and money. [company]'s games find and exploit the right people, and then suck everything they can out of them, without giving much in return. It's not hard to see the parallels to the tobacco industry."
A new brain study questions the existence of sexual addiction. The study, posted in the Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, concludes that so-called "hypersexuality" does not appear to explain brain differences in sexual response.
Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]