Zuckerberg Questioned Over Facebook's Opioid Sales

Zuckerberg Questioned Over Facebook’s Opioid Sales and Mariah Carey Gets Honest about Mental Illness: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News

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Mariah Carey Opens Up About Bipolar Disorder

Superstar singer Mariah Carey revealed to People that she struggles with bipolar disorder—a condition she was first diagnosed with in 2001. “I didn’t want to believe it,” Carey said, acknowledging that she finally reached out for professional help after “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through.” One of the most successful singers of all time (with 200 million records sold and no less than 18 #1 hits on the charts), Carey continues to work out her issues. She says she’s now in active therapy for bipolar II disorder, “which involves periods of depression as well as hypomania (less severe than the mania associated with bipolar I disorder, but can still cause irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity).” She insisted that she’s on track with her treatment, admitting “until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.”

Opioids Are Dangerous to Toddlers, Too

Thousands of American toddlers and preschoolers are poisoned annually, according to a new report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. US poison control centers received an estimated 30,250 reports of children aged five and younger being sickened by tobacco, alcohol, and prescription opioid drugs, among other things. “We think this is a largely overlooked problem as people think about and talk about the problem of substance abuse and addiction in our nation,” said Linda Richter, director of policy research and analysis at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Exposures to prescription opioids increased 93% every year over a nine-year period, with nearly half of ER visits involving kids aged 5 and younger linked to opioids like Oxycontin and Vicodin. “Generally speaking, the rates are going up,” Richter said. “What’s concerning is the severity of the consequences seem to be increasing as well.”

Antidepressant Users Can’t Quit Their Medication

According to federal data, the number of Americans who take antidepressants on a long-term basis is skyrocketing. And while the drugs have helped millions of people with their anxiety and depression, The New York Times reports that many of those same people struggle with an unexpected downside: withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea and insomnia. Longtime antidepressant use has led to “discontinuation syndrome,” the Times said, which users say they were never warned about. In fact, withdrawal symptoms had “never been a focus of drug makers or government regulators, who felt antidepressants could not be addictive and did far more good than harm.” Now, millions of Americans find it difficult to stop taking their medication without “significant trouble”—a troubling trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Demi Lovato Defends Her Sobriety

After songstress Demi Lovato tearfully celebrated six years of sobriety during a recent concert in NYC, the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer is suddenly on the defensive. According to Teen Vogue, Lovato lashed out at fans who questioned that photographs showing her and friends clubbing at a bar showed the singer holding what appeared to be an alcoholic beverage. The debate came to a bizarre head when two separate screenshots were posted to Buzzfeed, showing a side-by-side comparison of Demi’s hand in both versions of the photo. Lovato finally weighed in on the topic via Twitter, insisting she’s still clean and sober: “I don’t have to defend anything but it was Red Bull.”

John Boehner Does a 180 on Marijuana

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who reported in 2009 that he was “unalterably opposed” to the legalization of marijuana, has done a complete 180 on the drug. CNN reported that Boehner is climbing aboard a cannabis company, reflecting a shift in “federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the [Obama] administration to unleashing federal prosecutors across the country to decide how to individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in states where it is legal.” Boehner tweeted that he will be joining the board of Acreage Holdings, noting that he is “convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”

Mark Zuckerberg in Hot Seat over Facebook Opioid Sales

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two-day appearance before Congress included some tough questions about opioids and the social media giant. According to The Hill, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) asked Zuckerberg about how Facebook enables opioid sales: “Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law, and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription,” McKinley asserted. “With all due respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity and, in so doing, you are hurting people. Would you agree with that statement?” Zuckerberg acknowledged there were areas where his company could “do a better job [with]policing” and agreed that opioid sales through Facebook “is a terrible issue.” He added that while his company’s employees take down posts from illegal pharmacies wherever possible, he said that “when there are tens of billion pieces of content that are shared every day, even 20,000 people reviewing it can’t look at everything.”

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Paul Fuhr is a writer who lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and two cats named Dr. No and Vesper. He's hard at work writing a novel and putting his life back together.