An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalizingly Close

By Douglas Quenqua

Addiction VaccineSAN DIEGO — Imagine a vaccine against smoking: People trying to quit would light up a cigarette and feel nothing. Or a vaccine against cocaine, one that would prevent addicts from enjoying the drug’s high.

Though neither is imminent, both are on the drawing board, as are vaccines to combat other addictions. While scientists have historically focused their vaccination efforts on diseases like polio, smallpox and diphtheria — with great success — they are now at work on shots that could one day release people from the grip of substance abuse.

“We view this as an alternative or better way for some people,” said Dr. Kim D. Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute who has made this his life’s work. “Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”

Full story at New York Times

The Global Pain of Alcoholism

By Carole Bennett

alcoholismThrough the blogs I write about addiction and recovery I am fortunate to find many clients from all walks of life, all over the world. I encourage my clients to keep an ongoing journal about how they are feeling, what they are experiencing and how they are coping. Like all of us dealing with life on life’s terms, some weeks are naturally better than others, but living and loving an alcoholic/addict is sometimes a roller-coaster ride by the hour or day.

I have been counseling a woman in Monte Carlo for a few months. She was born into royalty and continues to live that lifestyle. With her permission, I have shared her current journal of confusion, anger, pain and suffering regarding her husband’s alcoholic condition. I disclose this for two reasons — it is moving, candid and a heart-rendering interpretation of her life with her loved one, and because this disease knows no boundaries as the family struggles regardless of what their bank account looks like.

In her own words (English is not her first language, so please keep that in mind), I have altered nothing other than the layout for easier reading. Meet a bold, empowered woman living the life of luxury from the outside, but tormented on the inside.

Full story at Huffington Post

A Love Letter After His Relapse

By Carole Bennett, MA

Couples alcohol relapse

Relapse is an unfortunate situation, and though it can be more common with one who is new in recovery, there are many individuals who relapse after years and years of living a clean and sober life.

My client Rachel has had a roller coaster ride with her sometimes sober, sometimes not husband. They had not been married long, and though the love and connection were very evident between them, his relapse and true slavery to his addiction began to present insurmountable odds against an honest and respectful union. She and her husband, Matt, would stitch together a few good months as he professed to work a clean and sober program by attending 12-step recovery meetings. He worked with a seasoned sponsor and appreciated his job and the future it held.

Full story at Huffington Post

Fact-Check: A Survey Links Facebook to Drug Use in Teens

By Maia Szalavitz

Facebook teen drug connection

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released its annual “Back to School” survey on Wednesday. Among the findings: teens who use social networking sites like Facebook are five times more likely to use tobacco, nearly three times more likely to use alcohol and nearly twice as likely to smoke marijuana than those who do not.

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, CASA founder Joe Califano writes, “The results are profoundly troubling. This year’s survey reveals how the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression, suggestive television programming and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse.

Full story at Time Healthland

Justice Department Says Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Could Face Prosecution

By Join Together Staff


The U.S. Justice Department has announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws. Currently the medical use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, USA Today reports.

According to the article, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a policy memo to federal prosecutors that states, “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”

The Justice Department memo follows recent warning letters from the federal government to officials in several states including Washington, California, Colorado, Montana and Rhode Island about medical marijuana laws. The warning letters have prompted several states to start reevaluating their laws. The recent letters from U.S. attorneys indicate that people involved in the growing, dispensing and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted—even if they are following state laws.

Full story at Drugfree.org