Archive for the ‘addiction’ Category

Inside China’s Fight Against Internet Addiction

January 28, 2009

Even though it was only a week before the Spring Festival — the most important family holiday on the Chinese calendar — Wang Hongxia was forcing her son out of the house. She took her 12-year-old from their home in northwestern city of Xian to a secluded Beijing military compound over 700 miles away. Like many other parents across China today, Wang felt like she had no choice. “Things have absolutely gone out of control,” said Wang, 45, almost in tears. “My son just beat and bit me again this morning after I wouldn’t let him touch the computer.”

By Jessie Jiang
Time Magazine

With the world’s largest netizen population of 300 million, China is struggling with a new plight: Internet obsession among its youth. Since the 2004 establishment of the country’s first Internet Addiction Center, the military-run boot camp in Beijing where Wang took her son, over 3,000 adolescent and young adult patients have been treated for Internet addiction. Hundreds of similar treatment centers have mushroomed in recent years in China, joining other centers operating elsewhere in Asia and the United States. The U.S.-based Center for Internet Addiction Recovery classifies the disorder as compulsive behavior in which “the Internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives.” (See photos of the Chinese village that processes the world’s electronic waste.)

Though the fledgling disorder has been widely identified, defining it in China has not been easy. Tao Ran, director of the Beijing treatment center and a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, helped come up with a strict definition for Internet addiction last fall: consecutive useage of the web for six hours a day for three straight months is addiction. The new standard, which is still pending official endorsement by the Ministry of Health, has aroused widespread skepticism in Chinese cyberspace, with many arguing that too many people could be wrongly categorized as Internet addicts under this definition.

The murky guidelines have not stopped anxious parents like Wang from dragging their children to Tao’s camp, a grim, four-story building in Beijing’s major military compound. Once checked in, most patients are required to stay for three months, without access to the outside world, cell phones, or, of course, computers. But unlike in other similar camps, parents of patients at the Internet Addiction Center have to stay at the camp to receive “treatment,” too — because, according to Tao, Internet addiction is often a result of parenting mistakes. For most families, providing a child this treatment is already a sacrifice. The total cost for a family usually amounts to over nearly $3000 — almost as much as an average Chinese couple earns in three months.

Life in the treatment camp, not surprisingly, is defined by strict, semi-military disciplines. …

Read the rest:


Former NFL tackle gives up his career to study theology

January 16, 2009

Matt Lepsis was living the good life last season, making millions in the NFL and finally fitting in when he locked himself in a closet and screamed for help: Please, God, help me kick this drug habit.

The Denver Broncos left tackle, who called it quits after last season, admits now he was high on drugs for the first six games of his final season.

By Pat Graham
Associated Press

But in that closet in his house, struggling to kick a habit that intensified after knee surgery following the 2006 season, Lepsis begged for help. He believes he was heard — and rescued.

The drug habit now gone, Lepsis is taking classes at Dallas Theological Seminary, learning Greek and taking an introduction to theology course.

The offensive lineman had nearly $9 million US left on his contract. But he walked away.

“People hear this story and think, ‘He was at rock bottom and had nowhere to go and was trying to find answers to all these problems. So naturally he looked to God,”‘ said Lepsis.

“That’s not what happened. I can’t stress this enough: I was loving life.”

The drugs had transformed him from a “wallflower” into a “social butterfly,” he said. After struggling with social anxiety issues, he was suddenly more outgoing and personable.

The week before the Broncos were to play Jacksonville in September 2007, Lepsis was outside playing with his kids when his phone rang.

No one there, just music.

Not just music, though, but the Dave Matthews Band, his favourite group.

Not just any song, either, but a song he knew well — #41 — and Matthews was singing the lyrics, “The difficulty is coming.”

A few days later, Lepsis put on his head phones at his locker — same song, same lyrics. His initial reaction was he was going to perish in a plane crash.

A friend reassured him.

“She said, ‘There’s nothing for you to worry about. God’s in control,”‘ Lepsis recounted.

“If it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. For the first time in my life, I was like, ‘What?’ I had never entertained that thought.”

On a plane the following week, Lepsis asked kicker Jason Elam if he could sit next to him. Elam, a devout Christian who now plays for Atlanta, was willing to listen.

“I really didn’t have any pearls of wisdom, just tried to steer him the right way,” Elam recalls.

Lepsis went to chapel before the next game. The sermon topic was fear.

“I was blown away,” he says. “I’m hanging on every word.”

He sought out Elam again and told him the entire story about his drug addiction.

“Can I become a Christian and a believer and still continue to do this?” he asked Elam.

“Jason said, ‘No, you can’t.”’

So into the closet Lepsis went. He asked for help, didn’t get high that day and had a horrible practice.

“I went into work sober for the first time in a long time and I had a miserable day . . . I’m angry for believing that God was going to supernaturally help me.”

His wife, Shana, convinced him to try again. The next day at practice he was sharing his story with teammates when it hit him: Here he was, someone who used drugs as a crutch to make himself more sociable, opening up to teammates.

“I get what I got through the drugs, but I get it through sharing my testimony for what God has done in my life,” Lepsis says.

In 2007, Lepsis was showering in a hotel room, thinking about religion and how his eyes had been opened. The bathroom mirror steamed up, but when the air began to clear, he saw the word “Jesus” there.

Probably just a born-again Christian who stayed in the room before him, perhaps a maid.

Whatever the case, it was another sign.

“This was a big decision. I didn’t make it lightly,” Lepsis says.

“What are the odds that two weeks after this decision, this is written on the mirror? . . . This was confirmation.”

Taking Dangerous Drugs in Ways Never Proven Safe, Effective

January 16, 2009

Americans (and many others) are so ready to find “medical solutions” to their troubles that they’ll try just about anything. 

And American drug makers know this and want your money.

Amy Winehouse and Heath Ledger remind me of the ravages of drug use and abuse.  But there are daily reminders in our pop culture and many of us see daily reminders among our families and friends.

In this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, file photo, British singer, Amy ... 
Heath Ledger’s legacy is not “Brokeback Mountain” or “The Patriot” or family and children and happy memories.

Sadly, Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of six drugs — painkillers and sedatives.  “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylaminediazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” said the medical examiner’s spokeswoman.

Heath Ledger

Thursday, drug maker Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, plead guilty to charges so egregious they’re criminal: marketing the sometimes dangerous drug in ways never proven safe or effective.

This is called “off label” use of druge: using drugs for purposes not intended and beyond the scope of safety testing.

America has a growing crisis of drug use, addiction, and mis-use of doctor proscribed medications….


By Sharyl Attkisson
CBS News

Alicia Adams started taking Zyprexa for bipolar disorder when she was just 18 years old. In a matter of months, she ballooned from 93 pounds to 170 and developed severe diabetes.

“The depression got worse,” she said. “I closed myself off from everyone – stayed in my bedroom. I didn’t do much of anything.”

Thursday, Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, plead guilty to charges so egregious they’re criminal: marketing the sometimes dangerous drug in ways never proven safe or effective, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Zyprexa is only FDA-approved to treat a specific bipolar disorder and severe schizophrenia. But millions have taken it for unapproved or so-called “off label” use, including:

  • children in foster care
  • people who have trouble sleeping
  • elderly in nursing homes.Prosecutors say Eli Lilly engaged an army of thousands of sales representatives in widespread illegal marketing.They were “trained to use the slogan ‘five at five,’ meaning five milligrams at 5 o’clock at night will keep these elderly patients quiet,” said Laurie Magid, acting U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania.Problem is: Zyprexa has serious side effects including weight gain, diabetes, even heart failure.

    Shahram Ahari is a former Eli Lilly sales rep and told his story for an education project for doctors.

    “Seizures, things like that have happened as well. And those are, you know, pretty catastrophic side effects to have in your patient,” Ahari said.

    Read the rest:

  • Amy Winehouse: Turning Point?

    December 29, 2008

    Amy Winehouse will one day remember 2008 as the year in which she started to recover or the year in which she started to decline even further.

    We just don’t know.

    We do know that Ms. Winehouse suffers from addiction which has been, as it usually is, costly, sickening and destructive….

    We pray that her addiction is behind her now and 2009 will be a better year.


    From: Bang Media International

    Amy Winehouse spent £3,500 a week on drugs at the height of her addiction, it has been claimed.

    The singer was often so desperate for a hit she used a screwdriver to scrape heroin remnants from her drug-taking paraphernalia according to Alex Haines, who claims he had an affair with Amy earlier this year.

    Alex said: “Amy had to have a heroin or a crack pipe near her or she freaked out. She’d keep taking drugs until she passed out. I reckon she spent £3,500 a week on them.

    “When Amy ran out of drugs she would cut the bottle she used to take them in half and sit there on the floor completely wired, scraping the inside to get the residue with a screwdriver.”

    Alex says he began a relationship with Amy – whose husband Blake Fielder Civil is currently in prison serving a 27-month sentence for grievous bodily harm and attempting to pervert the course of justice – after he joined her team as a junior assistant manager in 2007.

    He claims the 25-year-old singer is “addicted” to sex, adding their relationship was fuelled by lust.

    He told the News of the World newspaper: “It was like having my own little porn star. Amy was so dirty – she wanted sex all the time. We did it four or five times a day and she’d even wake me up for it. She was addicted to sex like she was to drugs.”

    Alex revealed Amy – who was recently pictured looking the picture of health during a festive break in St. Lucia – suffers from eating disorder Bulimia, which sees sufferers binge on food and then make themselves sick, and sometimes gorges on 10 chocolate bars a day.

    He said: “Amy suffered from bulimia, which is why she looked so thin. She would have a massive McDonalds and then throw it all up in the bathroom. I found my toothbrush covered in sick, and asked her about it.

    “She told me she suffered from it for a long time. Several times I went into her bathroom and saw sick all over the sink.”

     Amy Winehouse: Topless Part “Looks Healthy!”
    Drink and Drug Too Much? Treatment Rarely A “Cure”

    Above: Amy Winehouse, pictured in St Lucia on just before Christmas, has piled on the pounds while recovering from addiction

    ((BANG) – (C) BANG Media International) – Amy Winehouse (Thursday December 25, 12:00 PM)

    Drink and Drug Too Much? Treatment Rarely A “Cure”

    December 22, 2008

    Every year, state and federal governments spend more than $15 billion, and insurers $5 billion more, on substance-abuse treatment services for some four million people. That amount may soon increase sharply: last year, Congress passed the mental health parity law, which for the first time includes addiction treatment under a federal law requiring that insurers cover mental and physical ailments at equal levels.

    By Benedict Carey
    The New York Times

    Many clinics across the county have waiting lists, and researchers estimate that some 20 million Americans who could benefit from treatment do not get it.

    Yet very few rehabilitation programs have the evidence to show that they are effective. The resort-and-spa private clinics generally do not allow outside researchers to verify their published success rates. The publicly supported programs spend their scarce resources on patient care, not costly studies.

    And the field has no standard guidelines. Each program has its own philosophy; so, for that matter, do individual counselors. No one knows which approach is best for which patient, because these programs rarely if ever track clients closely after they graduate. Even Alcoholics Anonymous, the best known of all the substance-abuse programs, does not publish data on its participants’ success rate.

    “What we have in this country is a washing-machine model of addiction treatment,” said A. Thomas McClellan, chief executive of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute, based in Philadelphia. “You go to Shady Acres for 30 days, or to some clinic for 60 visits or 60 doses, whatever it is. And then you’re discharged and everyone’s crying and hugging and feeling proud — and you’re supposed to be cured.”

    He added: “It doesn’t really matter if you’re a movie star going to some resort by the sea or a homeless person: The system doesn’t work well for what for many people is a chronic, recurring problem.”

    Hollywood veteran of “the system”:
    Gary Busey

    France abuzz over alcoholic ‘cure’

    Heath Ledger’s Legacy: Thinking About Mixing Drugs Like a Movie Star During Holidays?

    Read it all:

    America’s Future? Grim Reality Unless Major Changes Are Adopted

    December 10, 2008

    In the future, America will be more diverse, more open to gays and more ploitically correct.

    Americans will be even more caring for the human rights of their fellow man.

    But Americans will generally be less wealthy, more stupid, more drug addicted and mezmerized by the future of the Internet and “Dancing With The Stars.”

    Can another conclusion be reached?

    America has lost or given away its industrial prowess.  Even the “Big 3” auto companies are on the public dole.


    Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are up.  And if you go to any hospital for “care,” you’ll end up loaded with drugs.

    Americans are working harder, playing less and earning less for more than ever before.

    And our schools are failing miserably.

    America still has massive military might: but many lawmakers want to give this away and spend the money on “other priorities.”

    The USS Ronald Reagan
    Above: Symbol of American greatness or a big bill payer?

    In the future America, food security may be an issue, we could run out of water, and our health care system may collapse.

    I didn’t make all this up: I am just good at reading the tea leaves (and the headlines).

    Barack Obama has a full plate.  And so do parents, lawmakers, teachers and business executives: if we want to see a brighter future for our grandchildren.


     U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures

    Government Picks Winners, Losers, Calls Other Shots and Pays The Bills: Happy Now?

    Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

    Juggernaut of U.S. Industrial Might Now “Rust Belt,” For Good Or Bad?

    California Water Crisis Signals Warning for Other States

    Lofty Hopes, Dreams Shattered By Politics, Terrorism, Economy, Other Realities