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Boozing in Antarctica: Scientists Could Be Subject to Breathalyzer Tests

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Author: Shernide Delva

Researchers in Antarctica have garnered a reputation for boozin’ up to beat the cold and loneliness. Now, reports of possible intoxication, fights and misconduct have prompted government agencies to take action.  Due to reports of “unpredictable behavior,” officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF) may begin giving their employees breathalyzer tests

The agency could be shipping several breathalyzers to areas where a total of 1,150 scientists and support staff are stationed. This comes after officials reportedly told auditors of “unpredictable behavior that has led to fights, indecent exposure, and employees arriving to work under the influence.”

Drinking in Antarctica could lead to serious problems if not controlled. For one,  the closest medical care facility is at lead a few hours away from the bases. So if you were to get alcohol poisoning, it’d be a long ways before you get to a hospital.  As a result, the supervisors are solely responsible for keeping people safe. In one article, a worker stated:

“It’s a fine line because you have to let people do their own thing and be responsible. The South Pole is such a small community, there’s only one person for each job.”

The agency claims that drinking is “not out of control” and the breathalyzer measure is preventative. The NSF officials told auditors that the real problem was the “ongoing culture class” between construct works and scientists. They often eat, socialize and drink separately. Contractors are treated lower and have to abide by more rules than scientists who are put on a higher pedestal, the article notes.  The agency went on to say that it feels the time is now to address the drinking issue before it becomes a serious issue.

However, there are some administrative roadblocks. Since Antarctica is not U.S territory, it makes it unclear who would conduct the breathalyzer tests and which employees would have the rights to appeal them. Even more complicated, the South Pole is at such a high altitude, the breathalyzer tests may not even function properly.  The South Pole Station is at an altitude of 10,000, atop a high plateau. At that altitude, the device would have difficulty calibrating.

Other countries with research bases on Antarctica, like Britain and France have distinct rule about alcohol use. The British Antarctic Survey asserts in its detailed alcohol and drug policy that “alcohol can play a useful role in providing a diversion from the pressures of work when used in moderation,” but staff are prohibited from working under the influence.

To put it into perspective, the article describes how every winter; dozens of workers at the South Pole research station spend nine months in isolation. No airplanes can fly in or out until the base “warms” up to 50 zero ensuring the fuel does not freeze and kill the engine.

If you want to escape your problems, Antarctica is the place to go but after months in isolation, emotions can flare up. Families and friends can bring back old memories of home. Workers predisposed to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are hit hard. The darkness and cold causes sleepiness and memory problems. Many scientists and workers  fall into alcoholism as a way of coping with the depression.

Working in Antarctica can be one of the most exciting jobs on Earth. Or it can be the most depressing. And the fact is, drinking during work hours is a serious problem, just like at any big company. As of right now, there is no clear policy in place to regulate drinking behavior.

Implementing new policies on how to control the drinking will hopefully prevent the alcohol consumption from getting out of control.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

Would Lowering the Drinking Age Increase High School Dropout Rates?

Would Lowering Drinking Age Increase High School Dropout Rates?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Could lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 lead to increasing the high school dropout rate? A new study believes so. The study first published in the latest issue of The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, examined dropout rates before the minimum drinking age was raised to 21 in 1984. Researchers discovered that 17-year-olds were affected by their 18-year-old peers because allowing 18 year old students in high school to have access to alcohol increased the chances that younger students would drink.

The lead author, Andrew Plunk observed that there was a 3% jump in dropout rates when the drinking age was 18. He also noted that “At-risk” groups like African Americans and Latinos had a 4% increase in dropout rates. Even more staggering, the dropout rate jumped by 40% for students whose parents had a drinking problem.

With 3.3 million teenagers expected to graduate from high school this year, a 3% jump in dropouts would amount to an additional 99,000 dropouts across the country. In a news release, Plunk stated:

“The minimum legal drinking age changes how easy it is for a young person to get alcohol. In places where it was lowered to 18, it’s likely that more high school students were able to get alcohol from their friends … if we lower the drinking age, it suggests to me that we’d see this same dropout phenomenon again.”

Despite the research, many colleges and even certain states have spoken in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18. Back in 2008, over 120 college chancellors and presidents signed a petition in favor of the idea.

Some states have come up with more creative solutions. Alaska introduce a bill in 2011 to allow active military member to drink at age 18 on the basis that if you’re old enough to serve in the military and die for your country, you’re old enough to drink.

Of course, there are a number of external environmental factors that might affect the connection between dropout rates and lowering drinking age. Despite that, Plunk still believes that a reduced drinking age could have an impact on minors. He states that laws need to remain in place to protect people are 15, 16, and 17 years old most vulnerable.

Next, we have to consider other countries that have a lower drinking age. Like me, you might be arguing that countries in Europe tend to have lower drinking ages and do just fine with them. Apparently, that’s a myth.  Plunk says that previous, separate research has revealed that European you do in fact have their share of alcohol problems.

So what about Europe? The US is always compared to Europe and we’re told that men and women have their first drink at an early age and develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. Well, according to Plunk, that’s a myth that won’t die. Plunk responded to the question posed by Medical Daily in an email. He said that previous, separate research has shown European youth do have their share of alcohol-related problems.

“For example, in 1990, France and Italy had higher per capita alcohol consumption and higher rates of cirrhosis deaths than in the U.S. Per capita consumption in France and Italy was 12.7 and 8.7 liters of alcohol, respectively, compared with 7.5 in the U.S.,” Plunk cited. “Cirrhosis death rates in France and Italy were 26.8 and 17 per 100,000, respectively, whereas the U.S. rate was 11.6. European countries are now looking to the U.S. for research and experience regarding the [drinking] age policy.”

Truthfully, more research is needed to be done to understand the true problems underage drinking could have on a country. When it comes to protecting youths from the harmful dangers of alcohol misuse, the CDC says that it will require community-based efforts to monitor the activities of you and decrease youth access to alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is unhealthy no matter what age you are though. Don’t let your alcoholism turn your life around. Get help for your addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

In Maryland, Gambling Addiction is Rampant; Treatment Options Lacking

In Maryland, Gambling Addiction is Rampant; Treatment Options Lacking

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Gambling can stimulate the brain’s rewards system much like drugs and alcohol can. Gambling addiction is a serious condition that can destroy lives. When gambling becomes addictive, it means you are willing to risk something in order to get something of even greater value. Sometimes this can mean straining relationships you have with your family and friends in order to satisfy the urge to gamble.

There is a state having a huge issue with gambling addiction and this time, it isn’t Nevada.  The tiny state of Maryland is home to one of the largest concentrated casino markets in the country. As gambling addiction continues to rise, few treatment centers options are available for resident causing their addiction to get worse.

In 2009, a state survey revealed that an estimated 150,000 residents suffer from moderate to severe gambling addiction. The state’s toll-free hotline for problem gambling has taken 619 calls in the past year from people struggling with compulsive gambling up. This number is up from 431 two years prior. Police were called on four different occasions on account of children and seniors being left unattended in cars while their parents or caregivers were inside gambling.

Clearly, the issue is increasing in severity every day. Over 893 problem gamblers, desperate to free themselves of their addiction, legally banned themselves from entering a casino through the state’s Voluntary Exclusion program. Casinos reported 37 people who were unable to follow through with the ban.

Unfortunately, there are no treatment options in Maryland to address gambling addiction. To make matters worse, most of these problem gamblers do not have health insurance or access to funds to cover private addiction treatment. The funds they could have used were gambled all away.

“When gamblers reach out to us, they’re in crisis … it’s out of control, they don’t have any money,” said Deborah Haskins, president of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling. “When the person doesn’t have treatment as an option, it’s like you’re putting a brick wall in front of them. You’re commending them for taking the first steps, but then you have nothing else to provide them. It’s very frustrating.”

Each year, casinos in Maryland are required to contribute to the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that addresses problem gambling. The casino’s pay $425 per slot machine and $500 per table game each year. The funds only came to only $4 million last fiscal year. Most of the money ended up going to the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling. The program focuses on increasing the amount of gambling addiction counselors and running the addiction hotline, among other services, but it’s not used for actual treatment

Vegas Came To Maryland

So I’m writing this wondering how a state like Maryland ended up so massive on the casino bandwagon. Five years ago, Maryland had just opened its first casino. Since then, four more have debuted and a giant $1.3 billion resort casino, MGM National Harbor, is set to open next year.

From a financial standpoint, Maryland is cashing in big time. The state took in $1 billion in the last fiscal year. Out of that money, the state’s cut was $487 million and $388 was used for Maryland’s Education Trust Funds.

It’s clear the state made a worthwhile financial investment but the consequences for addiction are all too real.  Gambling is one of the most deceptive of all human vices. It presents the illusion of easy money but can quickly lead into financial ruin. The odds are never in your favor when the purpose of the system is to make a profit.

As a result of the financial stress gambling addiction results in, often gamblers turn to drugs, alcohol and other addictive behavior to alleviate the anxiety brought on by the gambling lifestyle. They may struggle with drug and alcohol addiction for the rest of their life after years of self-medicating to deal with the stress. The stress of it call can result in strained relationships and isolation.

Maryland’s economy continues to thrive from the casino industry however compulsive gamblers have to deal with the consequences of their actions. These consequences include everything from home foreclosure and bankruptcies to domestic abuse, robberies and embezzlement.

Gambling in America costs the United States between $32.4 billion to $53.8 billion per year. The long term costs outweigh the economic benefits by a greater than 3:1 ration. Maryland has a choice to progress toward providing treatment and solutions to the gambling addiction crisis before it gets out of control. The consequences could overpower the risks.

If you feel you are starting to develop an addiction to gambling, seek help before the addiction takes control of your life. Luckily, there is help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

Ten Presidents Who Loved To Booze Up

Ten Presidents Who Loved To Booze Up

Author: Shernide Delva

It’s hard to imagine running an entire country but being inebriated while doing it? For a few presidents, this was a daily reality.

Looking back, a lot of our presidents were huge drinkers and by today’s standards, many of our former presidents would have even qualified as alcoholics.

“Being president is a high pressure job, and it’s a surprise anyone gets out of there alive, much less sober, says journalist Brian Abrams, author of the book Party like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief in the Oval Office.

Even a close look at America’s most celebrated moments will reveal alcohol playing some kind of role. When the Mayflower carried the pilgrims to Plymouth, she carried several barrels of beer along with her.

In some of the earlier presidential terms, alcohol was looked at much differently than it is today. Back then, there was really nothing exceptional about our founding fathers beginning the day with a beer.

Let’s take a trip through time. Here are 10 presidents, in chronological order,  who had quite a liking for liquor:

1. George Washington (1789–1797)

Throughout the Revolutionary War, Washington made sure his men were given one cup of rum each day.

He also was a huge fan of wine, especially French wine. In fact, when the colonists desperately needed the French to help them fight the British, Washington would exchange letters with French generals discussing their favorite wines.

2. John Adams (1797 – 1801)

When John Adams got into Harvard at age 15, he was already regularly drinking beer for breakfast. According to reports, John Adams drank a tankard, or 20 ounces, of hard cider for breakfast each morning!

John Adams was a drinker from the beginning. He actually started drinking at the tender age of eight and went on until his death…at age 90.

3. Martin van Buren (1837-1841)

Buren was one of those high functioning alcoholics. He could drink for days and not show any signs of being intoxicated. It was to the point that his friends gave him the nickname “Blue Whiskey Van.”

In 1840, William Henry Harrison’s campaign painted Van Buren as an alcoholic which contributed to him losing the election.

4. Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1857)

When the Democratic party decided not to re-nominate Pierce after his first term in office, he told reporters,

“There’s nothing left but to get drunk.”
Franklin Pierce might have been America’s MOST alcoholic president. He drank hard for his entire adult life and kept going right on through the end of his presidency.

5. James Buchanan (1857 – 1861)

This president’s ENTIRE life centered on drinking.

One report has it that Buchanan flipped when he found out the white house would only be stocked with small bottles of champagne.

That’s why every Sunday, he’d go to a distillery and pick up a 10 GALLON jug of whiskey. According to reporters, he’d drink cognac and up to two BOTTLES of other alcohol every night.

If you’re thinking he was a drunken mess 24/7… not really. This president also knew how to hold his liquor.

He remained calm and cautious on the outside so most people around him did not know he was drunk.  On the inside though, his body was suffering.

Soon his immune system was so weakened by such high alcohol consumption, he developed serious stomach issues like inflammation of his intestines on several occasions.

6. Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877)

Famous General Ulysses S. Grant drank a staggering amount of Old Crow whiskey throughout the war. While many were shocked at his constant inebriated state, he went on to become one of the most celebrated generals of the war and was twice elected as president.

Grant has the biggest drinking reputation of any U.S. president. One report stated that during Civil War battles “he’d just sit there, drinking, all day long.”

Grant had attempted to gain sobriety many times and wanted to control his drinking. Time and time again though, Grant returned back to the booze.

Fun Fact: When Ulysses S. Grant was on his death bed he passed out and a doctor was able to revive him and give him a couple of extra minutes of life…by giving him brandy.

7. Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)

Talk about beer belly…

As president, Arthur put on close to 40 pounds in office. A lot of this was due to constant drinking and having friends come over to drink on a nightly basis. Arthur was quite a social butterfly.

Sadly, it caught up to him and it is believed that his heavy drinking caused Arthur’s kidney failure and death at 57 years old.

8. Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)

Unlike most presidents on this lists, the case of Nixon is a considerably darker one.

In the book, One Man Against The World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, journalist Tim Weiner paints a picture of the 37th president as a paranoid madman, driven to shameful behavior through crippling addiction and mental collapse.

Evidence for his behavior come from newly released recordings from the Nixon administration.

In the book Weiner reports:
• Nixon had been up all night drinking when he accepted defeat in his 1960 bid for the presidency, delivering his infamous line, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore,” to reporters.

• By 1968, his close adviser John Ehrlichman was ready to call it quits over Nixon’s drinking.

“He was convinced that Nixon’s drinking could cost him any chance of a return to public life,” Weiner writes. “He had seen Nixon drunk during the 1960 and 1962 campaigns and the 1964 Republican convention, and he made him take the pledge: ‘If he wanted me to work for him he would lay off the booze.’”

• During Watergate, Nixon took Seconal, a barbiturate, as a sleep-aid, and Dilantin, a drug that leveled you out and was later diagnosed to people with bipolar disorder.  Because he would combine the drugs with alcohol, it heightened the effects.

“It wasn’t so much that he was a huge drinker, but one scotch with the pills would mess him up. He’d drunk dial people in his cabinet, his staff, or his old football coach, who would listen to Nixon until he’d mumble himself to sleep.”

• According to Weiner, Nixon’s constant insomnia and drinking fueled his aggression in the war in Vietnam.

9. George W. Bush (2001-2009)

Bush was quite the party guy in college and engaged in fraternity parties, secret societies and football weekends during his Yale days.

According to some sources, Bush spent much of his time at Yale and a portion of his adult life as an on and off again alcoholic. Bush was arrested for driving under the influence in the ‘70s. The revelation of Bush’s criminal record did not cost him the presidency.

By all accounts, George W. Bush remained sober throughout his presidency, and continues to abstain from alcohol to this day.

10. Barrack Obama (2009-Present)

Obama has admitted to smoking cigarettes, pot and heavily drinking in his youth. Although Obama has put his past behind him, he has a way of keeping the tradition of alcohol and presidency alive.

The famous “beer summit” where race relations were discussed in the Rose Garden or when he smoothed over a phone tapping scandal with a beer alongside the German Prime Ministered.

Obama puts out a message of casual down-home drinking and no gossip about overindulgence has emerged involving the current president.

While some presidents have worked to ban alcohol, others have worked to drink as much as possible. Others, like Obama, encourage the social aspects of the occasional drink in moderation. Overall though, alcohol has been a part of American history just as much as anything.

We as a society have learned that excess booze will kill your body and wreak havoc on your emotions. It’s always interesting to look back at previous presidents lives and find out how they handled drinking. Being a president is a high stress position but of course abusing alcohol is never a healthy way of coping with stress and emotions. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Find Out the Overdose Death Rate in YOUR State

Find Out the Overdose Death Rate in YOUR State

Author: Justin Mckibben

Take a moment of silence and consider the facts. It’s not unlikely that right now somewhere someone is dying from a drug overdose.

In all reality, several people just like you and me will die today overdosing.

Drug overdose deaths have continued to scar our country at increasingly distressing rates. According to the most recent reports drug overdose death rates have increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C. as overdoses continue to outpace car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths.

6 states have improved:

  • Washington
  • North Dakota
  • Maine
  • Florida
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama

But not everyone has been so fortunate, and the greater half has gotten worse as these state have been subjected to an epidemic that has claimed more lives in a tragic trend that is crippling families and communities all over.

So where does your state fall?

State Ranked Overdose Deaths

The following information was provided by a statistics and studies site claiming to pull all data from over 18,000 sources.

The statistics used for these rankings are for drug overdose death rates in the United States in 2014, sorted by U.S. states with number of deaths from drug overdose per 100,000 inhabitants. So the number doesn’t represent the total number of deaths, but the average per populous. The following list shows all 50 states from lowest to highest overdose death rate in the United States:

(Remember- # of deaths per every 100,000 people)

  • North Dakatoa- 3 deaths
  • South Dakota- 6.1 deaths
  • Nebraska- 7.3 deaths
  • Virginia- 8.4 deaths
  • Iowa- 8.5 deaths
  • Minnesota- 8.6 deaths
  • New York- 9 deaths
  • Texas- 9.9 deaths
  • Kansas- 10.4 deaths
  • Georgia- 10.8 deaths
  • Mississippi- 10.9 deaths
  • California- 11 deaths
  • Connecticut- 11 deaths
  • Maine- 11 deaths
  • Illinois- 11.1 deaths
  • Vermont- 11.3 deaths
  • New Jersey- 11.6 deaths
  • Alabama- 11.7 deaths
  • Hawaii- 11.7 deaths
  • Wisconsin- 11.8 deaths
  • Massachusetts- 12.1 deaths
  • Maryland- 12.2 deaths
  • Idaho- 12.3 deaths
  • Arkansas- 12.6 deaths
  • North Carolina- 12.6 deaths
  • Montana- 12.8 deaths
  • Louisiana- 12.9 deaths
  • Oregon-13.1 deaths
  • New Hampshire- 13.4 deaths
  • South Carolina- 13.5 deaths
  • Michigan- 13.9 deaths
  • Washington- 14 deaths
  • Alaska- 14.4 deaths
  • Colorado- 14.8 deaths
  • Indiana- 15.1 deaths
  • Florida- 15.2 deaths
  • Wyoming- 15.7 deaths
  • Missouri- 16.3 deaths
  • Delaware- 16.6 deaths
  • Tennessee- 17.2 deaths
  • Rhode Island- 17.3 deaths
  • Pennsylvania- 17.4 deaths
  • Ohio- 17.5 deaths
  • Arizona- 17.7 deaths
  • Oklahoma- 19.8 deaths
  • Utah- 20.1 deaths
  • Nevada- 22.2 deaths
  • Kentucky- 24 deaths
  • New Mexico- 24.8 deaths
  • West Virginia- 31.3 deaths

Surprised where your state is? I know I was!

Of course it is essential that you consider several elements that can contribute to these numbers. Some areas have a much smaller population, so state wide they will typically have more addicts and therefore more overdoses.

Still, looking at these averages and wondering how we can hope to curb such a depressing trend makes the mission seem of paramount importance.

Thankfully the numbers of states that have “rescue drug” laws that allow prescription access to overdose antidotes like naloxone have doubled since 2013, and new initiatives are consistently being developed and applied to try and educate citizens about drug abuse, overdose and their treatment options.

Not all overdoses are due to drug abuse either. While in a lot of cases it’s probably safe to assume the individual was a hard drug user or drug addict, it is not the only explanation. Some individuals don’t understand the dangers of mixing certain drugs with each other or with alcohol and the devastating effect it can have on the body.

Out of all this we can definitely determine one fundamental and undeniable truth- the epidemic is real. The problem is right here, and it’s across the nation on the west coast. It is back in my home town of Ohio (8) reaping havoc on the Midwest, and it is killing thousands everywhere in between. This isn’t just heroin, or opiates, but all drugs.

New initiatives aim to change all this. Support for treatment, harm reduction and education should render our current practices in the war on drugs obsolete, because these numbers show us America stands at this critical crossroads.

I personally challenge more people to get involved in raising awareness and speaking up, in memory of those we will lose today.

There is a way out. We each can do our part to change that statistic, and for the addict or alcoholic who still suffers there are thousands of people just like you who have recovered and who want to help you. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

 

 

 

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