Celebrities and Drug Rehabilitation

Seems in past few months it is difficult to read a newspaper or watch the news without hearing that a public figure – be it a famous athlete, film actor, or professional musician – has checked into a drug rehabilitation clinic. The recent plight of Britney Spears serves as a prominent example of feeding such a media frenzy. We watch her antics and are quick to judge her actions, then shake our heads as she enters an addiction treatment facility, presumably to curb the same behaviors that make the news. For some, hearing of a celebrity entering rehab can be distressful news, particularly among those who look up to certain figures as a great influence, the personification of beauty and success. To see a hero fall can be disillusioning.

It is natural, too, to judge harshly those who make public their intentions to seek help for drug or alcohol addiction. As the middle class majority, we may harbor a bit of jealousy when it comes to celebrities. The beautiful people have it so easy, and get richer as we get poorer – this is one mentality people hold of celebrities. To learn of a famous person entering rehab may boost our own self esteem, and put us on a level playing ground with people who are otherwise viewed as infallible. To be certain, this is not exactly how one should approach such news.

Celebrities are human beings, the only thing that separates the famous from the obscure is the media presence that builds their legend. Most actors and musicians, sports figures and moguls, did not get to where they are by having everything handed to them. While one might argue that some famous people are so by virtue of birth, many do have to work to maintain their status in their respective industries. Actors on television programs may work ten to twelve hour days, while musicians must spend months at a time touring to promote albums. The energy expended can be great, as can be the pressures to live up to their respective images as built by the media and public expectations. And it happens on occasion that a celebrity may fall into a routine of drug or alcohol abuse as a method of coping with societal and work pressures.

To learn of a celebrity entering rehab should not be cause for jest, but a cause for hope. That such people recognize the need to seek professional help is a good sign, that once recovery is complete there may be more opportunity for movies, music, and sports. To acknowledge a celebrity is as human as you or I am may encourage the spirit to soar without the use of habit-forming substances.

Kathryn Lively writes for Williamsburg Place, one of the top drug rehab clinics in the nation. Williamsburg Place aids those who suffer from drug and/or alcohol addiction, and specializes in caring for health care professionals. For over twenty years Williamsburg Place and its joint rehabilitation center, the William J. Farley Center, have helped thousands of people from all walks of life take back their lives and overcome substance abuse.

The New Drug Recall Lawyers

Given the monstrous size and profitability of drug companies, some plaintiff lawyers are considering focusing more of their practice on drug litigation. In fact, shortly after Merck’s announcement of the Vioxx recall, some large plaintiff firms started aggressive media campaigns aimed at bringing in prescription drug injury victims. The media blitz has been non stop. Billboards, TV, web marketing, radio, and direct mail are just some of the marketing vehicles that attorneys have used to try and find new cases for them to work on. Many plaintiff law firms are no longer focusing on chasing run of the mill car accidents. Some of them have gone so far as to reposition themselves as “drug recall lawyers,” seeing that the future of their practice may be shaped by the initial outcome of these new pharmaceutical cases.

When Merck chose to withdraw Vioxx, the CEO stated that a voluntary recall was the responsible course of action. Prior to pulling Vioxx from the market, Merck was spending $500 Million per year on advertising Vioxx. Vioxx is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. However, Vioxx belongs to a new family of NSAIDs called “COX-2 inhibitors.” There are not many COX-2 inhibitors on the market in the US: Bextra and Celebrex may be the only other two.

Both the number of potential Vioxx plaintiffs and award amounts of the lawsuits are projected to be extremely large. The investment bank S.G. Cowan recently estimated that eventually more than 600,000 plaintiffs could file suit in the Vioxx case. Furthermore, some investment banks think that plaintiffs may file for more than $10Billion in damages in years to come. Even the national TV networks have covered the Vioxx withdrawal. A November 2004 story on the Vioxx withdrawal appeared on CBS News’ 60 Minutes. The CBS story implied that the US Justice Department is conducting an investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into Merck’s conduct. Given the media coverage of the Vioxx withdrawal and the number of people who were prescribed Vioxx, there may be many new “Drug Recall Firms” founded in years to come.

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Facebook and Other Social Media Sites Being Used As Professional Tools

Today, more and more potential employers are curious to see what you have going on your Facebook and other social media sites. The reason is that these sites reveal the real you and that is something employers want to know about before they hire you. They are looking for any red flags, especially drugs, alcohol, and lying. These sites say a lot about a person’s character.

A study that was published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology indicates that employers actually hire people to go through potential employees Facebook pages to see if they have any information on there that may suggest they would not be a good candidate for a job.

These people are to base an opinion of the potential prospect based only on the way that they promote themselves on social media. They are to look at photos, conversations, and their status updates. They are also to look for positive traits such as emotional stability, thoroughness, sociability, academic interest, problem solving, and affability. They were to spend no more than ten minutes viewing each Facebook profile.

As part of the study, the 500 possible employers were contacted several months later but just over 50 responded but it was fascinating how many of the prospect employers were spot on with their employability calculations based on what was seen on Facebook.

Some of the things that will turn an employer off are mood swings, people that are too emotional in their posts, posts about drugs and alcohol or sexual promiscuity. Believe it or not, employers are not turned off by someone that has tons of Facebook friends and has a lot of silly pictures posted. To employers, these are signs of friendliness and extroversion. One thing that is standing in the way is the number of Facebook pages that have restricted profiles.

This method is also being used by more colleges who want to better predict a student’s academic potential. Many believe that this is a better route to take then by accessing student transcripts when going through the application process.

There are a number of ethical and legal ramifications that must be considered about stalking someone’s social media pages, the main one being discrimination. This issue will continue to rise as more and more employers are using Facebook as a professional tool. In the meantime, employers will use what they find on Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest to determine if they like you or not. The only way around it, for now, is to make your pages accessible to friends only.

Mainstream Western Media Stages “Blemishing China Marathon”

If you Google “China” or “Olympics” on any given day in recent months, with the exception of the few weeks China was stricken by deadly earthquakes, you will be overwhelmed by the shower of negative coverage from the mainstream Western media against China and its hosting of 2008 Beijing Olympics.

For months leading up to the Beijing Games, China has been put under the Western microscope with accusations and complaints against the country and its government sweeping across all terrains, from big political issues such as Tibet, human rights, protest rights, press and religious freedom; to social problems including air pollution, government relocation of Beijing residents; to conspiracy stories about special visual effects of the opening ceremony and ultra performance of Chinese athletes; and to more trivial displeasures about losing a pair of expensive sunglasses, difficulties to access Olympic Green, English standard of volunteers, and over-eagerness of residents to help the foreigner visitors. The list goes on and on.

As if that is not enough, an NBC correspondent went on a live TV hunt for Chinese foods in Beijing. Let’s take a look at what she found: giant scorpions, lizards, silk worms, seahorses, iguana tails and dung beetles. Other Western reportors also cited rabbit head, pig brain and animal penis. Being a native of Beijing with 20 plus years of living there and a food lover myself, I have little knowledge where to look for these exotic things, not to mention ever eating them. Come on, China has a civilization of 5,000 years – Western reporters can’t be seriously thinking about portraying the Chinese as barbaric aboriginals or man-eating cannibals, right?

In fact, Dave Barry of Miami Herald admitted to a blog “beijingboyce.com” that “The Chinese people I saw all seemed to be buying things like lamb kebabs and fruit. On the other hand, the people gathered around the centipedes and scorpions on a stick were, in almost every case, tourists or American TV reporters doing fun features on weird Chinese food…. The Chinese don’t eat scorpions. They feed their scorpions to TV reporters. I would not be surprised to learn that the Chinese word for scorpion is “TV reporter food.”

Granted, China is not completely innocent from many of the aforementioned allegations and criticisms, but it is neither an evil host which deserves no credit at all. As the world’s fastest growing economy and one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, there has got to be something positive to report on.

You can be easily frustrated, however, if you are looking to read something more positive or, at the least, constructive about the country and its hospitable people. Sure, there is always the official Xinhua News or China Daily one can read for a change, but any praise from self-proclaimed independent and objective mainstream Western media is surprisingly hard to come by.

Meanwhile, for average Westerners, it is hard not to be misled by the drowning negative coverage on China. A homemaker in the US told reporters that she does not want to “legitimize the Chinese government” by supporting the Beijing Olympics.” Didn’t President Bush just open a bigger US Embassy there? What are we talking about here exactly? I am as puzzled as an Atlanta man who demanded an online answer for not seeing Russian tanks there.

As much as I disagree with President George W. Bush on many things, I have to applaud his recent TV interview in Beijing with NBC in which he stressed that the US and China as two very different countries and cultures are bound to have agreements and disagreements on a range of things, but it is important to have a constructive relationship which will help each other communicate disagreements.

Wow, how I wish that he had possessed this wisdom before starting the Iraq war – lives of estimated 1.2 million Iraqis and 5,000 US soldiers could have been saved.

Should the 2008 Olympics be awarded to Beijing in the first place?

Although the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games is coming up in a matter of few days, the arguments surrounding if IOC had made a mistake in letting China host the 2008 Olympics and if China had fulfilled its relevant promises seem to have just started.

Why pick a heavily-polluted country that is dictated by “free market Stalinists” which suppresses human rights, religion and press? China broke its promises to IOC for all of these areas, charges the mainstream Western media.

However, according to the IOC, its mission is “to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play – Olympic Spirit strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. Olympic Spirit seeks to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled time in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.”

Does China deserve to be awarded the hosting right of Olympics? Apparently, the Chinese people said a loud “yes”. The whole world witnessed how much grass-root support China got from its people when it applied for and won the hosting right of the event.

As a country with more than one fifth of the world’s population – should it not be given a chance to host one of the many games? With 1.3 billion people not represented, can any Olympic Games truly promote its mission of “building a peaceful and better world with mutual understanding”? That is why the IOC made its decision and it is undoubtedly a correct one.

By comparison, I have serious doubts if the mainstream Western media truly understands and honors the spirit of Olympics – questioning China’s legitimacy to host such an international event only gives away its arrogance, self-righteousness, entitlement and cultural supremacy in international affairs.

If the mainstream Western media is still the true believer of human rights and continues to uphold the universal belief that “all men are created equal”, it should acknowledge the birthright of any country including China, for hosting the Olympic Games.

While China needs improvements in many areas as every other country on this earth does, the changes and progresses made by the country in the past 30 years are unmatched in the its own history, which can not be hidden from view by the mainstream Western media.

China should not be forced to make any concessions or promises to any interest groups in order to be “bestowed” the hosting right of Olympics, thanks to the downfall of colonialism and imperialism! The country’s pursuit of reform in all domestic political and social-economic fronts, including but not limited to human rights and freedoms of its people, can and should only be driven by desires of its own people, rather than being imposed on by external forces.

In addition to disputing China’s hosting rights, the mainstream Western media also has aired many conspiracies about China’s intention for hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Show of power? Self-interiority? Promoting China’s development path to replace the US model? Bla, bla, bla….

We all are humans and predictably we all want similar things in life at the end of the day. Splendid displays, inflated egos or decorated ideologies can not replace people’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter and healthcare.

For hundreds of years, the Chinese people have craved for a peaceful environment where they can focus on making a better living for themselves rather than laboring for self-serving emperors or greedy foreign opium traders. They have been quite successful in the past three decades and now they simply wanted to party and celebrate with the world through Beijing Olympics. Is that so hard to understand?

Why is the mainstream Western media so angry with China?

In his recent article “Are the Media Being too Mean to China?” published on slate.com, Prof. Tim Wu of Columbia University wrote that “China’s idea of what makes for a better Olympics for foreign consumption-tightened security and cleaning up marginal elements-is exactly what makes Western reporters crazy.”

While Prof. Wu’s observation only touched on one of the surface symptoms that irritated the mainstream Western media, it does shed some light on the current tension. What he described is in fact a cultural difference in how the Chinese and the Western people receive and entertain their guests. But the root of problem is the ethnocentric mindset of the Western reporters to the cultural differences and their entitlement that things should only be done in their ways.

Similar examples are abundant, whether it is about different ways under which Chinese and Western athletes are trained or about how they differ in keeping their personal appearance or etiquettes. I am particularly disappointed with Prof. Wu’s comments that “China doesn’t have the manners and grace of the richer countries, even if it has increasing economic and political clout.”

While making noises during eating is a taboo in many Western cultures, being openly confrontational in social interactions is a sin in many Asian cultures. These are simply cultural differences that should not be judged as superior or inferior, or we risk entering the boundaries of cultural supremacy.

Unfortunately, it is this arrogant mindset that has led the mainstream Western media to judge China by its own culturally biased standards and self-centered expectations. It is not a surprise they drew the conclusion that China broke its promises for hosting Olympics, an allegation China has denied.

What followed was an irrational unleash of anger by the mainstream Western media towards China in an attempt to force the country into the direction the Western media desired to see. The collective media assault on China, however, is more based on self-interests and ethnocentrism, rather than fairness, objectivity and independence which the mainstream Western media often preach.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

A recent issue of Newsweek carried an article, “Rise of the Sea Turtles”, that found “Westernized Chinese people” tend to be more resentful to the West. Although I wasn’t particularly impressed with its analysis of the root causes, the article does provide us with a good pointer to an emerging trend.

I can probably qualify as one of the “Westernized Chinese people” the article was referring to, although I prefer to identify myself as a Chinese American after becoming a naturalized US citizen for many years.

I think it is unfair and simplistic to conclude that the “Westernized Chinese people” are more resentful to the West, because the situation is far more complicated than portrayed. The resentments, in fact, are not the towards the West in its entirety but more targeted at the double standard and intolerant attitudes often adopted by the mainstream Western media and Western governments towards China and other non-Western countries. “Westernized Chinese people” tend to be elites who are educated in the West and their advanced training and intellect make them independent thinkers. They are sensitive towards the hypocrisies of the mainstream Western media which scrutinizes China with one set standards while closing its eyes to the same problems at home.

No one person or one country is perfect and the Bible tells us that everyone is a sinner. If we (Americans) can allow ourselves make mistakes and accept skeletons in our own closets, why should we dissect other countries under our tinted lenses and punish them for not satisfying the standards that even ourselves often can not meet?

We should pursue “constructive dialogues” rather than endless “regime changes” by using force – ironically both strategies were supported by President George W. Bush. I salute his newly-found wisdom which helped him reach a peaceful resolution with the North Koreans and hopefully the same can be done with the Iranians.

If we desire international solidarity against terrorism, why is the mainstream Western media always so reluctant to condemn those who terrorize China? Read its coverage of recent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and you know what I am talking about.

If the mainstream Western media wants to be the role model for its Chinese peers, why does it conveniently distort facts, use phony pictures and brush away people who have different opinions and deny their right to have their voices heard? A Chinese American confronted a CNN journalist a few months ago in LA when she and many other pro-China protestors were denied chances to be interviewed, the journalist responded harshly – “don’t tell me how to do my business!”

We teach every citizen in the West to respect laws and regulations, yet the mainstream Western media participated in cheering the illegal protests and vandalism in Beijing.

Personally I had a painful experience demonstrating on London streets in 1989. It was cold in that morning and I stepped out of the picketing line for a few minutes to get some desperately-needed sunshine. I was subsequently handcuffed by force and arrested by the London police. When my petite wife disputed their action, she was also handcuffed and arrested. We were locked into separate cells for hours with no food and water, not to mention access to a phone and legal advice. We were only released after the demonstration organizer intervened and after being forced to sign the British equivalent of confession statements.

If being out of the picket line for some sun is a crime that deserves to be handcuffed and thrown into jail in London, why should the Chinese be criticized for expelling illegal protestors in Beijing who purposely climb lamp-posts, buildings and advertising billboards to display unauthorized banners?

Why should an American “pastor”, who proudly vandalized the two Beijing hotel rooms and then cowardly sneaked away, be cheered as a “righteous protestor” by the mainstream Western media?

If a Chinese protestor goes to the 2012 London Olympics to protest against the British suppression of Northern Ireland and hang banners on the Big Ben – can he or she count on the mainstream Western media for for the same “heroic” coverage? Should we also question the right of London for hosting Olympics and its commitment for press freedom if its police arrests the protestor?

Food for thought – “Do unto others what you wish to do unto yourself” (Confucius) and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone!” (Jesus)

Is Western-styled press freedom what China needs?

A highly-respected US scholar once told me that the Western media is founded on the spirit of challenging authorities and it is the media’s job to be cynical, vigilant, critical, defiant and negative.

I am a strong believer of the fundamental principles on which the US political system is founded. Besides many merits of the system, media stands out as an indispensable component designed to supervise, on behalf of the public, the three branches of the federal government. This is almost a perfect setup except three potential flaws – firstly, there is no mechanism in place for the supervision of the media itself; secondly, there are serious conflicts of interests between the two contradictory roles of media both as a representative of public interests and, at the same time, as self-serving profit-making enterprises; and thirdly founding media on the basis of cynicism and negativity has its own social costs.

For media to fulfill its role to supervise the government, it needs to serve public interests, rather than its own interests. It needs to be unbiased, objective and independent.

Nonetheless, it is well-known that the mainstream Western media has long blended its role for public welfare with relentless pursuit of ego, power and profits. As the world enters the information age, the mainstream Western media has become a new rising superpower with ever-increasing influence on domestic and international politics, economy, social structure, value systems and people’s everyday life.

Does Americans really have as much freedom as the mainstream media would like us to believe? As the mainstream Western media pursue freedoms in other countries, Americans are losing so many freedoms that once made them so proud.

In the past few decades, America has experienced a string of serious challenges and setbacks including the breakdown of family/social structure and value systems, falling religious influence and freedom, popular abuse and dependence of narcotics and prescription drugs, rising violence across the country, escalating racial tension and police brutality, widening gap between the rich and the poor, dropping standard of literacy and basic education, failing healthcare system that denies coverage of 23 million Americans, and a tendency of resolving international disputes with “regime change” by military force rather than diplomacy, violations of on constitutional civil and human rights under the cover of anti-terrorism, to name just a few.

Our children can no longer walk to the school bus by themselves for fear of drug pushers and child snatchers on the way. By the time they arrive in their schools, metal detectors await for them in some inner city schools. They have to leave their bags in lockers and no colored drinks are allowed for fear of bombs. Their teachers are not allowed to mention any religion or teach morals in schools. Even “Christmas trees” must not be called “Christmas trees” but “family trees”. They have to go through evacuation drills often to remain vigilant because school shootings are spreading. Now people are even more scared because a school district in Texas took the lead to allow teachers carrying guns to the classroom. But can we trust the teachers? Do we have to outsource our teachers from India or China one day?

As an American citizen, nothing is more valuable than my voting right. But even that has depreciated. Why? Because the mainstream media is not doing its job of dissemination of objective information. Instead it confuses me with a constant stream of selectively edited, distorted and manipulated information in order to advance its own preferences, agendas and commercial interests.

Let’s take a look at the tainted media pictures of presidential candidates. John Edwards is a wife cheater, but that has been kept from the public until now; Hilliary is a liar who believes she is entitled to be the President and her husband Bill is hostile to the mainstream press; John McCain is a patriot but a war monger who knows nothing about economy; and finally Obama, alas, is actually a celebrity, radical of racial politics, Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with it) and “Anti-Christ”! For God’s sake, stop harassing me with all this sensational talk designed to boost ratings and I want to vote for Paris Hilton, but unfortunately she is not on the ballot. So my pathetic one vote looks quite useless, well, at least for now.

Moving back to topic of Beijing Olympics. A Western journalist was quick to point out his disagreement with the slogan, “One World One Dream”, which is meant by the host nation to stress the commonalities all peoples share. Nevertheless, this reporter chose to emphasize the different values he has from the Chinese host.

Fine, let’s talk about the differences. If the mainstream Western media can acknowledge that peoples on this earth are different and that there are vast differences between them in the geographic landscapes, population structures, social-economic hierarchy, cultural values, beliefs, religions and ideologies, it should not be difficult to appreciate that their political, legal and media systems also need to differ from each other to accommodate for the specific needs of each country. It is dangerous to assume the systems of the West are somehow superior which can be transplanted to other countries.

Does China need a Western-style media system? I doubt it. While fundamental Western media principles of cynicism, defiance, negativity and confrontation may or may not work well in the Western cultures, they most-definitely will not be successful in the Chinese cultural environment which values hierarchy, harmony, benevolence and tolerance among people.

However, it is the Chinese people who should decide eventually what political, economic and media systems are the ones they need. I have faith that with five thousand years of civilization, China has the wisdom to draw from the strengths of the West, avoid its fundamental flaws and ultimately develop a positive-spirited media system with Chinese characteristics that is built on the basis of upholding public welfare and interests.

Final conclusion

By blemishing a hospitable nation, which worked hard and sacrificed dearly to be a good host, mainstream Western media only exposed the self-interest and ethnocentric facets of itself to the whole world. Such irrational and frantic behaviors will only serve to bolster more media scrutiny by the Chinese government, further alienate the Chinese people and erase any remaining credibility and relevance of the mainstream Western media in the post-Olympic China.

I love the motto of Beijing Olympics – “One World One Dream” – the dream of the Olympic Spirit under which all peoples of the world will be united with mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity, fair play and tolerance to build a peaceful and better world together.

The author is an US-based independent business analyst supporting multinational companies that seek cohesive growth in China. He is a native of Beijing and a naturalized U.S. citizen. He studied in the UK in the 1980s and has lived in the US in the past 19 years.

Drug Use in Schools

The availability of drugs at schools has increased over the last ten years although the overall use of illicit drugs has declined. Yet too many teenagers are still abusing drugs. In the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2005 Monitoring the Future survey researchers found that 50% of high school seniors report some use of an illicit drug during their life.

Drugs are easily obtained and teenagers know who they can contact to get them.
The Bureau of Justice reports that 85% of teens say they know where to get marijuana and 55% know how to get amphetamines. Knowledge of drug availability is similar regardless of race or location. Students living in rural, suburban, and urban areas all reported similar levels of drug availability at about 35% overall. Even more frightening is that 29% of students say that someone has “offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property.”

Some officials believe that the percentages of actual drug abuse are low because of the number of teenagers that have dropped out or are truant are not represented in the survey. These teenagers often have a higher involvement with drugs than those still in school.

Alcohol is the most common substance used, with 75% of seniors having at least tried alcohol and 23% within the last month. Alcohol use is often glamorized in the media and teens try to imitate the behaviors they see.

Cigarettes are the next most common drugs abused by teenagers. Most teens assume they can quit smoking at will. Instead they often find themselves addicted. Few people start smoking after the teenage years.

Marijuana has been used by 44% of seniors. The NIDA reports that 60% of teens that do use drugs use marijuana. The most recent survey found that fewer eighth graders today see a risk in smoking marijuana than in the past.

Inhalants are the most commonly abused illegal drug among those in middle school with 17.1% of eight graders having tried them. Inhalants are cheap and easily purchased. Most of them are common household substances like paint thinners, glues, spray paint, whipped cream dispensers, hair sprays and other substances.

Prescription Drug use among teenagers has been rising at a rate of 25% per year since 2001. Most teens take prescription drugs because of personal or family-related stress.

Many teenagers are getting the message through school, parents, and the media that drugs are harmful. But many are still not receiving or are choosing to ignore the message. The best way to combat teenage drug abuse is by education that means consistently talking about drugs both formally and informally.

Not in Our Community: Creating Drug-Free Neighborhoods

Every day drug use affects you. Oh, you may not realize it or immediately notice these effects, but drug use contributes to higher crime rates, violence including homicides, higher insurance rates, and even higher costs in retail stores. The United States Department of Justice estimates the total cost of drug use to be $67 Billion annually, and the number keeps growing.

Drug users come from all walks of life, hold all levels of jobs and live in every community. In fact, approximately 70-percent of illegal drug users are employed. Your next door neighbor or granddaughter could be using drugs, as often a user is the person you would least expect at first. According to national drug statistics, over 24.2 million people in the United States have used an illicit drug at least once in the past year, and over half of those people have used drugs in the past 30 days. Many of those people are teenagers. Did you know the U.S. has the highest estimated levels of teenage substance abuse found in any developed country in the world?

But how can you tell if your neighborhood teens or the owners of the house down the street are doing and/or selling drugs? And what difference should it make to you? Thinking that what people do in their own homes is their own business is a seemingly uncomplicated way to go through life. But it is not safe. Drug dealers bring crime, corruption and danger wherever they set up shop. Once one dealer or grower moves into your neighborhood, others often quickly follow, and sometimes gangs, too, creating an unsafe and unhealthy living environment for you and your children.

What are the signs to look for if you suspect illegal drug activity is going on in your community? First, keep your eyes open for a large amount of traffic and high turnover of cars in a driveway, or a large number of people going in and out of a house or apartment. Street level dealers and users will only stay at a house briefly in order to score their drugs. Also, note any unusual porch light patterns. For example, if the tenant or homeowner switches on an outside light in the afternoon or evening for brief time periods and those lights-on times brings the cars. Report suspicions to the police.

What Not to Do:

*Do not confront possible drug dealers yourself. You could be putting yourself in a potentially deadly situation. Superheroes only triumph in the movies. Let the trained professionals make the arrests.

*The police and other law enforcement agencies take time to build cases. They will not make an arrest within 24 hours, so be patient, but stay on the lookout for more suspicious activity.

*Give up. Neighborhoods can only get better if the residents care and then act on their feelings. Talk to your neighbors and establish a support group. Work on goals to clean up the neighborhood, including physically clean up, such as painting and litter control. Have nighttime block parties and light-up, take-back-the-night events. Invest in community pride.

What You Can Do:

*Get to know the people on your block or in your neighborhood and form a community coalition. Talk about how you can improve your neighborhood.

*Establish a neighborhood watch program to keep an eye on everything. This is one of the best neighborhood security systems.

*Leave all of your outside lights on during the night, or pitch in to pay for street lights. The better lit the neighborhood, the better crime deterrent.

*Establish a rapport with local law enforcement and local elected officials. Speak up at community counsel meetings and voice your concerns.

*Use the local media. Call the television and radio stations and print media and tell them what your community is doing. Write letters to the editor. Staying silent is the same as giving the drug dealers and criminals in your neighborhood the okay to do business.

*Publish a community newsletter so those who cannot attend a coalition meeting will still be informed. The newsletter will also help foster a sense of unity .

*Remember: change happens one person at a time.

Why Your Doctor Prescribes Pharmaceutical Drugs As Medicine

Understanding what is behind the Medical School Curriculum

The Medical Monopoly. Medical care today is expensive. A lot of time and energy went into making sure that the American public believes this is necessary. When questioning the need for such costly expenditures, pointing to other countries that have inexpensive, all-inclusive, or even free medical care, scapegoating is used to keep probing eyes off the reason medical care is so exorbitant. We’re told the fault lies with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It seems the desire for less expensive medical care is regarded as socialist or worse. The flaw lies within the foundation of the medical model and it can all be traced to the bottom line, i.e., the money, Rockefeller and Carnegie money, that is. In the early 1900s, when John D. Rockefeller was an oil giant and Andrew Carnegie was a steel magnate, monopoly was king. Monopolies had already been used to successfully drive up the price of oil and steel and these millionaires had enough money to fund whatever new ventures they pleased. John D. Rockefeller decided to invest his money into medicine. The medicine he chose was Allopathic Medicine. In the first half of the twentieth century medicine the United States was still an individualized affair. Allopathic doctors were already edging out midwives and traditional healing practitioners even though doctors had not yet banded together nor was their schooling regulated as it is today. The Allopathic doctors also had serious competition from Chiropractors and Homeopaths.

Homeopathy, founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, is a non-invasive practice that boosts the immune system to attack disease. It relies on a vaccine-like technology, spurring “like to cure like” by giving a specially prepared, infinitesimal dose of a causal agent. In 1847 when the “AMA” (American Medical Association) was established, Homeopaths outnumbered Allopaths two to one. Drugs were also commonly made by pharmacists in-house and distributed over the counter. Drugs containing opium or marijuana were available to the public without a doctor’s prescription. Cocaine was found in toothache drops, tonics and dandruff cures. Doctors had to aggressively advertise to out-compete their peers for patients. Medical Doctors were abundant in that there was one doctor per 750 Americans in 1900. There were 650 medical schools before World War I. Today, there are only 150 medical schools. John D. Rockefeller recognized that if he was going to create a medical monopoly he would first have to control education. Simon and Abraham Flexner were employed to do a study of medical schools in the United States. The Flexner Report came out in 1910 and proposed an executable solution to the problem of too many medical doctors. The Flexner Report proposed procedures and guidelines for medical schools to adhere by when enrolling and teaching in order to and regulate students and education. Rather than providing students a two-year training, after which they would earn approximately as much as an auto mechanic, instead they proposed a four-year undergraduate education, followed by another four years of medical training. They also proposed raising tuition so that only the most dedicated (and wealthy) of applicants would be able to participate. After the institution of this proposition, the number of medical schools dropped from 650 to 50 and the number of graduates in the medical field dropped from 7500 to 2500. That quickly solved the problem of too many doctors and the educational monopoly began.

Rockefeller and Drug Cartels. In the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, brave scientists uncovered the existence and importance of micro nutrients in maintaining health. They discovered vitamins and, along with them, deficiency diseases. There is compelling evidence that cancer, heart disease, immune deficiencies and even AIDS are all caused by deficiencies and could be cured with vitamin therapy. It has been known since then that Laetrile, or vitamin B-17, is instrumental in curing cancer. A deficiency in this vitamin is considered the cause of cancer and it was believed that curing it could be as simple as administering a vitamin. The problem with this idea is that neither Laetrile nor any of the other vitamins, minerals and other natural remedies is patentable. They are worthless as moneymakers and did not fit into Rockefeller’s medical monopoly model. Once the pharmaceutical industry was born, Rockefeller funneled money into chemical giants like I.G. Farben, funding research and development of drugs. What was the research? Human experiments at concentration camps during the Second World War. Managers from I.G. Farben and its affiliates were tried in a court of law at the Nuremberg Trials in 1947 for crimes against humanity. The verdict: US Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor is quoted to have said, “Without I.G. Farben, the second world war would not have been possible.” Still, the pharmaceutical industry in the United States and abroad was founded on research like this. Ask any doctor today about Laetrile or deficiency cures similar to it and they’ll call you a quack.

Ask them what studies prove Laetrile to be quackery, though and they won’t be able to articulate a reason. Doctors today just “know” that chemotherapy treats cancer and antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Even though there was a 90% decline in diseases like measles, mumps, and pertussis BEFORE vaccines were invented, doctors today know that vaccines are the only things keeping the public safe from epidemics. Rockefeller and his contemporaries were successful. Medicine today is a perfect reflection of where they put their dollars. Medicine is only legally practiced by doctors who have gone through Rockefeller’s idea of medical school. Anyone else found practicing medicine are prosecuted and/or put in prison. Medical school is costly, lengthy and absolutely unattainable for the majority of the public. Drugs are still controlled by major pharmaceutical cartels and the general public has no ability to diagnose or treat themselves. Instead, they must funnel billions of dollars into insurance companies every year to be able to afford the simplest treatments under a doctor’s care. Medical poverty is rampant. Traditional and indigenous health practitioners have been driven out of their posts as healers of the poor and the poor are left to fend for themselves. Medical care and pharmaceuticals are out of the reach of a growing sector of the population in the United States and even more so abroad. Rockefeller got his wish and he’ll likely never stop making money, especially if we continue like this. For more Independent Media & Alternative Health News visit: WholeNews.Org

Sex and Drugs: Effects of Addiction on Sexuality

Sex and drugs always seems like a hot topic in the media and in nearly all social circles, but the reality of the situation is that sex and drugs can pose serious, lifelong consequences to those who engage in such behaviors simultaneously. There are always inherent risks associated with drug abuse, and unfortunately there are also serious risks involved with sex. This is true of each behavior independently, and it is a significantly exacerbated truth when the two are combined.

Some people might claim that sex and drugs “feel good” together, and for some this might be temporarily true. However, the fact of the matter is that this suggestion involves using drugs – a significant moral, health and legal dilemma in the United States. Additionally, most drugs of abuse are highly addictive, posing a serious problem for the short term and long term sexual health of the addict.

Ultimately, when drug abuse leads to addiction and sex is involved, the already inherent risks of both actions are greatly amplified, and could have lifelong consequences for those who engage in these behaviors. This can include unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, rape and sexual assault, prostitution and other violent crimes. If you’re having sex and you have a drug problem, then you’re at serious risk and should take immediate action to get help now. Sexuality is far too important of a human function to risk damaging permanently.

Libido – the Primary Impact of Sex and Drugs

Think using drugs will boost your libido? Think again.

One of the most common misconceptions about sex and drugs is that a person’s libido can be increased by abusing various substances. While this might be true of certain supplements and pharmaceutical drugs, it is not at all true of street drugs – including ecstasy. (Ecstasy deserves special mention because many people see it as a sex-enhancing drug, but these effects generally wear off quite quickly and leave the user uninterested in sex or incapable of performing or achieving orgasm.) There are three primary reasons that drugs negatively affect a person’s libido:

1.) Emotional Distress and other Substance Abuse Related Stress

When occasional drug use or drinking leads to addiction, sex is almost always affected. People with drug or drinking problems often struggle with emotional disorders such as depression or bipolar. While drug use appears to allow a way to self-medicate, it actually only worsens pre-existing conditions. Additionally, because drug abuse has moral, professional and legal taboos associated with it, there is a great deal of stress attached with using drugs.

Because stress decreases the average person’s libido, it’s perfectly logical to argue that drug and alcohol abuse will ultimately have a negative effect on human sexuality.

2.) Drug Seeking and Using is Exhausting, Time Consuming Behavior

Most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol spend a significant portion of their time – perhaps all their time – finding drugs, actively using, hiding their drug use, and generating income (often illegally) in order to support their habit. All of this is extremely time consuming, and unless the drug user’s partner is also using drugs, most of these behaviors will necessarily need to occur away from any non-using partner. And because drug use itself is so exhausting and often leads to “passing out,” the opportunity and desire for sex may be significantly decreased.

3.) Physical Effects of Drugs can Cause Sexual Problems

Some drugs cause physical problems that may make it difficult or impossible to have sex. This can be something as benign as being unable to achieve erection as a result of alcohol consumption, to a complete lack of physical sensation, to other serious problems like pulmonary distress associated with use of opiates, or paranoia/fear associated with marijuana use. Severe issues like these can make it impossible to function normally from a sexual standpoint.

Sex and Drugs Lead to High Risk Sexual Behavior

Addiction and alcoholism are often breeding grounds for dangerous sexual behaviors

Just attend any AA or NA meeting, and you’ll hear countless horror stories related to sex and drugs. Because the drive for sex is nearly as powerful in a non-addicted person as the drive for drugs in some drug abusers, the two behaviors can often mix with damaging consequences including:

*Unwanted Pregnancies

Lowered inhibitions as a result of drug or alcohol abuse often coincide with reckless sexual decision making, such as the choice to not use a condom or other contraceptive. And when women who are addicted to drugs get pregnant, the person who suffers the most is often the unborn child. This is evidenced by recent reports that babies born addicted to drugs have skyrocketed in the United States in the last several years. This is because many women who are addicts do not seek out prenatal care and instead continue using drugs throughout their medically-unassisted pregnancy. Ultimately, women in this situation who successfully carry their babies to term (they often don’t) put their child at risk of being born addicted.

In many cases, babies born addicted to drugs are taken from their mother and placed in state care. Mothers can face criminal charges that may result in years behind bars.

*Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases spread rapidly through addict and drug abuser communities. Lowered inhibitions, desperation, unsanitary conditions and more can lead to an environment where drug users are significantly more prone to contract an STD than people who do not use drugs and have sex. And because many STDs are incurable, even one occasion of mixing sex and drugs or sex and alcohol can lead to a lifetime of medical complications.

*Prostitution

Drug addiction is expensive. Many addicts spiral down into a hole created when they exhaust their savings, sell their belongings and then begin stealing from others in order to support their habit. But for some people, these actions either aren’t an option, or there’s nobody left in their lives to steal from. This makes it all too easy to turn to prostitution in order to continue to purchase and use drugs.

Prostitution also comes with a naturally increased rate of transmission of STD, unwanted pregnancies and sexual and drug related crimes.

Sex, Drugs and Violence

It happens. A lot.

When people mix sex and drugs or sex and alcohol, things often go terribly wrong. While this could be any of the things discussed earlier, it could also be any number of violent sexual acts or behaviors. This is especially true for addicts who engage in promiscuity or prostitution in order to feed their drug addictions.

People who use drugs are much more susceptible to rape and sexual assault. Because drugs are involved, it’s easy to become incapacitated and taken advantage of. And as a result of the illegal nature of drugs, many victims are too scared to report the crime because they fear repercussions themselves. Additionally, there is an unfortunate tendency by law enforcement and others to discount or dismiss reports of sexual crimes against drug addicts or alcoholics.

In a large number of cases the sexual damage from a rape or other sexually-related assault can present complications for years – or even permanently. This is important for current drug abusers to consider, because these problems are likely to still be present long after they’ve stopped using drugs and achieved sobriety.

Sexual assault and sexual violence against drug users isn’t gender specific – both men and women become promiscuous, practice prostitution and possibly become the victims of sexual attacks. If drugs are involved, the dangers are always much more significant.

Long Term Consequences of Sex and Drugs

If you engage in these behaviors, you could affect your sexual health for life

When it comes to sex and drugs, the risks simply do not justify what vague benefits are sold to people in order to continue this type of lifestyle. In effect, a person could ruin their sexual health permanently – even if they only used drugs for a short time. The following are the four most prominent long term consequences of sex and drug abuse:

1.) Disease

Sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, Hepatitis and AIDS cannot be cured. Addicts who contract these diseases will be forced to cope with them for the rest of their lives. This is a serious consideration for people who are addicted now and keep saying that “one day” they’ll quit. That one day could be one day too late.

2.) Injury

Sexual assault and other sexual violence can result in permanent injuries that can impact a person’s sexuality.

3.) Sexual Disconnection

Years of drug abuse and sex may desensitize a person to the point that sex while sober isn’t appealing anymore. Additionally, sexual trauma or other bad experiences during active drug use periods may cause severe emotional damage that may make it hard for a person to become close to another person in a healthy sexual manner.

4.) Loss of an Important Relationship

Promiscuity, prostitution and infidelity during active drug use can lead to the loss of an important romantic and sexual relationship that you might not be able to repair once you’ve become sober. Additionally, drug use alone is often enough to end a relationship, so if you have someone that you care about now and you’re still using drugs, perhaps it’s time to stop, before you lose them…

Don’t let drug abuse and addiction ruin your sex life. Call the number below for an immediate, confidential consultation about restoring the balance in your life and beating addiction or alcoholism once and for all. Call us now or click here to speak to an expert about a drug rehab program now.

How Peer Pressure Can Be Multiplied Thorough the Social Media

Peer pressure has been the major cause of bad behaviors among youngsters, of which most of them are actually from decent homes. It is not right to judge that some of these young people are from bad homes, as that means calling their parents ill-mannered individuals. But a home could be said to be a bad one if parents fail to provide the needed platform for young people to grow morally. Such failure could be as a result of divorce, which then leads to emotional trauma on the side of their young children.

A documentary run by a popular cable network TV in 2010 titled, “American Al Qaeda” proves that an unstable home (which is as a result of divorce) is the breeding ground for bad moral behaviors on young people. It reveals how a youngster, after the divorce of his parents, became emotionally troubled until he became an easy prey to the most dangerous terrorist group called Al Qaeda.

Young people do not have the kind of personal defense mechanism adults have. It is easier for an adult to wade off the pressure to indulge in one form of vice or the other, but that is not just easy to deal with in the case of a youngster. Once a child is emotionally unbalanced, he opens himself to things like drug abuse, illicit sex, and unrestrained intake of alcohol. This they do in a bid to distract the mind from thinking about their challenges. These behaviors are not spontaneous; at first they come in the form of suggestions from people they relate with, whether offline or online.

It is easy to understand how that plays out offline, but if you look deeper, you will understand that it all started online with the use of facebook.com and other social media networking sites. At these sites there are various kinds of persons with different family backgrounds. Some are from dysfunctional homes, and as such may have imbibed into themselves some negative lifestyles they may be willing to communicate to others. As they start to relate with a youngster who may be hurting, they begin to suggest different kinds of things like watching porn movies, attending wild orgy parties around the neighborhood, and many other vices in a bid to get their mind off the situation.

At first, the innocent teen may shove off the idea of getting into those kind of behaviors, but since he may not have anyone at home who is willing to give me something better in exchange of that shown to him online, his mind will keep wandering around what was suggested to him. He becomes vulnerable as the emotional trauma deepens too, and before long, he will begin to buy into the idea of drugs and sexual indulgence. The pressure will certainly be too much to bear as the home from which he comes from is unstable with no one around to talk him over. Sometimes too it is hard for the youngster to even tell his parents even if his parents are that caring, and such secretive attitude could be as a result of threats received from persons he met online.

Every year kids are raped and molested by pedophiles they met online. Some have given themselves to drugs and other vices suggested to them by friends they met on social media sites. The pressure is on and it is time to save these kids from destroying themselves.

Is Personal Technology a Drug?

As many of you know, I have discussed the adverse effects of technology on numerous occasions. Specifically, I am talking about such things as mobile phones, video games, tablets and personal computers, those devices we embrace in the daily affairs of our lives. I have argued there is no documented proof it improves productivity (at least not with the U.S. Department of Labor), and that it affects our socialization skills particularly in the area on interpersonal relations. Such technology may allow us to express our creativity faster, to quickly access information, to communicate with anyone on the planet and share such things as notes and photos, but there is nothing to substantiate it enhances our ability to think. If anything, it diminishes the use of the brain. For example, many people can no longer perform basic math without the assistance of an automated calculator; We cannot communicate except by constant text messaging; We no longer believe we can compose letters or essays without a word processor, etc. It should come as no small wonder to watch an average office come to a complete standstill when the power is cutoff. Studies have also shown that extensive use of such devices actually lowers IQ. As Hicks points out in his book, “The Digital Pandemic,” technology has the ability to alter our minds; that it can assume the same robotic mannerisms as the technology we use. This means we are subliminally adjusting our lifestyles to adapt to technology.

We tend to think of drugs as chemicals or substances that are either used for medication or as a stimulant or depressant affecting the central nervous system, thereby causing changes in behavior. Under this paradigm, drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream orally, injected or smoked. In contrast, personal technology is absorbed through our senses particularly sight, sound and touch which, in turn, stimulates and arouses the brain, and provides a convenient venue for escapism. If used in moderation, there is little problem, but when used on a prolonged basis it leads to addiction and can alter moods, perceptions, and thinking patterns which leads to both positive and negative side affects. One obvious positive side effect would be a sense of accomplishment as in winning a game or successfully completing a task. The negative effect though comes from extended use whereby people become dependent on their technology to perform a variety of mental functions, such as math and writing. Further, we become impatient for results; as we grow accustomed to instant information, instant cash, instant photos, instant food, instant everything, and as a result, we become less tolerant of any form of delay which increases stress levels and leads to anger.

I contend our extended use of technology leads to an increase in violent behavior. This is a proposition that is hard to prove as it is difficult to locate reliable data tying technology to violent behavior. Also, such things as road rage, sports rage, work rage, bullying, anger management, animal cruelty are relatively new phenomenons and weren’t very prevalent just a few short decades ago. Consequently, finding reliable data over an extended period of time is very limited. The closest thing I could find was data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (its “Arrest Data Analysis Tool”) which revealed an increase in assault, sexual abuse, and threatening communications over the last ten years (the period when the use of personal technology soared). However, there is no direct connection to technology being the cause. Because there is no hard data, my premise will remain a theory until sufficient data can be assembled tying the two together.

In terms of addiction, technology exhibits the same type of powers as chemical dependency or, at the very least, gambling which also does not require drugs in the usual sense. Actually, the parallel between technology and gambling addiction is quite remarkable, and can be just as devastating. One interesting report that attests to the power of technology addiction is “The World Unplugged,” a global media study led by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA), University of Maryland. As part of their conclusions, the report comments on how students in the study handled the lack of media (meaning electronic devices):

“Going without media during ‘The World Unplugged’ study made students more cognizant of the presence of media – both media’s benefits and their limitations. And perhaps what students became most cognizant of was their absolute inability to direct their lives without media.

The depths of the ‘addiction’ that students reported prompted some to confess that they had learned that they needed to curb their media habits. Most students doubted they would have much success, but they acknowledged that their reliance on media was to some degree self-imposed AND actually inhibited their ability to manage their lives as fully as they hoped – to make proactive rather than reactive choices about work and play.”

Like anything, if used in moderation, technology holds no ill-effects. However, we have turned it into an 24/7 extension of our lives and can no longer imagine living without these devices. Because it offers instant gratification, it has become a new form of pacifier which we scream for when it is taken away from us.

The “pushers” of this new drug, of course, are the entertainment and electronic industries who keep refining their technology and content, making it even more inticing with each new release. They truly understand the addictiveness of this drug and how to use it for their benefit, as do politicians.

Let me leave you with one last thought; Life doesn’t emulate art, it emulates technology. Think about it, are we becoming more robotic in our thinking? Is our imagination and creativity limited by our technology? Can we live 24 hours without such products? The subjects in “The World Unplugged” study had trouble living without them and exhibited genuine signs of withdrawal, and if you are honest with yourself, you’re hooked too. So, is technology an extension of us, or have we become an extension of our own technology? Either answer is unsettling.