September 2005 / Issue No. 14

Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:

1. Top Story of the month
2. Movie or Book Review 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

There is something for everyone!

Before we begin...

September is National Alcohol & Drug Recovery Month. While New Orleans and other nearby cities recover, so can alcohol and other drug addicts—making life much better not only for themselves, but also for others with whom they come into contact. The question is, how can we get more addicts into recovery when they are incapable of self-diagnosis and those close to them are either not putting two and two together, or refuse to admit to addiction? You can help dispel the myths that perpetuate the stigma of addiction by purchasing my latest book, Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease, at, or your local book store—or from us. Buy in quantity and give copies to friends and family. Eliminating the stigma of addiction will go far in allowing others to identify and appropriately treat addiction.

New Orleans, Alcoholism and the Next Catastrophe

ImageThe role that alcoholism has played in exacerbating a natural disaster has been completely ignored. Failing to properly deal with it could make the next disaster—natural or otherwise—far worse.

"I don’t understand how people can shoot at those who are trying to help New Orleaners in their hour of need.”
—The sentiment of a number of reporters

Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people. The catastrophe brought to the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina is no exception. Heroes, at great risk to their own lives, have rescued countless strangers. Many are opening their doors to those they’ve never before met and charity has been given on an unprecedented scale. Yet, some survivors looted stores not for food, but rather for jewelry, guns, stereos and drugs. They raped helpless women, committed arson and threatened the lives of other survivors and even rescuers. What could possibly compel such individuals to add to the destruction and further impede rescue efforts—and what can be done to prevent such wanton destruction in future debacles?

The answer to these questions can be found in brain chemistry. The neo-cortex is the seat of reason and logic. This part of the brain, unique to humans, is responsible for restraining the pre-human emotions, instincts and impulses of the lower brain centers, the mammalian and reptilian brains known as the limbic system and basal ganglia. If the neo-cortex is damaged, leaving the emotions and survival instincts of the lower brain centers unrestrained, pre-civilized behaviors can result. But what can injure the neo-cortex?

It turns out, a build-up of poison on the brain occurs during every drinking episode. This build-up is far more pronounced in those with a particular biochemistry. This chemistry causes brain damage from the get-go, allowing the limbic system and basal ganglia free reign. This may explain most of the horrific behaviors that the reporters don’t understand. Just as some people cannot safely consume sugar, some cannot safely drink alcohol. While the former, who have the disease we refer to as diabetes, do not set out to harm others, the latter, who have the disease we call alcoholism, on occasion harm others in unimaginable ways, just as animals do to survive, without the neo-cortex acting in its role of restraint.

This build-up of poison may be responsible for the distortions of perception and memory every alcoholic experiences. A key distortion, particularly in the early and often highly functional stages, confers a sense of invincibility, resulting in an “I can do no wrong” attitude. This fuels ego inflation, which results in power-seeking misbehaviors ranging from a lack of consideration for the rights and needs of others to thuggery, rape and murder.

Recovering addict ex-cons believe that fellow alcohol and other-drug addicts commit 80-90% of the misbehaviors responsible for their imprisonment. More disconcerting in the case of catastrophes striking big cities, recovering addicts who are also ex-gang members believe that the percent of gang-bangers who are addicts is 100%. Power-seeking behaviors result in the wielding of power over others, taking form in misbehaviors. Many recovering alcoholics, not with two or three years’ sobriety but rather with fifteen, admit they would have been capable of, as they put it, “anything” if they had been in a position of power while drinking or using. This includes thievery, rape, assault, arson and murder, even in the face of human suffering on a scale not seen in the United States since the Civil War.

If most gang members are addicts and addiction causes misbehaviors that can take “any” form, the appalling acts committed by roving gangs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina might have been more far reaching in a different situation. The New Orleans flood made it difficult to move around. Without flooding, but instead with damage inflicted by wind or, say, earthquake or terrorism, anarchy might have prevailed. Imagine Los Angeles in the aftermath of an 8.0 earthquake on a hot summer day with a Santa Ana wind. Consider the fact that one person exhibiting numerous behavioral indications of alcoholism—Rodney King—triggered a riot causing over $1 billion in damage to Los Angeles in 1992. Think of the damage that could be inflicted by hundreds or thousands of addicts whose misbehaviors manifest in violence or arson in the face of a giant earthquake, or in parts of a city not destroyed by a nuclear device.

The self-centeredness exhibited by those looting non-essentials, while others are in desperate need of help, are behavioral indications of brain damage caused by alcoholism. Many felt looters should be ignored while there were more pressing problems. Yet, those looting non-essentials are the same thugs who will opportunistically rape, assault, murder and commit arson, greatly impeding rescue efforts. Therefore, looters need to be properly dealt with from the get-go, not three days later. Furthermore, home and store owners, believing they can’t rely on government to protect any possessions surviving the initial onslaught of nature, might be more reluctant to leave the next time.

Better still, thugs need to be dealt with before catastrophe occurs. Disaster preparedness in an age of terrorism means that gangs must be neutralized. This can be accomplished by doing everything possible to restore damaged brains. Those who have proven to society that they cannot use alcohol or other drugs without harming others need to be coerced into abstinence. Lance Armstrong and other bike racers can be tested for performance enhancing drugs any time, anywhere. In a recent Playboy interview, he says, “It’s the ultimate in Big Brother, having to declare where you are 365 days a year so they can find you and test you.” If they can test racers 24/7, ankle bracelets, a new technology that continuously test for levels of alcohol in the system, can be used to do the same for criminals in prison and on parole. Former gang members, like other addicts, are usually kind, caring and compassionate in sobriety. It’s time to instill in as many of them as possible a desire to get clean and sober—before the next catastrophe occurs. Apprehending and offering a choice, proven sobriety or continued imprisonment, along with an emphasis on treatment in prison, will go far in accomplishing this goal.

Postscript: A belief in one’s omniscience conferred by alcoholism may also explain the actions of at least a few of the able-bodied people who didn’t leave New Orleans even though warned of a Category 5 storm bearing down on them, which everyone knew would be cataclysmic. Worse, a culture of alcoholism in public officials is capable of creating massive levels of graft and corruption. Huey Long, alcoholic governor of Louisiana in the 1930s, was one of many in a long line of corrupt—and likely alcoholic—public officials. Alcoholics have a need to wield power, regardless of consequences. The mindset that allowed construction of a 3/4 billion-dollar stadium in lieu of investing such funds in shoring up levees, along with a huge level of what appears to be blatant corruption in New Orleans and Louisiana, may have been at least partially responsible for setting the stage for the catastrophic aftermath of Katrina. Impaired judgment rooted in alcoholic biochemistry may also have had something to do with the fact that public officials failed to arrange transportation for the poor out of New Orleans, despite every indication they knew this was an essential part of dealing with an emergency of this magnitude. Alcoholism may have not only exacerbated the problem—it may have set us up for the initial problem magnifying itself many times.

Runners-up for top story of the month: Reporting on the tragedy in New Orleans while failing to identify the role that alcohol and other drug addiction may have played is hardly unique. The media completely ignored addiction in the reports of the Joseph Edward Duncan lll kidnapping of Shasta Groene and the murder of her brothers Dylan and Slade, the children’s mother Brenda, and Brenda’s boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, which occurred in June. An article in the August 5 Los Angeles Times may have been the first to disclose the fact that in 1994, after serving over 14 years for a 1980 rape of a 14-year-old boy, Duncan was released with the proviso that he abstain from alcohol and other drugs.

I’ve remarked on other occasions that media stories either completely fail to mention alcohol or other drug “problems” or do so in the 27th paragraph. Another recent case involved a swindler con-man, Rodney Visser, outed in a story by Nora Donoher in the June 2005 issue of Good Housekeeping (“Sweet Revenge”). She tells us, “Rod…was not only married but also an alcoholic who bragged relentlessly about his sexual exploits with a number of women.” This was the only mention in the story—and was in the 27th paragraph out of 38 total. Even though she was the victim and lived with the perpetrator, she failed to link cause and effect.

Other runners-up: Former LAPD officer Todd Natow, 42, who was arrested for releasing a pet alligator into Machado Lake in Harbor City, south of Los Angeles. Police seized three alligators, four piranha, one rattlesnake, three desert tortoises, six tortoise eggs, one scorpion and about 10 pounds of marijuana at Natow’s home. Natow, who resigned from the police department in 2001, was charged in May 2000 with possession and being under the influence of a controlled substance, and convicted in 2001 of reckless driving. One official speculates that “some owners may prefer abandonment to potential euthanasia,” but we know better: abuse is almost always rooted in addiction. I also suspect most instances of keeping dangerous, exotic and illegal pets involve alcoholism, which is predictable from the alcoholic mantra, “rules don’t apply to me.” “Cool mom” Silvia Ann Johnson, 40, who pled guilty to sexually assaulting teenage boys and contributing to the delinquency of minors. According to her attorney, she regretted that she might have harmed students by throwing 15 to 20 parties at her home in which she freely offered alcohol and methamphetamine. One teenager reported that Johnson poured him ten shots of tequila in ten minutes at one of the parties. She has a teenage daughter, whose behaviors and whereabouts were not mentioned in reports. In yet another school teacher story, Sandra “Beth” Geisel, a 42-year-old English teacher, mother of four and wife of a prominent Albany, N.Y. banker, who was charged with statutory rape and endangering the welfare of a child. She allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old at her home while her children slept downstairs. The boy said, “She was drunk.” No kidding. Geisel is now in treatment for alcoholism. Janet Arvizo, whose son accused Michael Jackson of molestation in the recent trial, charged with fraud and perjury in connection with receiving more than $18,000 in welfare benefits after failing to disclose a payment of $70,000 in a civil lawsuit against J.C. Penney (see the January TAR for more details). Her attorney, William Dickerman, said, “It’s unfortunate that the rich and famous can buy attorneys to twist and obfuscate the facts and that the less fortunate of us can’t.” Do read that line again.

Dodger outfielder Milton Bradley, who was the subject of police responses to reports of domestic violence three times in the 33-day period June 28 to July 30. His wife, who was four months pregnant at the time, has refused to press charges. Talk about a tragedy waiting to happen: in 2004 he pled guilty to disorderly conduct and, in a separate incident, to obstructing official business, both involving confrontations with police over traffic violations. In 2002, he was taken to a hospital after refusing to leave a restaurant and was, according to the medical report, “severely intoxicated.” He was forced into anger management counseling at least once, but has, apparently, never been required to stop drinking. Former National Football League running back Lawrence Phillips, who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Phillips, who has a decade-long history of arrests, couldn’t find his belongings after a game of pickup football and accused the boys with whom he had been playing of stealing the items. He allegedly did what any able-bodied man would do: drive a stolen car into the boys. It’s a classic story of unimpeded alcoholism: he has been arrested at least five times for allegedly assaulting women, was cut from several teams for insubordination and “other” disciplinary problems and has pled guilty to battery and no contest to beating a woman and making a terrorist threat. While on parole, he was arrested for attacking another woman and for DUI. He has been ordered to take anger management classes at least twice, but there are no reports he was ever required to stop drinking.

Country singer Mindy McCready and former fiancee Billy McKnight, the latter of whom overdosed at a Florida Hotel in July, three months after allegedly beating up McCready two days after she was apprehended for DUI. (The lives of addicts do get confusing, don’t they?) Although the two walked out of the hospital arm-in-arm (“I love Billy very much”), he faces charges of attempted criminal homicide for the alleged beating. Meanwhile, Mindy faces charges of fraud and identity theft for her part in bilking performers out of $500,000. The gorgeous Big Brother 6 contestant Janelle Pierzina, who admitted to “getting drunk” in the Big Brother house, was already exhibiting subtle behavioral indications of alcoholism when reports of prior legal problems surfaced. She pleaded guilty in 2002 to DUI and was arrested in 2001 for stealing almost $400 in merchandise from a Macy’s department store. After ignoring three bench warrants, she finally appeared in court in June 2005 and admitted to petty theft. And finally, Robin Cook, former leader of the British House of Commons and foreign secretary, dead after suffering a heart attack at age 59. While foreign secretary, British tabloids broke news of an affair with his secretary, Gaynor Regan. He left his wife, Margaret, and married Regan, after Tony Blair pressured him to choose between the two. Margaret responded by airing stories of more mistresses and a “whiskey problem.”

Under watch: Topanga record producer Christian Julian Irwin who, after telling a friend he was being pursued by Nigerian scam artists, disappeared for five days and was found naked in a stream and reportedly delusional. Hedge fund Bayou Management LLC operator and founder Samuel Israel, suspected of defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, telling his clients he was shutting the doors due to family troubles including an impending divorce. A former partner, Daniel Marino, admitted in a suicide note to defrauding investors and accused Israel of once holding a gun to his chest. Physicist John Schreifer, who pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter in an incident in which he killed one and injured seven while driving at more than 100 mph on U.S. 101. While friends described the crash as a “catastrophic aberration” and are “perplexed and saddened” over the downfall of a man who is clearly a giant in the field, Schreifer had been ticketed for speeding nine times since 1993. In the manslaughter case, he was driving on a suspended Florida license and had initially fabricated a story about being forced off the freeway by a truck. A few friends and colleagues alluded to “powerful medications” he may be taking. Jesse Jackson, who stated that referring to U.S. citizens as “refugees” is racist. Note to Jesse: a refugee is “one who flees for refuge or safety, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.” (emphasis added). A refuge is “a place of shelter, protection, or safety,” or “anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.” This is not the first time Jackson has used hyperbole (“obvious and intentional exaggeration”) and plainly inaccurate statements in attempting to wield power over the minds of others. He also compared the scenes of devastation in New Orleans with “Africans in the hull of a slave ship.” As black libertarian radio host Larry Elder might say, un-be-lievable.

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 addicts—which 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 the misbehaviors and proactively intervene.

Thorburn Substance Addiction Recognition Indicator

Radio Review: “Handel on the Law”

Bill Handel is the brilliant and incredibly funny and entertaining host of the weekday “Bill Handel Show” 5am to 9am on KFI 640am in Los Angeles. This is remarkable, because he’s an attorney. He also happens to be a recovering addict with about 20 years of sobriety.

Handel is also an amazingly busy guy. He owns a fertility clinic, is married and has a couple of pre-adolescent kids. And, he hosts “Handel on the Law” on Saturday mornings, 6am to 11am, in which he fields legal questions and gives the best—and often most amusing responses—possible. It’s syndicated in other areas of the country, so you may have an opportunity to listen in. It’s well worth your time—Handel puts on a great show.

Addicts are often pitted against other addicts in legal cases. Criminal ones in particular almost always include at least one addict—the criminal, of whom 80-90% are alcohol or other-drug addicts. Often, the victim is also an addict—after all, much crime is committed against people known to the perpetrator, and addicts often associate with other addicts. The Robert Blake non-murder of Bonnie Blakely was a recent glaring public example of this phenomenon, as was Michael Jackson’s non-molesting of Janet Arvizo’s son.

Many civil cases also include at least one addict, somewhere. Handel’s callers generally ask questions in which civil law applies. Here’s a recent sampling of a series of calls on Handel’s show, with my comments as to who may have the disease of addiction. Out of 38 callers, I found 13 worth mentioning as likely involving addiction, which may be a lower ratio than usual on the Handel show. Additionally, many other callers did not divulge enough information to identify possible addiction. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

Brad vacationed on a lake with his friend’s kids and new Jet Ski. His friend, who owns a $900,000 home and told him where to park the Jet Ski overnight, arrives a few days later and stays at a hotel. The Jet Ski is stolen overnight. The friend, who had no insurance, wants Brad to pay for the Jet Ski. The question for Handel is, who’s responsible? (Handel says, not Brad.) Our question is, who’s the addict? The thief is and the friend may be—most responsible people would carry insurance on an expensive Jet Ski, if only for liability coverage. Either the friend is an idiot (Handel’s conclusion), or he’s an addict. I say, give addiction the benefit of the doubt.

Glenn was driving in a residential area. A 10-year-old, who was riding his racer in the street in violation of local law, hit Glenn’s car. Damages were slight to the kid. Glenn is concerned over a claim. Who’s the addict? No one, unless the kid’s parents bring suit. If they do, give them the benefit of the doubt: one or both of them are likely addicts.

Dave, who died, got a lot of parking tickets which are associated with a car Jenna inherited. Jenna wants to donate the car. Can she do so without paying the tickets? Handel thinks yes. Since numerous parking tickets are a terrific clue to someone who thinks because he’s so much better and more important than everyone else that he can park anywhere at any time, Dave may have been an addict. I suspect many diplomats in New York City, known for their flagrant abuse of parking meters, of addiction.

Mark has lousy credit and got a friend, Joe, to buy a house for him. Mark paid $5,000 down and $5,000 to Joe as a service fee for having cooperated in defrauding the lender, and let Joe live with him in the house rent-free. Mark never got an unrecorded quit claim, so Joe is solely on title. Joe now wants to evict Mark. Handel thinks he’ll be ok if he gets a real estate lawyer. Since Joe is almost surely an addict and will, therefore, tell lies in court that will be more believable than Mark’s truths, Mark will be hard-pressed in convincing a judge the house is really his. If Mark had read my books, he would have figured this out long before he put himself into this situation.

Linda’s professor kicked her out of his class, claiming Linda was rude in class, an assertion she denies. Does Linda have a case for defamation? No. How does Linda get her money back? File a claim with the school. Who’s the addict? The professor may have wielded his power capriciously. While we’re no doubt not hearing the full story, there’s likely addiction in one or the other.

Dotty was injured in an incident in which a bus she was on had to slam the brakes due to another driver cutting off the bus. Based on the one observation, the driver of the car exhibited a 35% likelihood of DUI and, therefore, an almost as high likelihood of addiction.

Jerry entered a domestic partnership with a pre-nuptial agreement. The pre-nup clearly stated the house was Jerry’s, the house is in his name and he made all payments. He’s now going through a “divorce” and getting sued for the equity. Who’s the addict? Probably Jerry’s ex, but if Jerry made other promises that were not kept it could be Jerry. Or both.

Jean sold a car to a neighbor ten years ago for a $10,000 note that was to be paid off in six months. The neighbor paid in dribs and drabs for eight years and after ten years still owes Jean $1,500. Since the last payments were made within the four-year statute, she can sue him and win. Handel suggests, however, that the judgment would probably be worth the paper it’s printed on. Who’s the addict? Since she didn’t mention any other problems with the neighbor, I’m limited to 30% odds of addiction in the neighbor. However, there is almost assuredly addiction somewhere in the neighbor’s life.

Don stole $100 a dozen years ago. He’d like to return the funds, with interest and not get into trouble. His concern: he’s an executive working for the federal government. Handel: since there’s an issue of moral turpitude, send a money order anonymously or give the money to charity. Doug: he may be a recovering addict working on paying amends. Good for Don.

Jim’s sister talked their parents into turning a house they owned over to her and her boyfriend with a verbal promise to pay $135,000. Two years later, the sister is refusing to pay. Handel: all promises relating to real estate must be in writing, so good luck. Doug: the sister’s an addict, so good luck.

Damon hit someone on the freeway who may have already been dead from having been hit by the car in front of him. Handel: running over someone who’s already dead isn’t a problem. Doug: you don’t get dead people on freeways without addiction somewhere, either in the dead person or the person who put him there.

Caroline’s son’s Lexus was impaled by a trailer that was let loose and slid down the street by thieves attempting to steal the Sea-Doo’s on the trailer. Since criminal acts generally preclude someone else’s civil liability, they can’t go after the owner of the Sea-Doo’s. Unfortunately, the thieves escaped. Note that the turmoil that might have been observed in a civil case was precipitated by likely addicts, even if the participants in the case are likely not.

Gloria, who arranged for hot dogs, drinks and chips at a fundraiser, is the subject of a racial discrimination suit because she didn’t plan for enough chips. Look for Jesse at the trial, and look for addiction in those making such absurd accusations.


Dear Doug: Long married to an alcoholic

Dear Doug:

I’ve been married for 24 years, spending that time raising our five children and tending to our family business. Two years ago when he was 45, my husband, “Rick,” retired from the business, promising he’d find other work to make up for an expected reduction in income. After failing to find other work, he returned to manage the business, which is suffering.

Rick has experienced depression, anger and alcoholism, which is still there. I’m tired of an emotional roller coaster and while ready to leave, I am unsure about my rights in regard to the business, which we have agreed to sell. In the meantime, I’ve taken a promising job with a good salary. What should I do?


Tired of the emotional roller coaster

. . . . .

Dear Tired,

Other columnists might suggest you seek the services of a marriage counselor to help you decide whether the marriage is worth saving and an attorney to let you know your rights in regards to the business. Such columnists might explain that some men become severely depressed after retirement, and that you might consider waiting it out while he discovers that his skills could be valuable in some other occupation, providing a renewed sense of self-worth. Incredibly, these columnists might ignore the role of alcoholism in creating all the problems you describe and fail to suggest seeking the services of a qualified interventionist.

Your emotional roller coaster didn’t just begin. You’ve been dealing with psychological ups and downs ever since you married. Rick’s depression, anger, decision to retire at age 45 when not financially able and failure to obtain other work are all behavioral manifestations of his alcoholism. Before other issues can be effectively treated, he must get sober.

Try as he might, he cannot renew his sense of self-worth while a practicing alcoholic. Your marriage cannot, nor should it, be saved if he refuses to enter a program of sobriety. Though late in the game, it is never too late to get sober—and you might just discover, after waiting a year or two, that the marriage is worth saving.

In the meantime, watch the kids for behavioral indications of alcoholism. Since the odds of any one child inheriting this disease are roughly 40%, the probabilities are far higher that one or more of your five children have inherited addiction. Should you find it, intervene now—before someone else repeats your mistake.

(Source for story idea: Annie’s Mailbox, August 6, 2005.)

Alcoholic Myth-of-the-Month: (a possible half-truth) Unprotected sex is the root cause of the AIDS epidemic among gays.

“We are concerned that widespread alarm about crystal meth may divert attention from what must remain the chief focus of H.I.V. prevention—safe sex. Our recent online survey of more than four thousand gay men from all over America found that sixty-four per cent of those who reported having anal sex without a condom in their last encounter with a new or casual partner did not use drugs.”

So said Mary Ann Chiasson and Sabina Hirshfield of Medical and Health Research Associates of New York City in a letter to the editor in the August 1, 2005 edition of The New Yorker. Granted, the instigation to engage in unprotected sex is not always methamphetamine—but it’s usually one drug or another. In fact, most meth addicts start with alcohol and marijuana at age 13 and follow it up with meth use at an average age of 19. They are almost always other-drug addicts first. And, UCLA studies have found that if a recovering meth addict drinks alcohol, he or she will relapse into the meth addiction 100% of the time. Not maybe, not sometimes: will.

Alcoholism confers a sense of invincibility. Addicts are like children: they think nothing can harm them and they’ll just get lucky. The trouble is, on many occasions nothing goes wrong—and in the mind of the child and addict alike, the sense of invincibility is reinforced by repeated success. This feeling is a result of damage to the neo-cortex, which impedes rational thought processes.

Only one in three gay and bisexual men who test positive for HIV at a major Los Angeles clinic last year admitted to using meth. However, most who regularly engage in unsafe sex are probably addicts of one stripe or another. Until the addiction is arrested, the unsafe sex continues. Meth addicts, until the drug takes its inevitable toll on sexual performance, are by far the most promiscuous of all. In fact, the number one reason for use is the initially incredible sex, which includes delayed orgasm, hypersexuality and risky behavior. Reason does not suffice when dealing with a damaged neo-cortex, which shrinks 1% per year with heavy use of meth. We’re trying to educate the basal ganglia. We can preach all we want—non-addicts may listen, but addicts can’t. Chiasson and Hirshfield suggest that if drug use stopped tomorrow, sexual transmission of HIV would continue. Yes, but just like crime, the problem would become miniscule compared to current levels.

Amazing Antics: Stories of Alcoholism-Driven Behaviors™

Cooking meth

Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”

“GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN: Marlena Adams, 24, of Wasilla, Alaska, was burned over 50 percent of her body when a concoction of methamphetamine blew up in her household oven. She told police she does use meth, but the drugs weren’t hers; rather, she says, someone put them in her oven in an attempt to kill her. In addition to drug charges, she faces a charge of reckless endangerment since her 3-year-old son was in the house at the time. (Anchorage Daily News) ...In her defense, she claims she was just teaching him how to cook.”

Meth addicts will do anything for their drug, including endangering their own children to a degree not seen with any other drug. Many law enforcers suggest that it is at the root of more cases of child endangerment than all other drugs put together. In Oregon, virtually every case in which the state permanently removes the children from their parents involves meth. The focus on obtaining the drug after as little as a few months of use is, apparently, greater than the late-stage alcoholic after decades of heavy drinking.

(Story from “This is True,” copyright 2005 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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