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Crazy News Stories of the Week

Cancer Patient and Family Found Guilty In Marijuana Trial

Terminal Cancer Patient Guilty In Marijuana Trial

A terminal cancer patient who says he grew marijuana to treat his tumors was found guilty of drug charges Wednesday by an Iowa jury that wasn’t allowed to hear his defense. 48 year old Benton Mackenzie was convicted in Iowa district court jury of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy, along with his wife, Loretta. Their 22 year old son Cody was also found guilty of charges for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

The Iowa man who is a terminal cancer patient by the name of Benton Mackenzie showed up to court Tuesday to testify at his trial on felony marijuana charges. Benton Mackenzie had actually been rushed out of Scott County District Court to a hospital on Monday after stating he was experiencing some extreme pain and hallucinations due to the rare cancer he suffers from. However Mackenzie has shockingly been barred from pleading his defense that would attempt to prove the marijuana was to relieve his aggressive and rare disease.

Mackenzie claims he was growing the marijuana to be used to make Canabidiol, or CBD, which is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis commonly known to treat his tumors. He suffers from severe Angiosarcoma, which is a rare but highly aggressive form of cancer that attacks the blood vessels, typically producing large skin lesions. His family said while in the hospital Monday he was treated for anemia and other symptoms overnight.

He was arrested in 2013, after local authorities seized 71 marijuana plants during a raid of his parents’ home in Long Grove, Iowa. District Judge Henry Latham in May made the decision that barred Mackenzie from using his condition as a defense for growing marijuana.

Mackenzie on Tuesday filed a motion arguing that a law that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed in May that legalizes the use of CBD oil to treat epilepsy should protect his use of the oil. Judge Henry Latham however insists that the new law focuses narrowly on treatment for “intractable epilepsy” and does not apply to Mackenzie. Mackenzie even claims he had been threatened under penalty of jail time if he discloses his medical condition during his trial to a jury.

While there is some protection for certain patients, and a strong 81% of the Iowa population supporting medical marijuana, so many other sick Iowans are denied legal access to marijuana extracts. These include people with painful and debilitating conditions like cancer, spinal cord injuries and severe arthritis. Despite it may help treat their conditions, if these people obtain cannabis oil, they will still be considered criminals and can be prosecuted in the state. Mackenzie’s family has stated they will appeal the charges, and fear the he may die if kept in prison without proper continued treatment.

Drunken Horse-back Riding Arrest

Terminal Cancer Patient Guilty In Marijuana Trial

Sometimes a plan just does not go the way you want it, and there are some pretty embarrassing consequences. For many people this tends to crop up after a few too many drinks and a Clint Eastwood movie.

According to a police report, one Alabama woman decided to take a shot at the Wild West kind of life-style. 45 year old Christine Saunders was initially only hit with alcohol-related charges after she allegedly got drunk and tried stealing from a local store, but police say several more charges in relation to the incident could be on the way for the culprit.

Local Sheriff Jimmy Harris stated that Saunders had the horse she was believed to have been riding tied up outside the store, and upon searching found a Walmart bag tied to the saddle horn with three cans of Keystone Light.

At this point Christine Saunders has only been charged with public intoxication and possession of a prohibited beverage, but luckily the not-so-trusty steed was returned to the initial owner.

 Getting into trouble in a variety of ways is very familiar to people who have trouble with drinking or drug abuse. The worst part is that there is treatment available and these issues can be avoided, while an individual has an opportunity to change their entire life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

7 Tips for Tough Conversations While Your Loved One is in Treatment

7 Tips for Tough Conversations While Your Loved One is in Treatment

Having a loved one in treatment is tough. It leads to tough love, tough times, and tough conversations. There is a variety of concerns, arguments, or confessions that may come from someone you love seeking help for an issue with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction, and there are many ways each individual may handle these obstacles based on personal preference and each unique situation, the important thing is to keep in mind the result your loved one is trying to reach, and be sure that the end of each conversation justifies the means in which you conduct yourself.

When I was first brought to treatment I came with my ex-fiance. Before the month of inpatient was over, we had split up. Now THAT is a tough conversation to have. So I would like to focus on what I feel I learned most from that situation.

You could be discussing with your loved one how their substance abuse, addiction or behavior has affected you, or you could be discussing the changes you intend to make to your relationship with them or your own life. Another possibility is that they are communicating their troubled to you, and you want to be sure you hold up your end of the conversation in a manner that will be most appropriate towards helping them complete treatment. He are 7 tips for tough conversations while your loved one is in treatment.

  1. Be respectful of their situation

Being respectful of your loved ones situation is important. To keep a consistent and productive dialog going, both parties must be respectful of one another. You cannot show them less respect as a person just because they are in treatment. Even if you have suffered as a result, be sure to respect their choice to try and change.

  1. Be willing to listen and stay open-minded

Staying open-minded and hearing someone out while they are in treatment means you are willing to try and understand the process they are in, the feelings they are experiencing and the opinions they have with a little more clarity. Again even if you suffered at one point, be willing to see your contribution to any circumstance and humble enough to hear them out.

  1. Be honest about your feelings

Being honest is essential to the tougher conversations while a loved one is in treatment. As important it is to be aware of the delicate situation they are in, in order to more forward effectively the truth needs to be in every dialog. Lying to someone to protect their feelings will only enable them to avoid coping.

  1. Be consistent with your boundaries

Again, you have to make sure you do not enable their obsessive, dependent, or manipulative behaviors if you hope for them to begin recovery while in treatment. It is important that once you have set boundaries as far as what kind of support your loved one can expect, to persist in these boundaries so they believe it is up to them to do what they have to in order to change.

  1. Be assertive with your feelings

If the conversation is difficult but important to you, you have to stay steadfast in your resolve to express yourself. It is true that their feelings can be fragile, but yours are important too. Remember to stick to your values. If they want to fight you on a subject, you should remain calm but firm.

  1. Use tough-love only when necessary

When keeping boundaries or being steadfast you should always remember there is a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. Tough love can be an asset when used correctly and constructively. However it is counter-productive to bully or belittle your loved one who is already struggling to get help.

  1. Stay supportive even on difficult topics

If it is a family member, friend or partner it is vital to stay supportive to the changes the individual is making in their life. Sometimes this can be harder than others. If you are asking for time apart from a partner or friend it helps to express how the loved ones happiness and health is the most important thing for their recovery and give them positive re-enforcement. Not false hope, but give them hope and let them know their worth to you as a person.

If you have a loved one in treatment than the key word there is LOVE. The best tip you could possibly have is to include love in all affairs. For the tough conversations while a loved one is in treatment, make it a point to have a firm grasp of what it is you expect from the conversation, what healthy or supportive contribution can you make, and how can you let that person know you say what you say out of a level of love.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Shia LaBeouf: Mentally Ill, Alcoholic, or Just Trolling Us?

Shia LaBeouf: Mentally Ill, Alcoholic, or Just Trolling Us?

At the ‘Nymphomaniac’ Premiere – 64th Berlinale International Film Festival
image via nypost.com

Yesterday we posted an article about Shia LaBeouf in which we wondered whether he was suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, or whether it was all part of his idea of “performance art.” Well, news broke this morning that LaBeouf, 27, has checked himself into rehab. So, it seems, we weren’t far off the mark; LaBeouf is indeed struggling with alcoholism – and perhaps as a result, some form of mental illness, as the two often go hand-in-hand.

With his latest brush with the law, being arrested for harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after some highly-publicized drunken outbursts during the Broadway performance of Cabaret Thursday, it seems that LaBeouf has hit rock bottom. LaBeouf, carrying The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, checked into a Los Angeles rehab.

And, apparently this isn’t the first time that the actor has attempted recovery.

In the past, LaBeouf had spoken about how, as a child, he attended AA meetings with his father. As a teen, LaBeouf seemingly had no issues with alcohol or other drugs as there were no incidences to speak of. Instead, the former Disney child actor spent his time wisely, focusing on building quite the promising film career. However, in 2007, he was arrested at a Walgreen’s for what he described as “intoxicated” behavior, and a year later, was arrested on drunken driving charges; it seemed that the actor’s alcoholism was burgeoning.

That same year, in 2008, the National Enquirer reported that LaBeouf had picked up a chip to celebrate his 60 days of sobriety at an AA meeting in Los Angeles. Which is troubling because of the whole anonymity thing.

In 2011, the actor spoke openly about his substance abuse, telling Parade magazine that  that he was an “alcoholic” after being involved in a bar brawl.

At this time, LaBeouf was said to be attending AA meetings rather frequently in both New York and L.A.

By the following year, however, there was growing concern regarding the actor’s sobriety as he was heard bragging about drinking moonshine and dropping LSD while “researching” movie roles.

More recently, LaBeouf seems to be upping the ante with his antics, all of which seemed to involve alcohol. There was the recent NYC bar brawl, which took place after the actor was seen downing margaritas. Then LaBeouf was seen chasing a homeless man through the park. Then the whole Cabaret incident. All the while, the actor has appeared more and more disheveled in appearance. It’s clear that LaBeouf is struggling with his alcoholism and that it’s taking its toll on his health and mental well-being.

Original story reads below.

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What the hell is up with Shia LaBeouf? A child Disney star who seemed to have successfully made the transition to adult celebrity status, what with his roles in the blockbuster Transformers franchise and a role in the ever-popular Indian Jones series’ latest installment The Crystal Skulls, among other projects. As of late, LaBeouf has been acting like a righteous d-bag. We’re left wondering: is it mental illness, substance abuse, or is it all just an “act?”

The latest news involves the 27-year-old actor being tearfully led away by police from the Broadway production of Cabaret on Thursday evening, after he allegedly disrupted the performance by shouting loudly at the cast on stage during the show, smoking and smacking lead actor Alan Cumming on the butt.

While being escorted out of the theater by police, the actor hurled insults and profanities at police officers.

Due to his drunken display during the Broadway show and subsequent arrest, LaBeouf was arraigned in Midtown Community Court on Friday. He was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass following the incident. Reports describe the actor as “bleary-eyed and unkempt” as he was released from custody by the New York Police Department on Friday morning.

LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior in New York City is just the latest in a string of outbursts from the former clean-cut Disney Channel star.

And a week before his Broadway stunt, LaBeouf apparently almost got into an altercation outside a strip club in New York City. TMZ’s website posted a short video clip Sunday, showing LaBeouf bouncing around as if he’s getting ready to throw punches at another man; LaBeouf appears to be taunting an unidentified man but then quickly walks away after an exchange of words.

Even his former co-stars have been expressing concerns for LaBeouf. Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who starred in Holes with Shia, told The Metro: “I think there’s a ton of pressure when you’re in the acting business. It’s hard growing up acting – being a child actor. There’s so much pressure to act the right way. There’s so much attention from the press that, if you make one wrong move, it’s under a microscope. I can see that being hard for him.”

LaBeouf made headlines in February after he wore a paper bag over his head with “I am not famous anymore” scrawled on it at a Berlin film conference, saying that it was an act of “performance art.”

Perhaps the most memorable cringe-worthy incident involving LaBeouf occurred December of last year when it came to light that the actor ripped off graphic novel writer Daniel Clowes when he released the short film, HowardCantour.com, but passed it off as his own work.

What made matters worse was LaBeouf’s reaction to being exposed a plagiarist, as he issued a series of bizarre apologies. Most notable was the one in which he hired a skywriter to write  “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” in the Los Angeles sky on New Year’s Day, which the actor then promptly snapped and tweeted along with three definitions of the word ‘cloud.’

In a tweet, he blames his plagiarism on his alcohol use: “I lifted the text, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”

LaBeouf is due in court on July 24.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

College: a time during which certain rights of passage occur, namely, binge drinking and experimenting with other drugs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be but, for many Americans, their times spent on college campuses is one filled with books and booze (and some other substances in the mix, too).

For this blogger, that was certainly the case. I started out with alcohol and weed in high school and, by the time I got to college, I was trying out many different things: mostly designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, Special K (ketamine), and LSD. Weed was always my constant, though, and I began to drink less and less.

That was in the early 2000s. More recently, colleges and universities have begun to take alcohol and other drug use on their campuses more seriously.  Alcohol and drug offenses are being more aggressively pursued and punished. And this even as the rate of serious crime on college campuses has dropped, according to a government report released Tuesday.

A federal law known as the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report crime data, however, compliance is inconsistent across the board, and those who advocate on behalf of victims of campus crime say that many institutions of higher learning are either disorganized or intentionally misleading with their reporting.

The annual report from the Education and Justice Departments found that in 2011, colleges and universities started disciplinary proceedings for alcohol or drug offenses against 162 of every 10,000 students, not including those who were arrested. That was up from 132 in 2001.

Over that same interval, the rate of students being arrested on campus for alcohol- or other drug- related crimes was pretty consistent at 35 per 10,000 in 2011. The report did not differentiate between arrests by campus police officers and by outside law enforcement agencies, or indicate how often colleges called in outside police officers.

S. Daniel Carter, of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to campus safety said that the increase in disciplinary actions “doesn’t reflect actual increased offenses; it’s about stepped-up enforcement. Typically, when something gets to the point of a liquor law violation being enforced, it’s not just a kid having a beer in his room — it has escalated to something bigger.”

According to statistics, there was a sharp decline in reports of serious crimes on campuses but, campus safety specialists cautioned that, while there had been somewhat of a drop, the figures shouldn’t be taken at face value. In fact, according to these specialists, much of the decline was a result of new guidelines from the Education Department on how to define the most common of the serious crimes, which is burglary.

The reported rate rose in just one category of serious crimes, forcible sex offenses — from 1.9 in 2010 to 2.2 per 10,000 the following year. Specialists attributed this increase to victims being more forthcoming with being victimized and making reports.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which is a major organization of colleges and universities said, “I think it’s very difficult to look at all of these numbers and draw really precise conclusions.” He added that the exception is that “college and university officials are paying more attention to alcohol and drugs.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

8 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

8 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

“Our obsession with appearance, our fixation on diet and our food- and information-abundant culture have given rise to an epidemic of unhealthy relationships with food,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. “Food has become our focus instead of being the fuel for a full life.”

Here are 8 signs you have an unhealthy relationship with food.

1: You ‘eat your feelings’

There’s a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. If you always reach for your comfort food(s) at the first sign of feeling something you don’t want to feel, such as sadness, loneliness, or depression – or if you look to food to enhance feelings you’re experiencing, such as joy and excitement – this is a sign that you have an unhealthy relationship with food.

2: You eat when you’re bored

Likewise, if you reach for the snacks simply because you don’t know what else to do with your hands, then you probably think about food as something other than what it truly is: fuel for living (see #4).

3: You think of food as a reward

I know I have been guilty of this one in the past. I used to *try* to deprive myself of dessert, telling myself I didn’t need the calories. But, my next thought would always be, “But, I’m a good person, why should be punished by not allowing myself to have that piece of cake?” It’s obvious to me now just how screwed up my attitude towards food was…and still is, sometimes.

4: You don’t understand the concept of ‘food-as-fuel’

Although you can certainly enjoy food, its main purpose is to fuel the body. I realized that I had an unhealthy relationship with food when I couldn’t understand how other people could just eat what was necessary for their body at the time and not overindulge.

Dr. May says, “Before eating, pause to ask yourself, Does my body need fuel? Why am I thinking about food if my body doesn’t need it?” She adds, “If you do need to eat, listen to your cravings: Indulging a little now can keep you from overdoing it later.”

5: You eat even when you’re already full

There’s no real feeling of being satiated by a meal. Even if you feel full, you continue to eat because you still don’t feel satisfied; there’s still a feeling of something missing that you hope to fill with more food.

6: Your activities revolve around eating

Whereas things used to revolve around alcohol and other drugs, you now equate socializing with going out to eat.

7: You have stringent rules

You are super rigid about what you can and can’t eat but, “this kind of rigidity is all about fear of losing control,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.  She adds that, “Rule-based eating doesn’t take hunger and cravings into account.” And all of this is just setting yourself up for a fall. Besides, it’s also an indication of the obsession that you have when it comes to food and eating. If you’re always counting calories, then you’re being consumed by your unhealthy relationship with food.

8: You’re dyingggg to be thin (maybe even literally)

Just like any other relationship, an unhealthy one is full of deception. If you tell yourself you’re doing a cleanse or a fast, or that you’re going to start juicing because you’re doing it for the antioxidants but you’re really doing it because you heard it’ll make you drop weight quickly, you’re playing with fire.

Depriving yourself of crucial nutrients, or only allowing yourself to eat a select few (orthorexia) and pretending it’s healthy is a dangerous game. And ironically, it can cause a backlash of weight gain by perpetuating the whole vicious cycle of “starve, binge, hate yourself.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or food addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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