Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Fox News Doctor Spreads Marijuana Propaganda

January 4, 2018

Dr. Marc Siegel appeared on the Fox News Channel morning program on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 and had nothing good to say about California’s new marijuana law. Siegel is convinced that marijuana in a “gateway drug” and poses a danger for many people who are pregnant, driving a motor vehicle, or working in an academic environment. He seemed to say that routine, prolonged use caused brain damage. Peace and Freedom will try to get the video of his remarks Wednesday on “Fox and Friends” because he issued a clear cautionary note to California….

Read more: National Institutes of Health Report Include

The video is athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxyaehZvU6w

Drinking
Patterns of alcohol consumption may have an impact on dementia risk
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“The Catholic Guide to Depression,” by Aaron Kheriaty, MD and Fr. John Cihak, STD.

Talented ... Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at Sundance Film Festival in January. Picture: AP.

Talented … Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at Sundance Film Festival in January. Picture: AP. Source: AP

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The casket of Philip Seymour Hoffman leaves the Church of St Ignatius in Manhattan on Friday as family and friends mourned the loss of the talented actor

The casket of Philip Seymour Hoffman leaves the Church of St Ignatius in Manhattan as family and friends mourned the loss of the talented actor who died at age 46.

John Belushi

From left to right: Philip Seymour Hoffman; Cory Monteith; Lindsay Lohan and Heath Ledger

“Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin. Many believe he is addicted to heroin.

 

Angry: Charlie is reportedly furious that his ex has fled rehab

Angry? Charlie Sheen

Alec Baldwin and a member of the paparazzi get into an altercation in New York City, outside of Grey Dog restaurant, in front of the actors wife, Hilaria, on Aug. 27, 2013. - Provided courtesy of Freddie Baez / Startraksphoto.com

Alec Baldwin, paparazzi member scuffle in New York in front of Hilaria

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The Number of Great Entertainers Felled by Drugs and Alcohol Is Staggering

Compiled by Peace and Freedom

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Amy Winehouse predicted that she would join the ghostly ranks of the 27 Club
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One of the greatest tragedies to strike previously was the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in The Dark Knight. The actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment in January 2008
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Nearly one year after Whitney Houston‘s shocking death, her mom Cissy Houston often asks herself: “Could I have saved her somehow?”

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Fallen star: Mindy McCready reached the peak of her career with her debut single 'Ten Thousand Angels' in 1996

Related:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Winehouse

File:Amy Winehouse - Rehab.jpg

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John Belushi

Jim Morrison

Marilyn Monroe

“Stars” that died of drugs and alcohol:

http://www.drugs.com/celebrity_deaths.html

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Brain problems: Junior Seau experienced insomnia and other symptoms of brain trauma after retiring from the NFL - he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest so his brain could be studied.

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Brain problems: Junior Seau experienced insomnia and  other symptoms of brain trauma after retiring from the NFL – he committed  suicide by shooting himself in the chest so his brain could be studied

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Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug? — East Coast TV Doctor Warns Californians

January 3, 2018

Image result for Dr. Marc Siegel, photos

Dr. Marc Siegel appeared on the Fox News Channel morning program on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 and had nothing good to say about California’s new marijuana law. Siegel is convinced that marijuana in a “gateway drug” and poses a danger for many people who are pregnant, driving a motor vehicle, or working in an academic environment. He seemed to say that routine, prolonged use caused brain damage. Peace and Freedom will try to get the video of his remarks Wednesday on “Fox and Friends” because he issued a clear cautionary note to California….

Below is from the National Institutes of Health….

Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede use of other licit and illicit substances46 and the development of addiction to other substances. For instance, a study using longitudinal data from the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders found that adults who reported marijuana use during the first wave of the survey were more likely than adults who did not use marijuana to develop an alcohol use disorder within 3 years; people who used marijuana and already had an alcohol use disorder at the outset were at greater risk of their alcohol use disorder worsening.47 Marijuana use is also linked to other substance use disorders including nicotine addiction.

NIDA

Early exposure to cannabinoids in adolescent rodents decreases the reactivity of brain dopamine reward centers later in adulthood.48 To the extent that these findings generalize to humans, this could help explain the increased vulnerability for addiction to other substances of misuse later in life that most epidemiological studies have reported for people who begin marijuana use early in life.49 It is also consistent with animal experiments showing THC’s ability to “prime” the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs.50 For example, rats previously administered THC show heightened behavioral response not only when further exposed to THC but also when exposed to other drugs such as morphine—a phenomenon called cross-sensitization.51

These findings are consistent with the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug.” However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Also, cross-sensitization is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs52 and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.

It is important to note that other factors besides biological mechanisms, such as a person’s social environment, are also critical in a person’s risk for drug use. An alternative to the gateway-drug hypothesis is that people who are more vulnerable to drug-taking are simply more likely to start with readily available substances such as marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol, and their subsequent social interactions with others who use drugs increases their chances of trying other drugs. Further research is needed to explore this question.

December 2017

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-gateway-drug

Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar

December 20, 2017

Deaths jumped more than 30% in 2016, as the struggle with a deadly opioid epidemic migrates to the workplace

The number of U.S. deaths at work from unintentional drug and alcohol overdoses jumped more than 30% in 2016, according to new government data, showing that the nation’s struggle with a deadly opioid epidemic is migrating to the workplace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries said Tuesday that 217 workers died on the job last year as a result of an unintentional overdose from the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol, up from 165 in 2015. The number of accidental overdose deaths at work has nearly tripled since the BLS began compiling the data in 2011.

The statistic is part of a bigger problem. Drug overdose deaths surpassed 64,000 last year, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Donald Trump in October declared opioid addiction, in particular, a national public health emergency.

Addiction experts are in wide agreement on the most effective way to help opioid addicts: Medication-assisted treatment. But most inpatient rehab facilities in the U.S. don’t offer this option. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports on why the medication option is controversial, and in many places, hard to come by. Image: Ryno Eksteen and Thomas Williams

“The surge in deaths, the abuse and the way in which this has turned into a crisis which encompasses so many elements, it’s not at all surprising this crisis has migrated” into the workplace, said John Deskins, an economist at West Virginia University.

The Department of Labor will respond by working “with public and private stakeholders to help eradicate the opioid crisis as a deadly and growing workplace issue,” said Loren Sweatt, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s deputy assistant secretary.

Earlier this year, OSHA limited its reporting of fatalities in the U.S., as part of a series of moves by the agency cutting back the amount of information about workplace accidents made available to the public.

Other causes of workplace death still dominated in 2016, a year during which the economy added 2.24 million new jobs.

Total fatal work injuries rose 7% to 5,190 in 2016, according to the report. Deaths due to workplace violence increased 23% last year from the year before, making that the second most common cause of death on the job in 2016 after transportation incidents. The number of workplace suicides rose 27% in 2016 from the year before, to 291, the highest number since the census began recording the number of suicides at work in 1992.

Drug abuse is taking a toll on the U.S. economy. The burden of prescription opioid abuse from crime, lost work productivity through absenteeism or poor job performance and health care costs is an estimated $78.5 billion a year, according to a 2013 study by the CDC.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book—a survey based on anecdotes collected from the central bank’s 12 regional banks—reported in July that manufacturers in the St. Louis region cited candidates’ inability to pass drug tests or to consistently report to work as a difficulty in hiring workers.

In a 2015 paper, Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton termed the rise in mortality from suicide, drugs and alcohol since the late 1990s among middle-aged white Americans “deaths of despair.”

Write to Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/drug-and-alcohol-deaths-at-u-s-workplaces-soar-1513712478

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Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, December 9, 2017 — “This is the way; walk in it.” — “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

December 8, 2017

Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 180

Reading 1 IS 30:19-21, 23-26

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
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Image result for the lamb will graze in spacious meadows, photos
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On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see Isaiah 30:18d) Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Alleluia IS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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09 DECEMBER, 2017, Saturday, 1st Week of Advent
A SHEPHERD IS ONE WHO TEACHES AND HEALS

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ IS 30:19-21,23-26PS 147:1-6MT 9:35-10:1,5,6-8  ]

Like the Israelites in today’s first reading, we often feel abandoned and miserable.  We feel lost and disheartened because of our sufferings.  We feel that we are failures in life, like the Israelites when their crops were not growing and animals were dying because of drought.  Like those during the time of Jesus, many of us are carrying infirmities in our bodies.  We are sick because of illnesses, accidents, old age.  Some of us suffer mental and spiritual illnesses.   Most of all, many have no direction in life.  We do not know what we are living for and why we are living.  We are merely keeping ourselves alive, and pampering ourselves with some comforts and enjoyment.  But we have no direction and real purposed in life.  Life is merely a routine; work, eat, sleep and enjoy.

And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Jesus came as a shepherd to fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel when God lamented that His people were without a shepherd.  “So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the wild beasts.”  (Ez 34:5)  Jesus saw Himself as the Good Shepherd.  He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.”  (Jn 10:14f)

How is Jesus our Good Shepherd?  Firstly, He is our teacher who comes to show us the way.  “Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom.”  In order for us to understand the truth of life, we need to hear the teaching of our Lord. The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  He came to offer us the kingdom of God.  “He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer.  When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes.”   A teacher is one who leads by teaching and enlightening.  Jesus came to show us how through our suffering, we will come to understand the purpose of life.   Through “the bread of suffering and the water of distress”, we learn the hard way, the ways of God.  Indeed, for many of us, it is through our mistakes and the price we paid for them that we learn not to repeat them again.

The question for us is whether we are ready to listen to the words of the shepherd.  Jesus said, “To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (Jn 10:3-5)  Although we call ourselves Catholics, we take direction from the world instead of listening to the voice of the shepherd.  Many Catholics do not have a deep love and conviction of the Bible as the Word of God.  They only pay lip service because they make no reference to the Word of God in their thinking and decision-making.  How I wish I could say with St Paul to all Catholics, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”  (1 Th 2:13)  That is why we are exhorted to pay attention to the teachings of our Lord.  The prophet said, “Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it.’”  Jesus made it clear in yesterday’s gospel that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  (Mt 7:21)

Secondly, Jesus did not simply teach but He also healed and delivered the people from all kinds of bondages.  Teaching without the accompaniment of signs will not be convincing enough.  Jesus empowered the apostles to heal and to deliver the people from the bondages of the Evil One. “He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of disease and sickness. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.”  No matter how powerful and eloquent a sermon might be, without the concrete manifestation of God’s love and mercy, they merely remain inspiring words, but it will not change lives. We need the signs of God’s power at work in us through our healing miracles and works of charity if we are to convince those whom we reach out to that God’s love is real and that He is all powerful.    This explains why in the command to preach the gospel, the Lord also added, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  (Mk 16:17f)

The reason why today many of the institutionalized churches, including the Catholic Church, are not changing lives or moving people to come to God,  is because it is all talk but no action.  We preach nice homilies on God’s love and mercy.  We talk about them in our classes and courses.  We write beautiful articles on His unconditional love.  But unfortunately, we do not manifest the signs of God’s presence and love. In fact, our churches today have become so institutionalized that they operate more like a business enterprise.  Many Catholics lament that the Church is no longer functioning like a welcoming mother or a forgiving Father, but that it is businesslike, bureaucratic, uncaring, and legalistic, compared to other faith communities.  The priest is no longer seen as a shepherd but merely an administrator; not as a kind, loving and understanding Father but a regimental officer.   If we are not careful, the Church will lose its personal touch of the compassionate and loving Good Shepherd.

Thirdly, if people feel that there is a scarcity of shepherds, it is because many of us are not generous with what the Lord has blessed us with.  Jesus instructed the disciples, “You received without charge, give without charge.”  Many are also finding our churches to be calculative and demanding; we appear to only receive but do not give freely and generously to the people in return.  We have forgotten what the Lord has said.   We must not forget that all of us have been blessed by the Lord in so many ways.  If we are what we are today, then it is because of the Lord’s graciousness and kindness towards us.  If we remember that we have received freely, then we want to give back freely what we have received.

This mentality of receiving without giving is something that all must change, from the Church’s hierarchy to every member of the Church.  This is true not just in terms of financial contributions, but of rendering our services as well.  Many look to the Church as a dispensing machine; giving to all who come to ask.  Many know how to ask and demand for services, but they would not give a helping hand to the Church.  Hardly 15% of our Catholics are giving back to the Church or serving in ministries.  The few who are serving are helping out in a few ministries!  They are overworked and hardly have time to pray, much less be formed in the faith.  This explains why some come across as being un-Christian in the way they serve and are ineffective in service.  Then again, when we look to employing more workers to do the job, we find that we do not have the financial resources because people only give for the maintenance of the church; not for the evangelistic and missionary dimensions of the gospel.   So today, let us heed the Lord’s cry to reach out to the many who are looking for a true shepherd after the heart of Christ.  He said, “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.”  Let us pray that more generous Catholics will respond to the Lord’s call to be His messengers of peace, love and joy.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh

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http://www.catholic.org.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/

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Commentary on Matthew 9:35 -10:1,6-8 From Living Space

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The promises of the First Reading are shown being fulfilled in the person of Jesus in the Gospel. We can read it in three sections:

Jesus is shown constantly on the move, teaching in synagogues all over the region, proclaiming the Good News of God’s reign coming among them and bringing healing to all who are sick and diseased. Matthew does not use the title of Good Shepherd for Jesus but he does indicate the deep compassion of Jesus for all those are harassed and depressed, people with no direction in their lives, who are like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus is clearly the Shepherd who can lead them back to where they belong.

He then says to his disciples that there is a huge harvest waiting to be reaped. Up to this he has been working alone but he needs help, especially after he has gone. There are very few people available to work in the harvest field. He then calls the Twelve and hands on to them his own powers to liberate people from evil powers and to heal all kinds of sickness.

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The harvest is still great and the need for labourers is as great as ever. In asking the Lord to send labourers into the harvest, we have to ask ourselves what is the role of each one of us. It is not just a question of priests and religious. Jesus was not talking to priests and religious (there was no such thing at the time the gospels were written) but to every one of his followers – to every one of us who has been baptised. Every one of us is being called to be a harvester. Each one of us can reach a corner of the harvest field that is accessible to no one else. These include my family, my neighbours, my work colleagues and others who come into my life. I may be the only person who brings Jesus with his healing and compassion into their lives.

And what are we to do? Let people know that the Reign of God is very close, because God himself and Jesus are so close. Once we say Yes to God and his Son, they become part of our lives. And we are to do the same work he told his to do:

Heal the sick: by our sympathy and support, which can often do more than any medical treatment.

Raise the dead: perhaps not literally. But there are many who are intellectually, emotionally and socially dead. They are physically alive but they have stopped living meaningful lives. We can help them to find life again.

Cleanse the lepers: all those people who are on the fringes of society, whom we neglect, ignore, despise, reject, avoid. There are the dropouts, the drug addicts and alcoholics, the HIV/AIDS victims, the homeless, single mothers, ‘sex workers’… Let them know they are accepted and loved by God.

Cast out devils: help people liberate themselves from the demons of fear, anger, hatred, violence, from drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sexual abuse (themselves and others), greed for money…

There are so many people who need to hear and to experience the message of Christmas.

There are many, alas, for whom Christmas is Bad News, a time of misery, depression and loneliness. Let’s change that.

http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/a1017g/

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From 2015

Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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SCRIPTURE READINGS: ISAIAH 30:19-21,23-26MATTHEW 9:35-10:1,5,6-8

Some Catholics are confused whether the prosperity gospel as preached by some Christians is part of the Catholic Teaching and whether it is faithful to the Word of God.  The principle of the prosperity gospel seems to be quite sound on the surface, namely, the more you give to God, the more you receive.  There seems to be a basis in the gospel when Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”  (Lk 6:38)  St Paul wrote to the Corinthians expressing the same message, “The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”  (2 Cor 9:6)

Indeed, in today’s scripture readings, we are encouraged to have hope in the messianic blessings that God wants to give us as He promised the Israelites.  Prophet Isaiah consoled the people by assuring them that the God of Israel is a gracious God.  “Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:  People of Zion, you will live in Jerusalem and weep no more.  He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes.”  Indeed, God would provide the fodder for the animals, water for all and the crops.

These messianic blessings were renewed in the person of our Lord when He came to earth.  We read in the gospel, “Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.”  He came as the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah, as a Teacher.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  Prophet Isaiah said, “he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes.  Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it.’”   However, Jesus came not just as a teacher or a preacher only.  The preaching and teaching are but a prelude to the miracles of healing and exorcism.   He came as a healer to restore creation and a fallen and wounded humanity.   He was a shepherd to those who were lost, confused, downtrodden and in despair.  St Matthew noted, “And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.”

All those who are receptive of our Lord were healed and enlightened.  They were set free from their illnesses, fears, anxiety and slavery to their sins and addictions.  This is what the psalmist says, “Happy are all who hope in the Lord. He heals the broken-hearted, he binds up all their wounds. He fixes the number of the stars; he calls each one by its name. Our Lord is great and almighty; his wisdom can never be measured. The Lord raises the lowly; he humbles the wicked to the dust.”  Today, the Lord still heals us if we are available to Him for healing.  The Lord still shows us the way and enlightens us in the truth if we are docile to His Word.  Indeed, the Lord comes to us again and again through the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church in the college of bishops, the Word of God preached in the Eucharistic celebration and catechesis.  Most of all, when we spend time meditating and praying with the Word of God.  The Lord comes to us in a special way through the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, where we feel His closeness and presence; and in the sacrament of reconciliation where we are healed of our fears, brokenness, guilt and pain.  Finally, in the sacrament of anointing of the sick, the Lord continues His healing works through the priests.

So it is clear that the Lord wants to bless us.  But we cannot reduce the blessings of God to material blessings, not even of health and less still of money, power and status.  These worldly things do not necessarily bring us real happiness and therefore are not real blessings.  They are only means to greater blessings the Lord wants to bestow on us.  It is the blessing of a blessed life of joy, love and peace that the world cannot give.  We only need to look around those of us who have been blessed with material and worldly blessings.  Are they really happy, at peace with themselves, full of joy and love?  Many of us have quite good physical health but we are not happy, always discontented and full of anger, vindictiveness, greed and dishonesty.  Those of us who are rich have so many worries and fears and, most of all, temptations.  Finally, the powerful and influential are not so powerful after all, because they are always worried about public perception and security, and so they have no real freedom to do what they want.

If we want to enjoy the real blessings of God, then the gospel makes it clear, “You received without charge, give without charge.”  On this basis, Jesus, after giving the disciples “authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of disease and sickness”, sent them out instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.  And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.”   So the principle is clear, what we have received, we are called to give.   We are never called to give what we do not have.  We are only to give what we have been given!   St Paul again said, “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”  (2 Cor 9:7-10)  So we must never forget that if the Lord blesses us, it is in order that we can bless others even more.  So He gives us position, wealth, talents, health, time and resources, not for our selfish enjoyment and pleasure but so that we have the capacity to give on His behalf.  He does not expect us to give what we do not have.  But having received, to receive more, we need to give out what we have been given.  We must follow Jesus’ example, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”  (2 Cor 8:9)

By so doing, the blessings that we give out to others overflow back to us; and as a consequence, we become more and more blessed in return.  Isn’t this is what St Paul is saying, “ You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God.”  (2 Cor 9:11)   Concretely, it means that when we use our resources to share with others, we receive the righteousness of joy of sharing.  When we give to the poor and help them, whether financially or materially, we receive the joy and satisfaction of sharing their joy and happiness.  When we reach out to those who are sick and even if we are sick ourselves, we feel much consoled by them and learn compassion, empathy and mercy.   In the process of visiting and taking care of the sick, we learn to appreciate and not take our health for granted.  In the same vein, when we use our time for teaching the faith, counselling the troubled and those in distress, guiding the young, we grow in understanding of our own faith and begin to appreciate the sufferings of our fellowmen.  This again will make us more humane and not to complain too much about the sufferings we have because there is so much more sufferings that others have to go through.  When we see how well they cope with their sufferings, we cannot but find inspiration and be edified by them.  In a nutshell, by giving and serving, we receive much more than we give.   The rewards and joys of sharing our gifts and blessings cannot be compared to any earthly reward.

Indeed, let us see the big picture and acquire the heart of the Good Shepherd.  As He said, “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.”   If we want to receive the joy, peace and love of God during the season of Advent and Christmas, then be a blessing to others.  Be channels of His blessings to the poor, the lonely, the sick, the distressed and those without hope.  Give them love, joy and hope; and in turn you will receive much more than you give out.  This is the true meaning of prosperity gospel!   The blessings of righteousness cannot be compared to any earthly or worldly blessing.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh

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http://www.catholic.org.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/

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Australia expands cashless welfare card to tackle alcohol, drugs

September 1, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Kalgoorlie town in West Australia’s Goldfields region, where cashless welfare cards will next be rolled out after a pilot scheme showed a sharp drop in problem alcohol, drug and gambling abuse

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia will expand the roll-out of cashless welfare cards after a pilot scheme showed a sharp drop in problem alcohol, drug and gambling abuse, the country’s prime minister said Friday.

The government introduced the debit card — touted as a world-first — last year to two remote communities blighted by high levels of welfare dependence coupled with significant social issues fuelled by drink and drugs.

An independent study into its impact in East Kimberley and Ceduna — both home to large Aboriginal populations — showed a big drop in alcohol abuse and family violence.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it would now be rolled out into a third site — the Goldfields region in Western Australia.

“This is an exercise in practical love, in compassion, in ensuring the taxpayers’ dollars are not being spent on substance abuse and drugs leading to violence,” he told reporters.

“But above all, in ensuring that those families are spending their money where they should be spending it — on the food, clothing and necessities of life and making them better able to look after those kids.”

The card is designed to limit people’s access to cash, with 80 percent of a recipient’s welfare quarantined and not able to be used to buy alcohol or to gamble.

The other 20 percent is credited to their bank accounts and can be withdrawn as cash.

Turnbull said two-thirds of all domestic assaults in the Goldfields area, where the card will next be introduced, were fuelled by drink, while alcohol-related hospital admissions and death rates were 25 percent higher than the national average.

“Many stakeholders have indicated their desperation to address the very significant harm caused by welfare-fuelled alcohol abuse in the region,” he said, adding that it had broad support from community leaders.

“Some noted that children feel safer on the streets than in their homes.”

The Australian Greens are opposed to the card, calling it an “ideologically driven attempt to manage the money and hence lives of people living below or near the poverty line on income support”.

But Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten said he was open to the idea.

“We’ve got an open mind but the community has got to want to support it, there has got to be adequate support in the community,” he said.

“What I don’t want to see is genuine people who are down on their luck being treated with hard measures just to get a headline in the big cities.”

Singapore Jails Unruly, Drunk Australian for Six Months — Assaulted airport police officers while on a stopover in a nearly empty airport (but there’s more)

August 31, 2017

SINGAPORE — A Singapore court on Thursday sentenced an Australian man to 6-1/2 months in jail for assaulting airport police officers and other offences during a two-week drunken binge.

Handcuffed with his feet in chains, Jason Peter Darragh, 44, pled guilty in Singapore State Court to four charges, including one count of using criminal force.

The catalog of misdemeanors began on April 20 at Singapore’s Changi Airport when Darragh assaulted a policeman while on a stopover en route to Cebu, Philippines.

Image result for Jason Peter Darragh, photos

The next day, Darragh was charged for causing “annoyance” to a member of the public at the city-state’s party district and for using “abusive words” to a police officer.

He was finally charged on May 1 with “causing annoyance” to a woman by “loitering” around a taxi stand with his hand over his crotch.

Judge Tan Jen Tse said that he had to impose an “appropriate sentence to deter like-minded people from assaulting our police officers”.

Darragh was held in remand since May despite being offered bail of S$20,000 ($14,730). His lawyer, S.S. Dhillon said that he had refused bail to “reflect” on his actions.

He was originally charged with 11 offences in April, but the court only proceeded with four, although the others were taken into account during sentencing.

The charges he pled guilty to include physically and verbally abusing police officers and “causing annoyance” in a public place while drunk.

His lawyer told the court that the defendant was depressed and turned to alcohol after separating with his wife and two children.

Darragh’s parents had flown from Perth to attend the hearing and were able to speak with him through a window in the court. They declined to comment outside the court.

($1 = 1.3579 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Opioid addiction: Doctor-shopping accounts for increased prescriptions and risk

August 6, 2017

By Julie Power
Sydney Morning Herald

August 6, 2017

To satisfy her dependence on prescription opioids, Christine Drinnan visited 10 doctors in the last few months of her life, six in the 10 days immediately preceding her death from painkillers taken by millions of Australians every year.

In and out of rehabilitation over the years, Ms Drinnan had been admitted to hospital 15 times for overdoses caused by her addiction to these drugs, including three times in the months before her death.

Despite her growing opioid tolerance – the need to take higher and higher dosages of drugs to achieve the same opioid effect – doctors kept prescribing more, and in stronger doses.

Most were ignorant of her full history, including problems with alcohol, depression and memory. These doctors failed to call other medical professionals who she had seen, or ask sufficient questions about claims that she had lost scripts or had a painful, sore neck, found the coroner’s report.

This is an extreme example of the doctor shopping that experts want to prevent as Australia’s reliance on opioids has reached record levels.

Nearly three million people were prescribed at least one opioid listed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the 12 months to March 2014, the most recent figures available, with oxycodone growing in popularity. Of these people, about 5 per cent (152, 847) accounted for 61 per cent of all opioid consumption.

Doctor shoppers are few in number, says Suzanne Nielsen from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, but very likely represent the “tip of the iceberg”.

Often they are complicated by mental health issues, depression and high rates of suicide, said Dr Nielsen, a senior research fellow and a pharmacist, meaning there was not an easy and straightforward solution to the problem, she said.

About 14 million prescriptions are dispensed every year for opioids, a four-fold increase since 1999.

With accidental overdoses from prescription opioids representing 70 per cent of overdoses, the Minister for Health Greg Hunt said it was time to take a real stand.

He promised to introduce a $16 millon national real-time monitoring system that would raise an instant alert when someone went doctor shopping. It is not clear how this will fit with a similar proposal from Victoria, but Mr Hunt said it would work across borders.

“Many people will use prescription drugs and in some cases they will develop an addiction. That will be an accidental process,” he said.

“And if you think of them as the very strong prescription drugs such as morphine or oxycodone or fentanyl, we know that there have been approximately 600 deaths a year. So it’s about addicts. It’s also about those who are accidently caught up and those who are involved in prescription-shopping. ”

The AMA, the College of GPs and other health professionals had support an alert system for some time, he said.

It would allow pharmacists and doctors to identify “whether or not somebody has been shopping for prescription drugs, which are of the strongest variety which can then be hoarded, either sold or, in cases, used for improper purposes”, said the Minister.

Ms Drinnan’s case is not new. She died sometime between April 29 to April 30, 2010, and the report was issued by the Coroners Court in late 2015.

While her case was extreme, seven years later it is not uncommon, said John Ryan, the CEO of the Penington Institute which releases an annual overdose report.

“There are a lot of people who are dependent on pharmaceutical drugs and address this need by doctor shopping. This is an extreme case with the worst outcome, death through overdose, ” he said.

Mr Ryan said more services are needed to treat people with these problems, and supervised treatment needs to made more affordable.

“It is currently more expensive to be on supervised treatment than doctor shopping [and get opioids on the PBS],” he said.

He warned that in some US states, alert systems had forced people dependent on prescription drugs to buy illegal drugs on the street.

Like Mr Ryan, the CEO of PainAustralia Carol Moore believes the proposed system should be accompanied by improved education about the risks of opioids, and more pain management centres where they are needed.

“Putting an end to doctor-shopping for people addicted to prescription medication will save lives,” she said. But it was equally important that people with legitimate need have access best-practice pain management.

Ms Drinnan’s case illustrated the impact of her addiction on her two children. Her then 15-year-old son tried to alert the medical profession of his mother’s problems, and when he said his mother’s driving under the influence was dangerous, a doctor actively helped his mother keep her licence.

“Her son’s efforts to communicate with his mother’s doctors and pharmacists, to understand what medications and why she had been prescribed them were met with frustration and the common attitude that the mother’s privacy prevailed over her and the family’s safety,” the deputy state coroner Magistrate C Forbes wrote.

Magistrate Forbes said the number of prescriptions written was “alarming”, especially considering there was “no indication that Ms Drinnan had a medical condition that warranted the opioids”.

In the last three weeks of Ms Drinnan’s life, just one of the many doctors she saw wrote

  • six scripts for morphine, oral Ordine, which was found open on the dead woman’s bedside table
  • three scripts for pethidine for pain, which experts told the court was a dangerously addictive drug which had no advantages over other opioids and had been removed from national health schemes years years earlier
  • seven for oxycodone, totalling 140 tablets in eight days; and
  • five for diazepam (Valium).

The court also heard Ms Drinnan often mixed these drugs with alcohol, consuming a bottle of vodka daily.

Many people don't know how to recognise the signs of an overdoseMany people don’t know how to recognise the signs of an overdose. Photo: Penington Institute

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/opioid-addiction-doctorshopping-accounts-for-increased-prescriptions-and-risk-20170804-gxpboi.html

Why Do Alcoholics and Addicts Relapse So Often? Brain chemistry plays a major role. But there are many things we can do….

April 30, 2017

Brain chemistry plays a major role.

By Ruben Castaneda, Staff Writer | April 24, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.

Picture of depressed man

(Getty Images)

Spending most of your time with positive people and joining a 12-step support group can help prevent you from relapsing. (GETTY IMAGES)

 http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

Why do so many alcoholics and addicts in recovery relapse, knowing it could cost them their relationships, their freedom, their careers and even their lives?

Relapse is common, and it doesn’t discriminate. Between 40 to 60 percent of people who’ve been treated for addiction or alcoholism relapse within a year, according to a 2014 study in JAMA. While relapse is most common during the first year of recovery, people with years of sobriety can resume self-destructive drug use or drinking. For example, in 2014, Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead with a syringe in his arm in his New York apartment. Hoffman, 46, died of acute mixed drug intoxication after injecting himself with a concoction of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and benzodiazepines, authorities said. The previous year, the actor told TMZ he’d been sober for 23 years but had relapsed.

Inexplicable Recklessness

To many non-addicts, it’s puzzling why people with substance use disorders would recklessly risk their lives to get high. Brain chemistry helps explain such behavior. Using drugs and alcohol releases dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain; dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, as well as emotional responses. “This can affect alcoholics and addicts to the point their brains re-prioritize what’s most important, such as eating and survival,” says Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation based in Center City, Minnesota.

“The drug use becomes recognized [by the brain] as more important than survival itself,” Seppala says. “It’s almost unfathomable that the survival instinct could be superseded by something else. Trying to understand what that looks like is hard. People will risk their lives to keep using drugs.” Addiction also erodes the addict’s or alcoholic’s prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved with recognizing problems and planning solutions, Seppala says.

These factors help explain why some addicts are not only undeterred by the possibility of overdosing fatally, but they’re drawn to it, Seppala says. In the last year or so, Minnesota has experienced a rash of fatal opioid overdoses, which were covered in the local press. The news didn’t scare addicts. “Our opioid-dependent folks would say, ‘Give me some of that,’ ” he says. “They don’t think, ‘I might die.’ They think, “I might get high!’” About a dozen people who had been participating in the Hazelden Betty Ford outpatient program dropped out, and Seppala believes they quit the program to use whatever deadly opioids were hitting Minnesota streets.

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Incurable Diseases

Addiction and alcoholism are chronic and incurable, and arresting the diseases takes hard work. No one can simply take medication and be “cured.” Once an alcoholic or addict gets clean for a while, whether by spending time in treatment, attending 12-step support group meetings or some combination of the two, staying sober is challenging. Prescription medication such as naltrexone and Vivitrol, medications known as opioid “antagonists” because they block the effects of those drugs, can help some opioid users break their addiction. And some heroin users stop using that drug with the help of methadone, which can ease the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiates. In the long run, people with a substance use disorder must change their behavior to stay clean, much the way diabetics have to be mindful of their sugar intake.

 http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

Addicts and alcoholics need to stay away from people and situations that could prompt them to drink or use drugs again, and to refrain from reaching for a mood-changing substance to cope with stress, as people with substance use disorders typically do. “Humans have a host of self-destructive behaviors; we do it with food, with lack of exercise, with smoking,” says Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, professor and associate chief of general internal medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montfiore Health System in New York City. “How many of us haven’t resumed behaviors we pledged to stop? Changing your behavior is hard.”

While relapse is common for addicts and alcoholics in recovery – and potentially devastating – it’s not inevitable. Clinicians suggest these strategies to avoid relapse or mitigate its effects:

1. Join a 12-step support group. Participating in a support program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous provides a foundation that helps people remain abstinent from drinking and drug use, says Seppala, who’s been sober from drugs and alcohol for 41 years. While both programs refer to belief in a “higher power,” support group meetings for agnostics and atheists are available in many areas. Another option is Smart Recovery, a program that emphasizes scientific knowledge of addiction and provides tools to cope with urges to drink or use drugs and to manage feelings.

2. Surround yourself with positive people. If you stop drinking or using drugs but continue to hang out with drinkers and drug users, chances are you’ll relapse. “Sobriety works best when a person can surround themselves with other sober people who are working toward a better life,” says Lisa Boucher, a registered nurse in Dayton, Ohio and author of “Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture.” Those people can be sober friends from support group meetings.

3. Mind your HALT. This acronym, well-known in the recovery community, means people should not get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired, any of which can lead to a relapse, says Elizabeth Chance, a certified recovery specialist in Wayne, Pennsylvania, who works with addicts and their families.

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What’s the Best Diet for Newly Sober Alcoholics and Addicts?

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4. Learn new ways to cope. Some people in recovery experience a “pink cloud” during the first weeks or months of abstinence, a euphoric feeling of well-being. That wears off, and the addict or alcoholic in recovery must do the hard work of learning how to deal with life’s ups and downs without reaching for a drink or drugs. “It’s important to learn new coping skills to deal with stressful situations,” says Elissa Chesler, an assistant professor at The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit research institution focused on increasing the understanding of human disease, including addiction.

5. Remain vigilant. “Remember that time [in sobriety] doesn’t exempt you from relapse,” says Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychotherapist who practices in the District of Columbia and Bethesda, Maryland. “Anyone can relapse at any point in time. If a relapse occurs after a long period of sobriety, you will not pick up where you left off. The disease of addiction progresses even while you are sober in recovery, so you will pick up where you would be in your disease if you had never stopped.”

 http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

6. If you relapse, reach out. People who’ve been sober for weeks, months or years typically feel devastated and humiliated if they relapse or slip. Rather than self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, they should reach out to someone in their network and go to a support meeting and talk about what happened, says Dr. Joseph Garbely, medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, which has facilities in Pennsylvania and Florida. “Relapse is common,” he says. “Isolating will only make a relapse or slip worse.” If you relapse, remember that the regimen that got you sober, including support group meetings and a sober network, will work again, says Anne Lewis, a licensed addictions counselor with Indiana University Health. “With more repetition, you’re much more likely to have success long term.”

14 Ways Alcohol Affects the Aging Process

Composite of people drinking various alcoholic drinks.

(Getty Images)

Moderation is key.

No doubt about it – a lifetime of hard drinking takes a toll. Liver damage, dementia and skin aging are all more likely with long-term alcohol abuse. For seniors who are lighter drinkers, though, the message is mixed. Alcohol tolerance is lower, and hangovers last longer with age. Drinking can worsen forgetfulness. But the news isn’t all bad, and drinking in moderation may even have some health benefits for seniors. See the different ways drinking affects healthy aging.

Hits harder with age

Woman watching clock.

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Hits harder with age

Tolerance for alcohol can decline over time, possibly due to changes in body composition, says Robert Pandina, a professor with and former director of the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies. Hormonal changes appear to increase alcohol sensitivity among women and men alike. As you age, the proportion of fat to muscle tends to increase, even if your weight remains stable, he says. So you develop a higher blood alcohol content even if you drink the same amount you used to. Reaction times and motor ability tend to slow with age – and drinking reduces these abilities further.

More isn’t merrier.

Alcoholic drinks on a bar counter, ranging from a shot, brandy, cocktail, beer and wine.

(Getty Images)

More isn’t merrier.

Light to moderate drinking may have health benefits. But people often underestimate how much they drink, Pandina says. For standard servings, a single drink equals the following: one 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer or wine cooler; one 5-ounce glass of wine; and one 1.5-ounce shot glass of liquor at 80 proof or less. According to the National Institute on Aging, a healthy person age 65 or older should drink no more than seven alcoholic drinks in a week, or three drinks in any given day.

Sets you up for a fall

Stock image of a man passed out drunk wearing an American flag.

(Getty Images)

Sets you up for a fall

Intoxication increases the risk of accidents, including falls, fractures and car crashes at any age. But balance and stability pose more of a challenge as people age. Older adults are more likely to suffer falls, with worse injuries – like hip fractures – and longer recovery periods. Alcohol ramps up the risk even more, as it slows the brain’s activity. Alertness, coordination, judgement and reaction time all decrease with drinking.

Shows up in your skin

Composite of a man and woman aging.

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Shows up in your skin

Alcohol accelerates skin aging, says Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. Wrinkles, puffiness, dryness, red cheeks and purple capillaries – heavy drinking can add years to your face. Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, and that includes your skin. Jaundice, when the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow, is one sign of alcoholic liver disease.

May help your heart

Red Wine Pour

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May help your heart

Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant which may increase good HDL cholesterol and protect arteries from damage. Some research suggests that light to moderate drinking, regardless of the type of alcohol, may reduce heart disease risk compared to abstaining. However, if you don’t drink, experts say it’s not worth starting simply for the sake of potential and unproven benefits. Too much alcohol raises the risk for abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure.

Puts strain on your liver

A man talks to a doctor while holding his stomach.

(Getty Images)

Puts strain on your liver

Heavy drinking is a risk factor for disease such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Even moderate drinking can affect liver function. The relationship works both ways: Because the aging liver can’t break down, or metabolize, alcohol as quickly, it stays in your system longer. While moderate drinking may have benefits for the heart, that’s not the case for your liver, Milner says. “Liver function is one of those things that impacts the way we age,” he says. “That drink a day impacts your liver.”

Makes medical conditions worse

A doctor checks a patient's blood pressure.

(iStockPhoto)

Makes medical conditions worse

Chronic conditions that tend to develop with age can be complicated by alcohol. According to the American Diabetes Association, alcohol can cause dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, up to 24 hours after drinking. Alcohol may interfere with healthy eating for people with diabetes. Drinking can raise blood pressure in the short term, while repeated alcohol binges contribute to hypertension. Heavy drinking is thought to increase the risk of ulcers and keep existing ulcers from healing.

Interacts with medications

White pills on a wood counter.

(iStockPhoto)

Interacts with medications

Older people are likely to take more medicine, so it’s important to know how alcohol interferes with prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Mixing alcohol with medication can either reduce or intensify drugs’ intended effects. Some medications already contain alcohol. Liver function can decrease with age, reducing the body’s ability to break down and get rid of medication. Adding alcohol, which also affects the liver, can increase the risk of drug side effects.

Heavy drinking shrinks brain volume.

Part of MRI scan emulsion ready for examination.

(iStockPhoto)

Heavy drinking shrinks brain volume.

A history of hard drinking and alcohol abuse may boost your risk for dementia. Heavy, long-term drinking speeds up shrinkage of the brain, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. This loss of brain volume is a key factor in the decline of memory and cognitive ability sometimes seen in aging. A condition known as alcoholic dementia leads to mental confusion, agitation and lack of muscle coordination.

Influences mood

Picture of depressed man

(Getty Images)

Influences mood

It’s true: A drink or two can help you relax. Alcohol has anti-anxiety and anti-stress properties, Pandina says. Given a choice, he says, drinking in moderation may be preferable to taking anti-anxiety medications. “I’m not a champion of daily drinking, or any drinking for that matter,” he emphasizes, adding that while it’s hard to generalize, “whenever you put a drug into your body, whether it’s alcohol or medication or any such substance, you are putting something into your body that doesn’t belong there.” Alcohol is a depressant, so too much drinking darkens mood.

Disrupts sleep

A senior man drinks alcohol in the dark.

(Getty Images)

Disrupts sleep

A nightcap can actually keep you up at night. Some seniors may think alcohol helps them sleep, Milner says, but it may do the opposite, especially if they have a drink just before bedtime. Many older people have habits that negatively affect sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Napping frequently during the day, exercising less and spending less time outdoors can affect sleep cycles, the NIH says. And drinking alcohol (and caffeine) worsens insomnia by keeping seniors from falling asleep or staying asleep.

Dehydrates your body

A man leans against a fridge and takes a pill with a glass of water.

(Getty Images)

Dehydrates your body

Alcohol is a diuretic – that’s why drinking makes you urinate more. So you need to drink more water to replenish your system. The problem is that the body’s ability to sense thirst and conserve water decreases over the years, making it easier to become dangerously dehydrated. As you age, your body is less able to respond to changes in the weather, like a heat wave. In seniors, signs of dehydration include confusion, incoherence, constipation and falls.

Dominates your social life

Senior woman with glass of wine.

(Getty Images)

Dominates your social life

Retirement brings a lot more time to drink, and social life often centers on alcohol. “One of the growing problems, which is not often discussed in the United States, is with retirees who move to retirement communities or other locations where cocktail hour begins early and often,” Pandina says. “And they drink at a much higher level than even they believe that they’re drinking.”

Drains your wallet

A man holds open an empty wallet.

(Getty Images)

Drains your wallet

Don’t underestimate the monetary cost of alcohol multiplied by days and years. Liquor store spending and bar tabs add up for seniors with fixed incomes on a tight budget. By sometimes switching to nonalcoholic drinks like club soda, ginger ale and water, you can save money at the bar, socialize longer and feel better.

Read More

http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

Tags: addiction, alcohol, drug abuse, drugs, opioids

Ruben Castaneda STAFF WRITER

Ruben Castaneda is a Health & Wellness reporter at U.S. News. He previously covered the crime beat in Washington, D.C. and state and federal courts in suburban Maryland, and he’s the author of the book “S Street Rising: Crack, Murder and Redemption in D.C.” You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him at LinkedIn or email him at rcastaneda@usnews.com.

http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

New Year’s Eve: Booze-fuelled mayhem on the streets of Britain

January 2, 2017

No automatic alt text available.

  • It was a wild night of celebrations and booze-fuelled mayhem on the streets of Britain last night
  • For many, name of the game was to drink to the point of oblivion with dozens of partygoers unable to stand
  • Some celebrations turned ugly with people seen fighting on the soggy streets of Manchester and Swansea  

It was a wild night of celebrations and booze-fuelled mayhem on the streets of Britain last night as revellers welcomed in 2017 – and no one was wrapping up warm.

Millions of raucous party-goers packed out pubs and clubs, with some braving the freezing temperatures in skimpy dresses.

However, as Britons waved goodbye to 2016, there were some unsavoury scenes with fights breaking out in Swansea and Manchester.

In one particularly unsightly incident, a flabby shirtless man was seen repeatedly kicking another lying in a gutter in Manchester, as the New Year celebrations turned ugly.

Celebrations turned ugly in Manchester as a flabby shirtless man kicks out at another man lying on the ground 

Celebrations turned ugly in Manchester as a flabby shirtless man kicks out at another man lying on the ground

A tattooed man in a white T shirt bats off a woman in King Street, in Manchester, as the celebrations turned violent 

A tattooed man in a white T shirt bats off a woman in King Street, in Manchester, as the celebrations turned violent

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A girl in a red dress in Nottingham reveals more than she intended during the raucous celebrations across the country

Two revellers enjoy the celebrations in Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, as part of the city's Hogmanay celebrations

Two revellers enjoy the celebrations in Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, as part of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations

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One man was seen lying in a heap of rubbish bags with filthy trousers in London during the booze-fuelled celebrations

The heavy rain and strong winds did not deter this reveller in Newcastle

A woman celebrated in a mini skirt despite the heavy rain

The heavy rain and chilly conditions could not put off these two women hitting the town in Newcastle

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A man and woman brawl outside a fast food restaurant in Nottingham as the New Year celebrations turned ugly 

The woman landed a blow in the man's face as he tried to escape her clutches during the booze-fuelled evening yesterday

The woman landed a blow in the man’s face as he tried to escape her clutches during the booze-fuelled evening yesterday

A man in Bristol stands against a lamppost as some celebrated the New Year with a little too much gusto 

A man in Bristol stands against a lamppost as some celebrated the New Year with a little too much gusto

The same man is helped by his friend after a heavy night drinking in Bristol to usher in the beginning of 2017 

The same man is helped by his friend after a heavy night drinking in Bristol to usher in the beginning of 2017

A couple were also seen fighting outside a chip shop in Nottingham, while police restrained a bespectacled man in Swansea’s Wind Street.

For many, the name of the game was to drink to the point of oblivion, with one girl seen vomiting on the streets of Nottingham.

Dozens of partygoers, some unable to stand or speak, had to helped home by their friends as they tottered on their heels on the sodden streets.

One reveller was three inches away from being castrated when he was impaled on an iron spike after trying to clamber over a metal fence in Wainscott, Kent, at 4am today.

Fire crew had to used a ladder to help him support himself as they cut through the railing with a saw to rescue him.

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘He was in a lot of pain and the railing spike had gone through his left thigh.

‘He was conscious throughout and we cut the spike with a special bladed saw and about three or four inches was left in his leg.

‘It took about 45 minutes to free him and then we removed the ladders and helped him into the ambulance and he was taken to Accident and Emergency at Medway Maritime Hospital.’

Revellers wore their party outfits despite the torrential downpours in Newcastle last night

Revellers wore their party outfits despite the torrential downpours in Newcastle last night

Revellers wore their best party outfits despite the torrential downpours in Newcastle last night

A woman wards off the advances of a man, while trying to protect her hair from the rain in Newcastle

A woman wards off the advances of a man, while trying to protect her hair from the rain in Newcastle

In a tragic incident in Birmingham, a 43-year-old man was killed when he was struck by a car on Wolverhampton Road just before 8pm on New Year’s Eve.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but the man, who is from the local area, was pronounced dead.

A 46-year-old woman driver involved in the collision stopped nearby and was spoken to by officers. West Midlands Police confirmed she is continuing to assist investigators.

A man comes to the aid of a blonde woman slumped on the ground in Newcastle as Britons welcomed in the New Year

A man comes to the aid of a blonde woman slumped on the ground in Newcastle as Britons welcomed in the New Year

A reveller gives a helping hand to a female companion during the wild New Year celebrations in central London

A reveller gives a helping hand to a female companion during the wild New Year celebrations in central London

A party-goer flashes her breast in Sheffield as millions of Britons brought in the New Year by drinking to excess

A party-goer flashes her breast in Sheffield as millions of Britons brought in the New Year by drinking to excess

Earlier in the evening, one million revellers lined the streets of London to watch the spectacular fireworks display and celebrate the arrival of 2017.

A total of 12,000 fireworks painted the night sky of London during the Mayor’s showcase display on the banks of the River Thames.

Some of the stars the world lost in 2016 were honoured during the 12-minute spectacle, as Bowie, Prince and the Two Ronnies, which included the late Ronnie Corbett, featured in the soundtrack.

People gathered by London’s famous landmarks, including Big Ben and the London Eye, to watch the fireworks light up the sky.

A couple cuddle in Leeds as a younger group make their way down the road as Britons ushered in 2017 

A couple cuddle in Leeds as a younger group make their way down the road as Britons ushered in 2017

A friend is comforted by two companions at the end of the night in Sheffield as Britons brought in 2017 in typical fashion

A friend is comforted by two companions at the end of the night in Sheffield as Britons brought in 2017 in typical fashion

A party-goer in Bristol takes an early nap after a heavy night celebrating the beginning of 2017 in the city 

A party-goer in Bristol takes an early nap after a heavy night celebrating the beginning of 2017 in the city

A police officer ejects a reveller from a taxi after he attempted to skip the queue on one of the busiest nights of the year

A police officer ejects a reveller from a taxi after he attempted to skip the queue on one of the busiest nights of the year

Two girls in Newcastle brave the rain

Two girls in Newcastle brave the rain

Two sets of girls in Newcastle brave the rain and sodden pavements as they celebrated the start of 2017

In London, 3,000 police officers patrol the streets with guns and sniffer dogs as security was beefed up.

The increased security efforts came after ISIS warned of further attacks and threatened ‘to make New Year mayhem’ in recent propaganda.

Scotland Yard said there had been 35 arrests made by officers for New Year’s Eve offences, including GBH, drugs offences and sexual offences.

Edinburgh led the country’s Hogmanay celebrations, with 80,000 people attending the world-famous street party and fireworks. Revellers were allowed back on to Calton Hill this year after a ban over safety fears was lifted.

A woman attends to her friend in Sheffield as the drunken celebrations left many worse for wear 

A woman attends to her friend in Sheffield as the drunken celebrations left many worse for wear

Two women used plastic bags to protect their hair as they headed for a night on the town in Swansea

Two women used plastic bags to protect their hair as they headed for a night on the town in Swansea

A woman in Birmingham heads out in a mini skirt despite the chilly conditions and heavy downpours 

A woman in Birmingham heads out in a mini skirt despite the chilly conditions and heavy downpours

A woman gave her friend a welcome break from her high heels by offering her a piggy back in Birmingham 

A woman gave her friend a welcome break from her high heels by offering her a piggy back in Birmingham

A woman in a sparkly dress tucks into her takeaway meal at the end of the boozy evening in Birmingham 

Two men were seen lying slumped on the ground in Albert Embankment, central London, as the excitement proved too much

Two men were seen lying slumped on the ground in Albert Embankment, central London, as the excitement proved too much

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A young woman dressed in a policeman's hat while out celebrating New Year in Aberystwyth, in Wales

A young woman dressed in a policeman’s hat while out celebrating New Year in Aberystwyth, in Wales

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A couple share a New Year's kiss

A couple share a New Year's kiss

Two couples share a kiss during the raucous and alcohol-fuelled New Year celebrations across Britain

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A girl walks barefoot through the streets of Bristol after bringing in the New Year in the West Country 

A girl walks barefoot through the streets of Bristol after bringing in the New Year in the West Country

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A girl is comforted by a male companion after leaving a nightclub in Sheffield, where bottles of booze were seen on the street

A girl is comforted by a male companion after leaving a nightclub in Sheffield, where bottles of booze were seen on the street

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A woman is helped to her feet by two male friends after crashing to the ground during the New Year party in Birmingham

A woman is helped to her feet by two male friends after crashing to the ground during the New Year party in Birmingham

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A woman sits on the pavement to check her phone after braving the blustery conditions in Newcastle last night

A woman sits on the pavement to check her phone after braving the blustery conditions in Newcastle last night

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A girl chats on the phone as she takes some time out from the New Year's Eve celebrations in Newcastle last night

A girl chats on the phone as she takes some time out from the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Newcastle last night

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Three women shield their hair during a rain-soaked New Year's Eve celebrations in Newcastle 

A man helps an intoxicated reveller in central London as millions of Britons celebrated the end of 2016 

Two men come to blows in the heavy rain in Manchester as a distressed woman tries to break them apart 

The scenes of revelry were replicated around the world.

The people of Sydney were treated to a glittering display over their famed harbor and bridge that honored the singer David Bowie and actor Gene Wilder, who both passed away in 2016.

The tone was more somber elsewhere, though, including Berlin, where some expressed worry about the political mood in Germany. It was also relatively quiet in China’s two largest cities, Beijing and Shanghai.

In New York City, meanwhile, people packed into Times Square hours before midnight to secure coveted spots to watch the annual ball drop.

A man with glasses is restrained by bouncers and police outside a club on Wind Street, in Swansea

A reveller in Sheffield is helped home by two friends after enjoying one drink too many during last year's celebrations

A reveller in Sheffield is helped home by two friends after enjoying one drink too many during last year’s celebrations

A woman sitting at a bus stop devours her takeaway meal after enjoying a night out in Bristol to celebrate New Year

A woman sitting at a bus stop devours her takeaway meal after enjoying a night out in Bristol to celebrate New Year

Fireworks explode around The Elizabeth Tower, also known as 'Big Ben', and the London Eye during New Year's celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2017

Fireworks explode around The Elizabeth Tower, also known as ‘Big Ben’, and the London Eye during New Year’s celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2017

Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations on the stroke of midnight

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4079616/Some-people-won-t-having-happy-new-year-Carnage-streets-Britain-revellers-2017-boozy-night-no-one-s-wrapping-warm.html#ixzz4UbI0bT5k
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Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) Braces For Riotous New Years Eve Bing Drinking in UK (Britain has one of the worst records for binge drinking with drug taking and sexually transmitted diseases adding to medical problems)

December 31, 2016

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‘Selfish’ partygoers getting ‘blotto’ are putting intolerable strain on NHS, says its boss

.A drunk woman lie on a bench in the street 

National Hangover Service: International research found Britain has one of the worst records for binge drinking CREDIT: GETTY

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The NHS is being put under intolerable strain by “selfish” partygoers getting “blotto”, the head of the health service has warned.

Simon Stevens said the NHS was being treated as the “National Hangover Service” as international research found Britain has one of the worst records for binge drinking, drug taking and sexually transmitted diseases.

The NHS chief executive said services already under heavy pressure were being compromised by those hell bent on hard living.

At a time of year when hospitals are always under pressure, it’s really selfish to get so blotto that you end up in an ambulance or an A&ESimon Stevens, NHS chief executive

He issued the warning as casualty staff and ambulance crews were braced for New Year’s carnage, with drink-related admissions to hospitals expected to double tomorrow.

Figures comparing 26 countries show British girls are among the most likely to have been repeatedly drunk by the age of 15, with only Denmark and Hungary faring worse.

The UK is also the worst country in the West for cocaine usage, with the highest levels of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) the figures from the OECD show.

Last night Mr Stevens said the self-centred antics of party goers were diverting healthcare staff from those in need of urgent attention.

Simon Stevens 
Simon Stevens said the NHS was being used as a national hangover service  CREDIT: PA 

“At a time of year when hospitals are always under pressure caring for a spike in winter emergencies, it’s really selfish to get so blotto that you end up in an ambulance or an A&E,” he said.

“More than a third of A&E attendances at peak times are caused by drunkenness – casualty nurses and doctors are understandably frustrated about the NHS being used as a national hangover service,” he added.

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Underage drinking is not only bad for the health of young people but it can leave them vulnerable and at risk from all sorts of harm.Joanna Simons, chief executive of Alcohol Concern.
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The NHS chief executive said the behaviour of binge-drinkers during the festive season was placing strain on health service resources.

“In our towns and cities this Christmas and New Year, the paramedic called to a drunk partygoer passed out on the pavement is an ambulance crew obviously not then available for a genuine medical emergency,” he said.

The figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development paint a picture of party lifestyles, hedonism and promiscuity.

British girls had one of the worst records for drunkenness, with significantly more binge drinking than boys of the same age.

In total, 33 per cent of British girls aged 15 have been drunk at least twice, compared with an OECD average of 24 per cent. Among boys the figure was 28 per cent, one percentage point higher than the average.

Separate analysis of NHS data by healthcare analysts Dr Foster shows that drink-related admissions for acute intoxication peak on New Year’s Day – with 2.6 times as many cases as on the average day.

The OECD figures show UK has the highest of all cocaine use among those aged between 15 and 34.

In total, 4.2 per cent of such adults have taken the drug in the UK – more than twice the 1.9 per cent average.

The number of Britons taking the drug has increased since the last time the international research was done in 2013, when Britain was second worst in the league tables for cocaine, with 3.3 per cent of young adults now using it.

Britain has the third highest rates of Ecstasy use, with 3.5 per cent of those aged between 15 and 34 taking the drug in the previous year, compared with an OECD average of 1.7 per cent.

The UK figure is a sharp rise from the 2.4 per cent recorded in 2013.

And Britain’s STD rates are among the worst in the western world. The UK has the highest rates of gonorrhoea – 59.7 cases per 100,000 people compared with an OECD average of 20 per 100,000, and is in the worst six for chlamydia and syphilis.

Experts are particularly concerned about the rates of chlamydia – 367 cases per 100,000 people, compared with OECD average of 187 per 100,000 – as the disease can threaten future fertility.

Meanwhile, rates of syphilis at 7.2 per 100,000 compared with an OECD average of 5.1 per 100,000.

Mr Stevens said too many young people were ignoring such risks.

“In your 20s you feel immortal, but that doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Young free and single is great, but infections are on the rise, so the NHS advice is ‘open your eyes to STIs,” he said.

Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine welcomed the intervention by Mr Stevens, and urged those enjoying a night out to take more responsibility.

“Emergency departments in this country are facing enormous pressures with the workload that we have, so the fact that we end up end up with unfortunate patients who have decided to become intoxicated to extremes and burden the NHS with even more work is very regrettable,” he said.

“We all want people to enjoy themselves but they do have to take responsibility.”

Joanna Simons, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, called for stronger measures to tackle problem drinking.

“Underage drinking is not only bad for the health of young people but it can leave them vulnerable and at risk from all sorts of harm.

“To get to grips with these issues we need the Government to get tough on alcohol sponsorship and introduce a minimum unit price, a targeted measure designed to protect the youngest and most vulnerable drinkers,” she said.

Watch | The NHS by numbers

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/30/selfish-partygoers-getting-blotto-putting-intolerable-strain/

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Bust up: A man with a bloody nose tussles with police outside a take-away shop in Birmingham late on New Year's Eve

Police detained one reveller whose trousers were falling down

Losing it: Another man was seen being helped away by friends (left), while police detained one reveller whose trousers were falling down (right)

Winding down: Towards the end of the night a number of revellers in Birmingham took a seat outside one of the city's popular night spots

Winding down: Towards the end of the night a number of revellers in Birmingham took a seat outside one of the city’s popular night spots

Taking a tumble: A woman holds out a hand to be helped back up after falling over in Newcastle

Taking a tumble: A woman holds out a hand to be helped back up after falling over in Newcastle

West Midlands Ambulance Service, which put a record number of crews on duty, dealt with 1,629 emergency call-outs between 8pm on New Year’s Eve and 4am on New Year’s Day.

Racy: A woman crosses the road wearing a skimpy outfit on Birmingham's Broad Street

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*A woman in Liverpool

Racy: A woman crosses the road wearing a skimpy outfit on Birmingham’s Broad Street, left. Right, a woman in Liverpool

New Year excess: In the Welsh town of Aberystwyth one woman was seen rolling around in the street as she welcomed the arrival of 2016

New Year excess: In the Welsh town of Aberystwyth one woman was seen rolling around in the street as she welcomed the arrival of 2016