September 30, 2004
I commend Gov. Rendell's declaration making Sept. 27 "Family Day," and his encouragement that parents talk to their children about drug and alcohol abuse. I'd like to offer a suggestion. Given the direction he is taking Pennsylvania, he might want to encourage parents to speak to their children about gambling addiction, too. As the fastest growing addiction among teens, and one not as easily detected as substance abuse (no slurred speech or dilated pupils), parent will need to speak clearly and firmly about the dangers posed from slot machines and other gambling.
May 26, 2006
RE THE MAY 18 letter from Karen (Majewski) Waldsmit: I am a certified addiction counselor and about to complete a graduate-studies program. I have worked on inpatient psychiatric, detox and residential units and am currently working in an outpatient methadone program. I take issue with the statement in the letter that "there is an addictive gene"! Several studies since Blum and Noble's identification of the "common thread" have failed to replicate their findings. This misconception of an identified gene to explain this behavior fosters a perspective that exaggerates the significance of genetic research in addiction and ignores caveats and qualifications.
April 30, 1997 |
I had my first cigarette when I was about 10. My mother smoked Kents and my father smoked Camels, so it had to have been one of those. My parents knew, of course. They didn't approve, but they knew. But smoking was no big deal in the '50s. Besides, they had other things on their minds, such as feeding four hungry boys, making sure our homework was done and dragging us kicking and screaming out of bed and off to school each morning (always with a breakfast of hot oatmeal whether we wanted the stuff or not)
June 20, 2003 |
On the surface, Lisa Germano's Lullaby for Liquid Pig (Ineffable/Artist Direct), appears to be a concept album about alcoholism. Lyrics about wine, buzzes and "liquid pigs" float in and out of a woozy melodic haze, and songs such as "Dream Glasses Off" and "From a Shell" feel like the sonic equivalent of a lonely, drunken saunter home in the early-morning fog. But the 45-year-old Germano, who gained fame as a violinist in John Mellencamp's band in...
April 19, 1990 |
I am an addict. Though I have heard or read thousands of confessions, sordid histories and tales of redemption over the years, I never expected to hear myself say those four words: I am an addict. One thing I can say for my addiction - it's not a lonely one. It is among the most pervasive, insidious, destructive habits in the world, and chances are that if you're reading this article, you are close to someone with this problem. I became a user at 16. This is when most Americans pick up the habit, although it can strike a person at anytime in his or her adult life.
October 29, 2006 |
In Rick Pine's third-story office are inspirational messages painted by his mother on slate fragments. The familiar Serenity Prayer, which asks God for "courage to change the things I can," is propped near his desk in the Bensalem manor that for 40 years has served as headquarters of the Livengrin Foundation, a substance-abuse treatment center. For Pine, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit center, inspiration comes from reaching out each day to those whose lives are controlled by alcohol or drugs.
July 1, 1990 |
Don Newcombe, former star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, hasn't pitched a game in 28 years. The only reason he picks up baseballs anymore is to sign them. The 8-by-10 glossy black-and-white photograph of him, looking as if he had just thrown a strike, was taken in 1958. He carries copies in his briefcase to autograph for his fans. Newcombe was in Norristown last week, signing baseballs, autographing photos and talking about alcoholism, which he said forced him to give up the career that earned him Rookie of the Year honors in 1949 and the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards in 1956.
October 22, 1997
If addicts weren't weak or bad, they wouldn't use drugs, right? And some drugs are addictive psychologically, but not physically, right? Both wrong. But these are true: Addiction is a brain disease. Almost all drugs that get abused - heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, PCP, LSD - have much the same effect on the same pathway in the brain. Scientists see this as the common factor in why addicts keep seeking and using drugs regardless of the consequences - including prison or death.
August 10, 1988 |
One of the most predictable wrongs of spring - apart from the unfounded aura of optimism emanating from the Phillies camp - is the way great comic acting is slighted in the Oscar voting. True, Robin Williams was nominated this year for Good Morning, Vietnam, but he had no real shot at winning an Academy Award. More typically, Steve Martin's brilliant work in Roxanne was overlooked entirely. It's no wonder then that our leading comic actors feel compelled to take serious roles in order to be taken seriously by their peers.
March 26, 2007 |
WHEN MY sons were young, they would take baseball cards to school to "flip" - heads you win, tails you lose, winner take all. Some days they came home in tears because they'd lost their favorite cards. Their father and I would wipe their noses and lecture them on the perils of betting. When they got to middle school, the tears stopped, but I did notice that many days they returned home extremely hungry. I heard stories about poker games in the boys' restroom but didn't give it much thought.