Actor Gary Busey Reflects on Former Cocaine Habit and Sobriety

Actor Gary Busey Reflects on Former Cocaine Habit and Sobriety: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News

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It’s almost impossible to separate “Gary Busey” from the parody-persona seen on HBO’s Entourage from the one who was nominated in 1979 for an Academy Award for The Buddy Holly Story. Busey, in an NBC News op-ed, reflected on a career that spans nearly 150 films. The Oscar nominee not only compiled many of his “Buseyisms” (self-written words of wisdoms) into a book titled Buseyisms: Gary Busey’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, but he also detailed his decades-long addiction to cocaine. “You are your own best friend and your own soul mate; it all begins with you and ends with you. But you know what end stands for? E-N-D stands for “exciting new direction.” So the end of doing drugs is a whole new rainbow, a place of paradise for your mind, heart, soul and spirit. You just feel better. Doesn’t everybody want to feel better?” he wrote.“That’s why I use the word guts; G-U-T-S stand for “giving up the substance.” Just do it. It’s easy. Forget about it. Move on. All of you are a blessing to yourself and to life and your family. Everything you’ve done in your life, even though some of it was hard, is good, because you go through it to get better. And that’s why we’re on earth.”

Wendy Williams Hosts Town Hall on Drug Addiction

TV personality Wendy Williams selected Harlem Hospital to host a town hall panel on drug addiction Wednesday. CNN anchor and Hunter Foundation supporter Don Lemon introduced the panel, titled “Battling the K2 and Opioid Epidemic in America,” which featured several medical specialists and addiction experts. The key for bringing the town hall together was Williams. “I think substance abuse is way overlooked. I think that people are still ashamed, it needs to be recognized,” she said. “I have a personal family story, me included, and this is about putting together the best of the best.”

Does Alcoholism Occur More Frequently in Colder Climates?

Scientists from the US, Spain and Mexico contended this week that alcoholism may be related to areas with colder climatic conditions. A study, published in Hepatology, found “that as temperature and sunlight hours dropped, alcohol consumption increased,” adding that climate factored into incidences of binge drinking and liver disease. Surprisingly, the study’s authors couldn’t find demonstrable academic evidence to support the phenomenon. “It’s something that everyone has assumed for decades, but no one has scientifically demonstrated it. Why do people in Russia drink so much? Why in Wisconsin? Everybody assumes that’s because it’s cold,” senior author Ramon Bataller, chief of hepatology at UPMC and associate director of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center said. “But we couldn’t find a single paper linking climate to alcoholic intake or alcoholic cirrhosis. This is the first study that systematically demonstrates that worldwide and in America, in colder areas and areas with less sun, you have more drinking and morealcoholic cirrhosis.”

Exercise Could Be Key to Beating Addiction

Physicians have long extolled the virtues of a good diet and regular exercise, but new research findings published in the journal ACS Omega might bolster anti-addiction cravings. “The siren call of addictive drugs can be hard to resist, and returning to the environment where drugs were previously taken can make resistance that much harder,” the journal said. “However, addicts who exercise appear to be less vulnerable to the impact of these environmental cues.” Research with mice suggested the exercise might actually strengthen a drug user’s ability by altering the amount of peptides in the human brain. Mice were regularly administered cocaine injections over the course of four days, followed by 30 days spent in cages, some of which contained a running wheel. The researchers discovered that the mice that exercised on the wheels had lower levels of brain peptides. By contrast, sedentary mice demonstrated drug-seeking behavior, including trying to locate the cocaine they had originally been given.

Is This Our First True Look at The Cost of Opioid Addiction?

It’s been difficult to wrap our collective minds around the true cost of the opioid epidemic but, when it comes to actual number crunching, the state of Massachusetts may have our first actual glimpse at it. In an eye-opening report released Thursday, the state’s Taxpayers Foundation issued a report that said Massachusetts lost a whopping $15.2 billion due to the opioid epidemic. “[The numbers are] staggering of the dollars spent on hospital care, EMTs, early intervention for infants and families, jails and the job productivity forfeited by individuals and employers,” Eileen McAnneny, foundation president, told WBUR. “We wanted folks to get a sense of the pervasiveness. It really impacts all major areas: healthcare, criminal justice, public safety and businesses.” Among some of the key points from the report include the fact that state employers spent $2.1 billion more on opioid-related healthcare in 2017 than any year previous. ER visits linked to opioid use also rose nearly 25% every year from 2010 to 2015. Lost productivity is also estimated at $9.7 billion, which “included lost wages, long-term impairment or injury and death.”

New Jersey Sues Pharma Company Over Opioid Crisis

New Jersey officials on Tuesday leveled a lawsuit (its first one) in the opioid crisis. Gurbir Grewal, the state’s attorney general, claimed that Janssen Pharmaceuticals—a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson—had “minimized the risks of opioid addiction in its marketing messages, targeted older people and other patients with little knowledge of opioids.” The lawsuit also maintained that the pharmaceutical company worked to “embed its deceptions about the viability of long-term opioiduse in the minds of doctors and patients”—a plan that helped plunge the country even deeper into the opioid epidemic. “It is especially troubling that so much of the alleged misconduct took place right here in our own backyard,” Mr. Grewal said at a news conference. “New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry is the envy of the world, with a long history of developing vital, lifesaving drugs. But we cannot turn a blind eye when a New Jersey company like Janssen violates our laws and threatens the lives of our residents.”

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About Author

Paul Fuhr is an addiction recovery writer whose work has appeared in The Literary Review, The Live Oak Review, The Sobriety Collective and InRecovery Magazine, among others. He is the author of the alcoholism memoir “Bottleneck.” He's also the creator and co-host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and recovery. Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and their cats, Dr. No and Goldeneye.