Former Spice Girl Mel B to Enter Rehab
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Former Spice Girl Mel B to Enter Rehab: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News

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Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown (“Mel B”) told The Sun this week that she will be entering rehab next month to treat her alcohol and sex addictions. The 43-year-old performer said the decision to seek treatment comes after an “incredibly difficult” six months during which time she worked on her autobiography. “It has been unbelievably traumatic reliving an emotionally abusive relationship and confronting so many massive issues in my life,” she said. “I am being very honest about drinking to numb my pain but that is just a way a lot people mask what is really going on.” She also claims that she’s been struggling in the wake of her split from American film producer Stephen Belafonte, with whom she has three children.

Non-addictive Painkiller Could Replace Opioids, New Study Says

Researchers in the US and Japan claim that they’ve developed a new drug with all the painkilling benefits of opioids but none of the addictive dangers. According to LiveScience, a new drug (currently called AT-121) successfully worked in a study to relieve pain involving rhesus monkeys. Called a “bifunctional drug,” AT-121 zeroes in on two specific opioid receptors in the brain that control the sensation of pain, the story said. “This is the first [painkiller drug]demonstrated in a nonhuman [primate]model to have such a promising profile,” Mei-Chuan Ko, one of the study’s authors said. Researchers discovered that the monkeys who were given AT-121 not only didn’t experience pain but didn’t experience any addiction symptoms. And since the study used primates and not mice, LiveScience reported, the results are especially promising for humans. AT-121 will next undergo the safety and toxicology studies required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before human clinical trials begin. “If we can really come up with these new types of compounds, they can potentially reduce a lot of medical burden,” Ko said. “I perceive this will have huge impact in our society and global community.”

Marijuana Use on The Rise Among Pregnant Women

Brand-new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (published Monday in the journal Pediatricswarn that women should “steer clear” of marijuana if they’re either pregnant or breastfeeding. What might initially seem like no-brainer advice is actually (surprisingly) necessary now, the Los Angeles Times reported. As cannabis gains acceptance by the public, doctors fear, children are likewise being exposed to the drug at increasingly high rates, One study found that the number of pregnant women who said they’d used pot in the past month rose from 2.4% in 2002 to 3.9% in 2014, while another report found that it jumped from 4% in 2009 to 7% in 2016. The Times also said that scientists are also concerned that THC, which can “cross the placenta and accumulate in the brain and fat of a growing fetus,” has quadrupled in overall potency since 1983.

Study Explores the Science Behind Hangovers

Human brains take longer to recover from a night of drinking than many people originally thought, a new scientific study has revealed. Forbes reported that “with few exceptions,” the brain’s cognitive abilities (including memory and attention) were compromised well after alcohol has left the body. In fact, it can take an entire day for the brain’s major functions to return to normal, new research shows. “Our findings demonstrate that [a]hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills such as concentration and memory,” the study’s senior author Sally Adams said. The human brain can’t quickly recover “from the chemical assault that comes with heavy drinking,” given that alcohol is a diuretic (removing four times as much water from the body as alcohol) and the body’s organs are forced to go into overtime to stay hydrated. “Drinking isn’t just about the time spent drinking,” the story observed. “It’s also about all of the time it’s going to take to recover, and our brains recover slower than we think.”

Self-Injury Deaths Suddenly Outpace Diabetes in US

According to a new US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, deaths related to drugs, alcohol and suicide now surpass diabetes as the seventh-leading cause in the US. Using 2016 health data, CDC researchers discovered that 29.1 people per 100,000 died from self-injury in comparison to 24.8 per 100,000 from diabetes, ABC News reported. In turn, the study’s authors urge the public as well as healthcare providers to develop more effective targeted prevention efforts. “We’re so entrenched in separating suicide from drug overdose or alcohol poisoning deaths that people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that they are related,” Hilary S. Connery, clinical director of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at McLean Hospital, contended. “It is time to end the siloed approach to prevention.”

Noah Cyrus Reveals Struggles with Depression and Anxiety

Noah Cyrus, the younger sibling of music superstar Miley Cyrus, is opening up about her battles with depression and anxiety. The 18-year-old singer told L’Officiel that her struggles helped inform her upcoming release. “This EP is mostly just about how my emotions have been, and about my anxiety, and about how I’ve been struggling with depression, and how it’s okay to feel those feelings,” she said. “A lot of people like to judge you, and make fun of you on the Internet, and people make you feel crazy whenever you’re in a depression or having anxiety or having a panic attack. It’s about that and being sad and having your emotions and not being able to ignore the feelings you’re having.” (Big sister Miley is no stranger to being open about her mental health and substance abuse issues, either, revealing last year that she quit smoking marijuana.)

Goldbergs Star Jackson Odell Died of An Accidental OD

Jackson Odell, who played Ari Caldwell on ABC’s sitcom The Goldbergs, died of an accidental drug overdose, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Odell, who died on June 8, was living at a sober living facility at the time of his overdose, ET reported. The coroner’s report determined that his death was attributed to “acute heroin and cocaine toxicity.” After the actor’s cause of death was revealed this week, Odell’s family issued a statement: “Jackson was more than his addiction. And although Jackson struggled only for a short time with his addiction, the evil seductress won. But that does not diminish the brilliantly talented musician and beautiful soul that Jackson was. He was an accomplished singer/songwriter and the world was just beginning to hear his talent,” they wrote. “Jackson did not want to die. Jackson loved life and everything about it. He was always the first to say yes and when he did he was all in. His personality was big and his heart even bigger. If you were one of the lucky ones who knew Jackson you know when he loved you he loved you forever. You knew if he was your friend he was a friend for life.”

Fentanyl Responsible for Massachusetts Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

State officials in Massachusetts revealed that fentanyl was found in 90% of all of the overdose-related deaths there this year, Boston’s NBC-10 reported. (The Department of Public Health observed that the 90% figure is “higher than it’s ever been.”) Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 50 times more powerful than heroin, making headlines for its roles in the recent deaths of pop culture icons Prince and Tom Petty. The department’s grim report also revealed that cocaine is far more likely to appear on toxicology tests in heroin in the state, too, leading the agency to issue an advisory about fentanyl-laced cocaine. One bright side in the report: the overall number of overdose deaths has dropped a whopping 30% since the 2016 launch of a “prescription monitoring program.”

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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.