Just months after tearfully thanking her fans for “saving her life,” the 25-year-od singer Demi Lovato revealed that she relapsed after six years of sobriety. In her brand-new single “Sober,” released Thursday, she sings “To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore.” Later in the song, she notes that “I wanna be a role model / But I’m only human … I’m sorry that I’m here again / I promise I’ll get help / It wasn’t my intention / I’m sorry to myself.” Ahead of the single’s release, the former Disney star hinted on Twitter that a “truth” of some kind would be forthcoming: “There’s nothing like the truth. The honest to God, uncomfortable and shocking truth. Sometimes you have to share your story in the most honest way possible … for me that’s through music,” she wrote in May. “Sometimes you have to end an era to begin talking about a new chapter of your life.” Lovato’s struggles with addiction have long been public and were the centerpiece of a YouTube documentary released last fall called Simply Complicated.
Canada to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana
A historic bill that legalizes and regulates marijuana has passed in Canada’s Parliament, according to CBC News. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that Canadians will be able to legally buy pot starting on October 17, which is “many months later than the government’s initial target date,” the story noted. While Trudeau acknowledged the delay, he claims it’s necessary. “One of the things that we heard very clearly from the provinces is that they need a certain amount of time to get their bricks and mortar stores—their online sales—ready. Producers need time to be able to actually prepare for a regimented and successful implementation of the regime,” he said. “This is something that we want to get right.” Despite the passing of the bill (by a 52-29 vote), Canadians won’t be able to legally consume pot until Oct. 17.
Video Game Addiction Is an Official Disorder Now
MarketWatch reported on Thursday that your addiction to Fortnite might qualify as something far more serious. The World Health Organization (WHO) added “gaming disorder” to its International Classification of Diseases this week—an eye-opening announcement that says a great deal about the severe impact video gaming can have on some people’s lives. “For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months,” WHO said in a statement. MarketWatch added that health insurers won’t cover treatment of gaming disorder treatment yet, citing that more research needs to occur before it makes its way into the DSM-5 manual of internationally recognized mental health disorders.
Researchers Uncover Alcoholism’s Origins
In what The Atlantic has deemed “a landmark study,” researchers linked molecular changes in the brain to behaviors consistent with addiction? The study’s researchers developed a method in which rats learn how to get an alcohol solution by pressing a lever, even though they have easy access to an alternative to the solution: sweetened water. Fifteen percent of the rats, researchers found, chose alcohol. Fascinatingly, the proportion is nearly identical to the percentage of humans who suffer from alcohol addiction. “A core feature of addiction is that you know it is going to harm you, potentially even kill you, but something has gone wrong with the motivational control and you keep doing it,” Markus Heilig, professor at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and director of the Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience said. Researchers investigated the mechanism underlying the addiction-like behaviors in the rats, mapping hundreds of genes in five areas of the brain. “This is one of those relatively rare times when we find an interesting change in our animal models and we find the same change in the brains of human alcoholics,” one research scientist observed, adding that the study’s findings might be instrumental in helping to improve alcohol treatment overall.
Facebook Tries to Outsmart Online Opioid Buyers
If you’re trying to buy opioids through Facebook, the social media platform will now push you to a federal crisis helpline, according to an Engadget story. Apparently, Facebook worked with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and a recovery advocacy group team for the past few months to develop the initiative. The company has also been invited to an opioids summit being held by the Food and Drug Administration next week, where it will join Twitter, Google and other tech companies to discuss how they plan to help curb drug abuse. “When anyone tries to buy drugs (or find addiction treatment) through Facebook search, a message will appear at the top of the results asking if they’d like assistance to find treatment,” the story said. “If they accept, Facebook will redirect them to information on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline.” Instagram will adopt the feature, too. Facebook has made similar socially conscious efforts in the past few years, ranging from suicide prevention to banning personal gun sales.
Kentucky Sues Walgreens for Its Role in the Opioid Crisis
The Bluegrass State is suing Walgreens, claiming that the pharmacy giant used “unlawful business practices” to fuel the state’s opioid crisis. Attorney General Andy Beshear argues that the retailer not only filled “massive” and “suspicious” orders of opioids, CNN Money reported, but failed to report those same orders to authorities. Walgreens also played dual roles “on the opioid supply chain” as both distributor and dispenser, the lawsuit says. As a distributor, Walgreens delivered opioids straight to its own pharmacies while, as a dispenser, it filled opioids prescriptions for its consumers. Walgreens had “a unique and superior position of knowledge with regard to the gross amount of opioids pumped into its stores and poured out onto the streets of Kentucky,” Beshear said in the lawsuit. Despite this, Walgreens filled orders “for such large quantities of prescription narcotic pain medication that there could be no associated legitimate medical purpose for their use.”
Tommy Lee’s Son Thanks Him for Treatment
While former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and his son Brandon wage an ugly, very public social-media feud with each another, some interesting truths have emerged. Their latest Instagram exchanges indicate that the 22-year-old is celebrating two full years of sobriety and is grateful to his father. “I thank my Dad for paying for my treatment,” Brandon wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s the best thing he has ever done for me. Today I am almost two years sober. Every day that goes by I feel ever more grateful. My clear mind has allowed me to do a lot with this time. So much so that I would like to offer to pay for his treatment.” Brandon’s words answer the 55-year-old’s lengthy Instagram post on Father’s Day, where he lamented the fact that his kids don’t appreciate all that he’s provided: “Sometimes I feel like I failed as a father, because my kids don’t know the value of things,” Tommy wrote. “Sometimes it’s really tough to watch your kids grow up without these morals.” Brandon answered the Father’s Day post with claims that Tommy was an absent father, uploading a since-deleted video of an unconscious Tommy Lee lying on the floor in a T-shirt and underwear.