Rapper Eminem Celebrates A Decade of Sobriety
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Rapper Eminem Celebrates A Decade of Sobriety: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News

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Will the Sober Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

Marshall Mathers, otherwise known as rapper Eminem, celebrated a personal milestone on social media this past Saturday: 10 years of sobriety. The rapper posted a photo of himself on Instagram showing off his 10-year sober coin, with the caption: “Celebrated my 10 years yesterday.” Ever since an accidental overdose in 2007, Eminem’s sobriety has informed his music, most notably with his album Recovery. “I used to get pills wherever I could. I was just taking anything that anybody was giving to me,” Mathers told The New York Times in 2010, adding that he abused Valium, Vicodin, Ambien and methadone. He credits his rehab counselor and children for keeping him sober through the years.

Google Supports DEA’s Prescription Drug Initiative

On Wednesday, Google announced that it will begin using its homepage and its maps to promote a DEA project to combat the national opioid crisis. Directly underneath the Google search bar, the company will promote the DEA’s “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day”—an initiative that asks people to anonymously bring unused medications to collection sites where their drugs will be safely discarded. Google Maps will also launch a tool to help people find one of the 5,500 drug-collection sites that are nearest to them. “We’re deeply concerned by the opioid crisis that has impacted families in every corner of the United States,” Google’s VP of Public Policy, Susan Molinari, said. “Many people aren’t aware of, or can’t easily find, prescription drug disposal programs in their communities,” she added. Google said that its users search for “prescription drug disposal,” on average, 10,000 times per week.

Danish Director Opens up About Addiction

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, the controversial director of films like Antichrist and Nymphomaniac, opened up about his well-documented struggles with addiction in a brand-new interview with The Louisiana Museum, Denmark’s arts channel. As Von Trier prepares to return to Cannes with his psychological horror film The House That Jack Built, he opened up about his demons in the revealing interview: “I felt horrible during filming for this film, and that’s not anyone’s fault but my own,” the 61-year-old director said. “I was just anxious, alcoholized and so on. Now I’m in all sorts of associations where I’m trying to reach sobriety. But it’s hard. It’s really hard…alcohol is self-medicating, and sadly, insanely effective. The problem is when the alcohol level drops the anxiety hits you even harder. It’s a non-solution.” Von Trier has always been openly critical of sober creative artists, infamously telling Variety in 2014: “There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug addicts. Who the hell would bother with a Rolling Stones without booze or with a Jimi Hendrix without heroin?”

Prince’s Family Sues Hospital over His First Opioid Overdose

Prince’s family is suing the hospital that treated the late musician for an opioid overdose one week before his death, The New York Times reported. The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Minnesota authorities wouldn’t be filing criminal charges related to the late singer’s overdose in 2016. In the lawsuit, Prince’s family contends that the singer didn’t receive the care he needed at Illinois’ Trinity Medical Center and that his death was a “direct and proximate cause” of the hospital’s improper treatment. In a statement, Prince’s family said: “What happened to Prince is happening to families across America. The family wishes, through its investigation, to shed light on this epidemic and how to better the fight to save lives. If Prince’s death helps save lives, then all was not lost.”

Coast Guard Offload Tons of Drugs in Florida

CBS Miami reported that 12 tons of cocaine and a ton of marijuana—all of which were “seized during 17 interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America by multiple US Coast Guard cutters and Canadian Naval vessels”—were offloaded this week at Port Everglades. The drugs are worth a combined $390 million. “Today’s offload sends them a message that our network of partners and allies remains resolute in our commitment to stem the flow of illicit trafficking that breeds instability,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Carter. “This is a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that requires highly skilled operators, it requires intense training and preparation.” The news signals an increased Coast Guard presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, in order to make larger drug busts in the area.

DEA’s Plan to Curb Prescription Drugs Under Fire

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is facing skepticism about its proposed rule to “aggressively limit manufacturing levels” and to put “hundreds of drug makers on notice.” Last week, it was announced that the DEA could tighten the quotas issued to manufacturers if and when they suspect supplies are being diverted for misuse. “It’s a common sense idea: The more a drug is diverted, the more its production should be limited,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued in a statement. “Today’s proposed rule will give DEA more information to help the agency protect law-abiding Americans from the threat of drugs.” Lawmakers and federal drug policy officials weren’t confident, however, that the rule would lead to drug manufacturing crackdowns. In many ways, the proposed rule’s effectiveness would depend upon how the DEA chose to enforce the rule in the first place. “This doesn’t get us anywhere, because in the end you’re opening the door for a lot of challenges to your quota process,” said former DEA officer Joe Rannazzisi. The DEA has, for decades, regulated the amount of controlled substances in the US through a quota process that ensures drugmakers will produce enough drugs to avoid shortages.

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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.