|January 2007 / Issue No. 27
Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:
1. Top Story-of-the-Month
3. Dear Doug in which a recent letter to "Dear Annie" or other "help" column is rewritten, with responses given from the unique perspective that alcohol or other drug addiction best explains the misbehaviors described
4. Alcoholic Myth-of-the-Month
5. Alcoholic Antic-of-the-Month, usually where someone deserves the Darwin Award, but lived.
There is something for everyone!
Actor Wesley Snipes, Tax Evasion and Addiction
The idea that white-collar criminals are usually alcoholics had never been seriously considered until I introduced the possibility in Drunks, Drugs & Debits. Yet the abuse of others, whether physical, psychological or financial, indicates alcoholism. The odds of addiction in a person committing fraud are, therefore, no different than those in someone engaging in other criminal acts. When “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch failed to report his $1.01 million in winnings, along with $321,000 from a 2001 radio stint the following year, I ascribed an 80% likelihood of addiction, earning him a spot in the “Under Watch” section of the March 2005 Addiction Report. After publishing that issue, I wondered whether a little digging could provide the evidence of addictive use required to qualify for “top story” or “runners-up.”
It turned out that Hatch had filed his fraudulent tax returns a year late, had been charged with abusing his then 9-year-old son, was convicted of assaulting his ex-boyfriend and ordered by the tax case judge to undergo periodic alcohol and other-drug testing. This earned him the top spot in the Report, in which I concluded that the best explanation for Hatch's idiotic criminal behaviors, convoluted thinking and distortion of logic is the inability of his neo-cortex to restrain the impulses and survival instincts of the lower brain centers. This also happened to explain how such an idiot could win a “Survivor” competition. The answer to the April 2005 top story’s headline, "What could ‘Survivor’ winner Richard Hatch be thinking?" was he isn’t thinking, because he can’t.
Actor Wesley Snipes, star of the “Blade” trilogy, has been charged with attempting to collect $11.4 million in fraudulent refunds for 1996 and 1997, along with failing to file tax returns since 1999. He has employed typical “tax protester” tactics, allegedly challenging the authority of an agent of the Internal Revenue Service to investigate him and allegedly signing an Affidavit of Incompetence claiming he does not understand the tax laws or know if they apply to him. He also reportedly claims that U.S. citizens must pay tax only on income earned outside the U.S. (the “861 argument,” after section 861 of the tax code). Acting on such extraordinarily twisted logic (clue # 12 in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics) has resulted in the possibility of serving up to 16 years in Leavenworth or its Hollywood equivalent.
Snipes, who has earned tens of millions from his acting, recently lost his Florida home to foreclosure, was sued for $2 million by his agent and was accused of having sex with a woman in a Chicago crack house. He also was termed “undesirable” by South African authorities for having attempted to pass through Johannesburg International Airport with a fake South African passport, for which no one has offered an explanation. In the latest indictment, Snipes was accused of using accountants with a prior history of filing false refund claims and who have been prohibited from preparing tax returns.
Mr. Snipes obviously thinks he is more powerful than the U.S. government, an extreme version of the Supreme Being complex (detailed in Chapter 4 of How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics). Recalling that high social, political or economic status of an addict increases enabling, we could assume that proving addictive use of alcohol or other drugs might be challenging. However, one journalist, disgusted by what he saw over two sordid days on the “Blade: Trinity” set in Vancouver, British Columbia, spilled the beans. In an http://efilmcritic.com piece entitled, “Drugs, Stand-Ins, Mood Swings and Legal Action: The Real Wesley Snipes,” Chris Parry recounts a “drug-affected, moody, uncooperative piece of garbage, masquerading as an actor while all [those] around him tried to cover up for his shitty attitude.” He claims that Snipes refused to show up for work unless absolutely necessary, preferring to sit in his Winnebago and enjoy “Vancouver’s most famous export…which let’s just say is illegal in the US unless you’ve got glaucoma.” Another source comments that the married Wesley Snipes enjoys party girls, Cristal champagne and plenty of expensive, imported dope. The behaviors are consistent with addictive use of psychotropic drugs capable of causing distortions of perception and memory in susceptible individuals, resulting in impaired judgment, manifesting in bizarre, unethical and possibly criminal behaviors. Therefore, we’ll give Mr. Snipes the benefit of the doubt: addiction is the best explanation for the fantastic notion that he is more powerful than the taxing arm of the U.S. government.
Runners-up for top story of the month:
Actor Jack Nicholson, 69, reportedly infuriating the producers and co-stars of his latest movie, “The Bucket List,” by staggering into the film’s first read-through almost an hour late, acting belligerent, changing his lines and lighting a cigarette indoors (in California). An observer claimed that Nicholson “refused to take off his sunglasses, cursed and babbled over others as they tried to read their lines…”
“The Simple Life” costar Nicole Richie, 25, arrested for DUI after being reported for driving the wrong way on the 134 freeway in Burbank, California at 3 a.m. When cops responded, they found Richie stopped in the carpool lane on her cell phone. She admitted to officers she’d smoked pot and taken Vicodin. She previously pled guilty for heroin possession, for which Vicodin is a good substitute (any heroin addict will take Vicodin in a pinch). After three arrests, five car accidents and a stint in rehab, she told reporters, “I’m now, at 24, just learning to deal with my problems instead of concealing them with drugs.” She’s proven to society she’s not just an irritant, but a true danger to those who happen to be in her way. So far, the rest of us have been luckybut, inevitably, tragedy will occur. Instead of letting her “learn to deal with problems” at society’s risk, why not just put an ankle bracelet on her, require regular testing for other drugs and, should she fail, lock her up for a few months? We’d be doing herand her potential victimsa favor. Her dad, singer Lionel Richie, agreeshe thinks jail just might do her some good. By the way, Richie appears to be drinking buddies with actress Mary-Kate Olsen and one of last month’s runners-up, actress Lindsay Lohan.
Miss USA Tara Conner, given a “second chance” to keep her title by Miss USA Pageant owner Donald Trump (who may be a prime example of a benignaka, non-addictedegomaniac). After testing positive for cocaine and reported boozing up a storm at age 20, Trump ordered her into rehabfor her second time. She was previously booted off her high school cheerleading squad for having vodka, marijuana and boys in her room at the National Cheerleading Competition and was removed from high school for being obviously drunk in class. According to reports, “despite” her partying, she was “determined to hit it big.” Unfortunately, “despite” suggests that heavy drinking (aka alcoholism) and big goals don’t overlap. More accurately: the way in which her body bio-chemically processes alcohol results in power-seeking behaviors, which due to her upbringing and natural good looks has driven her to excel in beauty-based competitions. Coincidentally, Miss Nevada Katie Rees, who was recently photographed as obviously inebriated, admitted on her web site that her major weakness is “partying.”
Actor Lane Garrison, 26, a co-star of the Fox television drama, “Prison Break,” crashing his Land Rover, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring two 15-year-old girls who he had just met at a grocery store and accompanied to a party. According to Beverly Hills police, Garrison showed signs of “alcohol intoxication” and “alcohol containers” were found inside his SUV. His attorney, Harland Braun, asserted that Garrison had consumed a single margarita at a Mexican restaurant prior to another “one drink” at the party, while TMZ.com reported that he drank “several shots” of Grey Goose vodka at the party. Inadvertently suggesting Garrison was in an alcoholic blackout, Braun said the actor “doesn’t remember anything about the accident…He thinks he was driving but he can’t swear to it.” Braun represented Susan Conkey Rhea, whose horrific story I recount on page 31 of Get Out of the Way! and later represented actor Robert Blake in the famous murder trial. He also boasts on his web site of representing Steven Segal, Gary Busey and Dennis Rodman, all of whom exhibit numerous indications of having the disease of alcoholism. Garrison, who was reported as “despondent” over the incident, lived with his family minister, Joe Simpson and his two girls, pop stars Ashley and Jessica Simpson, for a year while a teen and credits Mr. Simpson for keeping him out of prison after spending much of his youth stealing everything from cars and stereos to wine.
Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, arrested for DUI and possession of cocaine after almost striking a sheriff’s vehicle outside a Scottsdale, Arizona night club. Need I say more?
Former Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, executed by hanging. One suggested mode of justice would be to require former despots to sit in solitary for ten years, at which time they should be allowed to apologize to their victims before being permitted to take a pistol to their own heads. However, quick execution of tyrants is more satisfying than allowing them to live to ripe old ages without punishment, as Uganda’s Idi Amin and Cambodia’s Pol Pot did. There is little doubt that if Saddam had been allowed to stay in power he would do what he could to obtain nuclear weapons before his arch-enemy Iranand judging by the fact that he gassed Kurds twice, he might have used them. I was formerly a radically isolationist libertarian, but my studies of the alcoholic mind-set have turned me into a rabid interventionistalbeit, still very libertarian. My solution, briefly, is not to spread democracy into foreign lands so much as free markets: privatize the oil fields, giving shares to every Iraqi citizen. Few people will blow up what is theirs.
Saparmurat Niyazov, aka his self-described moniker, “Turkmenbashi the Great,” dictator of Turkmenistan, dead of a heart attack at age 66. The cult of personality he created is perhaps exceeded only by that of Kim Jong Il of North Korea (see TAR October 2004 for the expose of Kim’s alcoholism). Entire cities, meteorites and months of the year were named after him. Thousands of gold statues were spread across Turkmenistan, a nation of only 5 million on twice the land area of Germany. His image was plastered on currency, carpets and, appropriately, even bottles of vodka.
A BBC World Service journalist, Hamid Ismailov, rhetorically asked in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, “What could have possibly produced this sort of man?” His answer: Niyazov was an orphan. Yet one can point to millions of other orphans, Mr. Ismailov, who never develop megalomania. Try this: By pure happenstance, I boarded a chair lift while skiing in Mammoth Lakes, California, with the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish and his wife. I had time to share the idea that alcoholism-driven megalomania likely drives most of the world’s despots and ask, “What about the head of Turkmenistan?” He didn’t hesitateabsolutely alcoholic, but he said he’d deny ever having met me. Perhaps, Mr. Harnish, now that Niyazov is dead you’ll help the worldand Mr. Ismailovunderstand the root of most non-benign egomania.
North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong, charged with ethics violations by the North Carolina bar for making misleading and inflammatory statements to the media about the Duke lacrosse athletes under suspicion of sexual assault of a stripper (reported in the top story of the Thorburn Addiction Report, April-May 2006). Nifong was behind in his reelection campaign until he brought rape charges against three members of the Duke University lacrosse team. As columnist, social commentator and economist Thomas Sowell writes, “…this case was the salvation of his career, by enabling him to win the black vote with inflammatory charges against white students accused of raping a black woman….” Nifong dropped the rape charges after the head of a DNA lab testified that while the lab found DNA from other men on the stripper, none was from the Duke studentsand Nifong, who knew this months ago, failed to disclose this to the defense. Nifong is forging on with charges of kidnapping, which would keep the focus off Nifong, who as Sowell points out could then claim “he had some basis to prosecute in this case” by persuading the students to plea bargain down to minor penalties. The extraordinary accusations, which may prove to be a disgusting instance of alcoholic prosecutorial abuse, is reminiscent of the infamous 1912 case recounted by author James Graham in which the alcoholic New York City District Attorney Charles Whitman had police lieutenant Charles Becker executed for a crime he did not commit. As I said in Drunks, Drugs & Debits, “Once an addict achieves a position of power, he is out of control and cannot help himself.” Therefore, the behavior itself is an excellent indicator of alcoholism.
Nevada Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons, accused of assaulting a cocktail waitress three weeks before the election. Chrissy Mazzeo, 32, accused Gibbons of pushing and propositioning her near a restaurant where “the two had been drinking with friends.” Mazzeo made three 911 calls that night, saying she had been assaulted by the married five-term congressman. Gibbons denied the charges, which were dropped due to lack of evidence. I would submit that the behavior of one or the other, if not both, is likely best explained by alcoholism.
Actor Jamie Foxx, confronted by security guards during his 39th birthday celebration at a posh Beverly Hills hotel at 3 a.m. When asked to quiet down after hearing complaints from other guests, Foxx told the guards, “It’s my birthday, and I’m going to party. Don’t you know who I am?” Although only one incident, it is an excellent sign of an inordinately large sense of self-importance, which along with a lack of concern for the rights of others is strongly suggestive of alcoholism.
Co-Dependent of the Month:
Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed, killed in the August 1997 crash that also took the lives of Princess Diana and driver Henri Paul. Al Fayed continues to claim that Paul’s blood samples were swapped as part of an elaborate cover-up of a plot to murder Princess Diana to stop her from marrying his son, a Muslim. Paul was a known “heavy drinker,” his BAL was reported at .18 per cent, tranquilizers were found in his system, he didn’t look drunk in the hotel video immediately prior to the tragedy and he drove 90 mph in a 30 mph zone in a tunnel with giant pillars, all symptoms of alcoholism. Paul simply did what alcoholics do: he acted recklessly without regard to rules, common sense and concern for the welfare of others. Message to Al Fayed: alcoholism, not conspiracy, explains your son’s death.
Enablers of the Month:
Venezuelan Shipping tycoon Wilmer Ruperti who, along with other well-connected businessmen known as “Boliburgueses”Bolivarian bourgeoisie, helped Hugo Chavez steal the latest Venezuelan election. Like so many supporters of Josef Stalin, we might predict that Ruperti and others of his ilk will later suffer horribly. Eighteen-year-old whiskeys are reportedly the rage in Caracas, clogged with Hummers and top-of-the-line SUVs, while four out of 10 Venezuelans scrape by on less than $2 a day. According to Gustavo Coronel in a report published by the Cato Institute, in just one small sign of massive corruption 95% of all public contracts are now awarded without competitive bidding. Chavez “won” over 60% of the vote in a country of 26 million people, 60% of whom are too young to register, in which 17 million voted. We might add “uses convoluted math to achieve and maintain positions of power” to the list of signs and symptoms of alcoholism detailed in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics.
District Attorney Mike Nifong, who did not return reporters’ phone calls asking for his comment on the fact that DNA testing in the Duke lacrosse rape case found genetic material from several males in the accuser’s body and underwear, but none from even one team member. Defense attorneys complained in court papers that the exculpatory evidence conducted for the prosecution by a private lab was not disclosed in reports provided by prosecutors to the defense. The defense understatedly commented, “This is strong evidence of innocence in a case in which the accuser denied engaging in any sexual activity in the days before the alleged assault…and claimed that her attackers did not use condoms and ejaculated.” The woman accused three lacrosse team members of gang-rape, offering at least a dozen different versions of her story including dramatically differing accounts of the numbers of attackers and the ways in which she was supposedly attacked. If you detect my unmitigated disgust with the prosecution in this case, I plead “guilty.”
Journalists reporting on the arrest of Chicago Bears’ defensive tackle Tank Johnson, 25, arrested for weapons violations after his home was raided by police, his third arrest in 18 months and eighth visit by law enforcers in the past 30 months. Out on bail, two days later Johnson was at a nightclub with long-time friend, ex-con and body-guard Willie B. Posey, 26, who was fatally shot in a scuffle. Posey, who was also arrested at Johnson’s home on felony drug charges and out on bail, told the mother of his new baby that he was going to work and was going to get drunk, suggesting that he would be drinking while working as Johnson’s bodyguard at the nightclub. In a classic case of addicts entangling with each other, Michael Selvie, 34, a “reputed gang member” whose criminal record contains 30 arrests and seven felony convictions, most of which were drug-related, was arrested for the shooting. Journalists have euphemized Johnson’s “problems” with words and phrases such as a “history of questionable decisions,” “poor decisions,” “his latest display of questionable decision-making,” “latest indiscretion,” “a pattern of off-the-field mistakes,” the Bears’ reputations “could be sullied by Johnson’s actions,” and the Bears request that Johnson “provide them with a list of lifestyle alterations he needs to make.” How about focusing on the fact that a Cook County judge ordered Johnson in 2005 to participate in a drug and alcohol evaluationand admit that his serial poor judgment is most likely rooted in alcoholism? Or, addressing the inexcusable fact that a year and a half later, Johnson has not completed the evaluation? Only by addressing the root of problems can they be truly solved. Everything elseincluding the death of his best friendis but a symptom.
A couple of those symptoms rarely mentioned by anyone, including journalists, are animal and neighbor abuse. Six of the visits by police related to his dogs, three pit bulls. Neighbors reported incessant barking, filthy conditions and a fowl stench, all coming from Johnson’s backyard, where he kept the pit bulls in cages. A neighbor kept a video journal and said the dogs were outside all the time whether hot or cold and frequently not given food or water for days. The neighbor said he hadn’t been able to use his backyard for the last 2 ½ years, describing his situation as a “living hell.” Animal control confirmed much of the neighbors’ complaints. In addition, garbage piled up around Johnson’s house because he refused to pay the bill from Waste Management. The raid on his house occurred because Posey fired a shot at one of the barking dogs on November 4, prompting a call to 911. Further confirmation of the enabling of journalists is that this information was very difficult to find.
By the way, authorities were trying to determine a motive for the killing. Message to law enforcers: if there is alcohol and other-drug addiction, no other motive is required.
Sometimes, it takes an addict:
Blues, R & B and gospel singer James Brown, dead of congestive heart failure at age 73. Brown’s influence in music was breathtaking. He was variously described as the “Godfather of Disco,” the “Godfather of Rap,” the “Godfather of Funk” and a “firebrand in the black rights movement,” credited by some (including himself) with pushing African-Americans to move from the self-descriptor “Negro” to “Black” as a result of his 1968 anthem, “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).” Some music critics state that without Brown, there could have been no Prince, no Michael Jackson and no Miles Davis. Along with Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry, he was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1986. Perhaps a bit hyperbolic but descriptive, Chuck Philips, music reporter for the L.A. Times, wrote, “The man could dissect the atomic structure of a beat better than Einstein. He could inject more soul into one tiny syllable than existed in the entire catalog of every white band in the British invasion…” On the other hand, his drug and criminal exploits were described as “bizarre,” his personality “mercurial” and his finances in “disarray.” He was married four times and arrested repeatedly for domestic violence and other transgressions, including charging into an insurance seminar with a shotgun, evading arrest, assaulting a police officer, weapons violations and possession of PCP (which was most likely his drug of choice when his behaviors were most extreme). One writer described him as having a “Kim Jong Il leadership style (once his whole band quit).” James Brown was an alcohol and other-drug addict who took chances that worked. Sometimes, it takes an addict, even if we’d prefer to avoid becoming personally or professionally entangled.
Note to family, friends and fans of the above: the benefit of the doubt is given by assuming alcoholism (they are either idiots and fundamentally rotten, or they are alcoholic/other drug addictswhich would explain the misbehaviors). If alcoholic, there is zero chance that behaviors, in the long run, will improve without sobriety. An essential prerequisite to sobriety is the cessation of enabling, allowing pain and crises to build. Thus far, many have done everything they can to protect the addict from the requisite pain, making these news events possible. The cure for alcoholism, consequential bad behaviors and, ultimately, tragedy, is simple: stop protecting the addict from the logical consequences of misbehaviors and proactively intervene.
Public Policy Recommendation:
Rehab may not be enough. Addicts can easily hide their drugs and enablers all-too-often protect their perceived right to use. Random and regular testing should be required for a period of time after an arrest as a condition of freedom or the right to work in fields where an addict poses a danger to others.
The latest episode of “House” is a wonderful and graphic portrayal of the need for addicts to be tested. They are great liars who find willing participants in their perceived right to use. Yet, once someone proves to society his or her inability to use safely without acting badly towards others, society has a rightin fact, an obligationto proscribe use by whatever means are required.
Rational people might debate whether Gregory House, M.D., committed enough violations to submit to such testing. He neither physically nor financially harmed anyone else. He engages in verbal abuse while solving medical riddles that baffle the average doctor. I would submit that patients have a right to choose whether or not to use an addicted doctor. However, “It’s ok if you use because you are competent anyway,” requires testing.
In a bid to avoid jail, House heads to rehab. As he apparently begins weaning himself off his drug of choice, Vicodin, behaviors and attitudes improve (albeit unrealistically fast)even to the point that his boss, Chief of Staff Cuddy, accepts a proposed solution to the medical mystery of the evening without argument, explaining that he used no put downs or demeaning words such as “moron” in describing his fellow doctors.
The cop who arrested House, Tritter, refuses to offer credit towards leniency in court. When House realizes that words and actions (entering rehab) won’t help him avoid jail, he rebels. Tritter, who understands addicts, asks House, “You ever trust an addict? You ever give one the benefit of the doubt [when treating one]?....People like you, even your actions lie.”
And they do, with the help of enablers. Cuddy doesn’t want House, who is undoubtedly the most competent doctor she has ever employed, locked up. She ends up fabricating evidence and committing perjury under oath, claiming she switched Vicodin for a placebo when House took a dead man’s prescription. The judge lets him off, but due to contempt charges forces him into rehab, where Cuddy apparently slips him his Vicodin.
In a society where patients are not allowed to freely choose to use an addicted doctor for their medical needs, the best option is to require abstinenceenforced with random and regular testing for alcohol and other drugs.
By the way, due to the fact that she had so much to lose, the enabling by Cuddy was classic. In so many words, she told House, “I have dirt on you. You have to do my bidding, when I want, where I want. I control you.” The episode re-airs on USA Channel Friday, January 19 at 11 p.m.
Dear Doug: Bad Sister
My younger sister, who makes a six-figure income, visits twice a year. Every time, I feel violated. After she leaves, I discover that photos, various handicrafts and even my artwork have “mysteriously” disappeared. I confront her, but she accuses me of persecuting her. She’s verbally abusive and ridicules me in front of others. I barely scrape by on a meager retirement, yet she steals from and abuses me. What is wrong with her and what can I do?
. . . .
Other columnists would suggest that you stop inviting your sister to your home and tell her to seek therapy. While the advice to stop the invites is appropriate, telling her to seek therapy is probably not. Instead, she most likely needs AA or other rehab. A therapist without rehab would only perpetuate the enabling.
Your sister is displaying classic symptoms of alcoholism-driven egomania. She controls you by stealing your most important belongings, lying, abusing and ridiculing. You need to draw a line in the sand: she doesn’t set foot in your home until she proves she’s clean and sober for at least six months. The fact that she’s so successful at inflating her ego in the workplace by earning big bucks suggests she is in need of far greater pain than you can administer. If there are other family members in a position to impose consequences, give them Drunks, Drugs & Debits with the goal of imparting what they need to know about alcoholism and helping them to engage in “uncompromising disenabling” with a clear conscience. However, even if friends and family cease enabling, income and assets will not. If you can arrange to get her employer involved, a threat of loss of income may be particularly helpful. The optimal solution after educating everyone around her about alcoholism would be to arrange a professionally-aided intervention. You will need to be very patient during this process and expect no overnight miracles.
(Source for story idea: Annie’s Mailbox, December 9, 2006.)
Prevent Tragedy Foundation
“Nicole Richie, who blew a .12 per cent BAL, drank only a shot of vodka that day.”
So said a number of reports, in which Richie’s 2002 arrest for DUI was mentioned, that detailed her most recent overt symptom of addiction: driving the wrong way on a Burbank, CA freeway under the influence of Vicodin and dope. Unfortunately, once again journalists woefully misled the public in a major news story.
The calculation for determining BAL seems virtually unknown outside our exclusive circle. To review: one “drink” = one “shot” = 1.5 ounces 80-proof liquor = 5 ounces average (12% alcohol) wine = 12 ounces average (5% alcohol) beer. One drink increases the BAL of a 200 pound person by .02 per cent, a 120 pound person by .03 per cent and a 100-pounder by almost .04 per cent. We might figure that one drink increases an 85-pound person’s BAL by about .05 per cent. Therefore, if she was tested almost immediately after imbibing, the severely underweight Ritchie consumed almost 2.5 drinks. Since the BAL decreases by about .015 per cent per hour, she needed to consume three drinks over two hours to reach the tested level.
This is basic, but important. Most people think a person of average weight will be legally intoxicated with only a drink or two, which many non-alcoholics consume without ill-effect, possibly leading them to conclude that many DUIs are committed by non-addicts just like them. No, it takes a lot more than just a drink for even the severely malnourished. And far more is required by those of average weight. The facts suggest that DUIs are committed by those who can drink far greater quantities than non-alcoholics, but you wouldn’t know this from news reports.
Nicole Richie is a typical alcoholic in minimizing her alcohol consumption. Just because she told the arresting officers in 2002 that all she had was a shot of vodka shouldn’t provide cover for reporters to commit journalistic malpractice. They would do readers a great service by countering explanations offered by alcoholics with the truth
|Amazing Antics: Stories of Alcoholism-Driven Behaviors
Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”
“CONTEMPT OF COURT: Devin K. Hoerauf, 19, was in court in Rockville, Md., to answer to multiple robbery charges. When he stood up from the defense table, something fell out of his pocket: a bag full of marijuana. His lawyer quickly jumped to his defense: ‘He is brain-damaged, your honor,’ she said. ‘I don't mean he's just a defendant who does dumb stuff. This is a boy with an IQ in triple digits. His brain is glued together with Silly Putty. He can't think his way out of a paper bag, but he can do physics.’ The lawyer, Gwyn Hoerauf, apparently knows: she's the defendant's mother. The jury, who did not witness the drug incident, convicted the teen on four robbery counts. (Washington Post) ...A high IQ, but can't think his way out of a paper bag? Classic symptoms of long-term drug use.”
Randy, again, has it right: mere “recreational” use of drugs, whether alcohol, dope or most others, doesn’t cause long-lasting brain damage. But what’s missing from the story is Hoerauf’s use of other drugs. Marijuana by itself is unlikely to result in overtly vile behaviors, including a prior conviction for assault. As usual in the case of drugs, I wouldn’t say “never,” but observation suggests that when such behaviors are evident, there are usually other drugs on board. It turns out that Hoerauf had tested positive for narcotics a few weeks before the trial.
The other interesting aspect to the story is the mother. She was blunt about her son’s conditionand he heard every word. Although she was trying to avoid having her son serve jail time, saying that jail was not the answer to her son’s problems, the implication that her son needs rehab is clearand correct.
(Story and tagline from “This is True,” copyright 2007 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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