How Juul Took a Page From Big Tobacco’s Playbook

Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, recently invested almost $13 billion in e-cigarette company Juul. Some experts say in its early days Juul mirrored the tobacco industry’s promotional playbook in an effort to hook young people. Photo: Natalia V. Osipova/The Wall Street Journal

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Wendy Williams Says She’s ‘Living Proof’ That ‘There Is Hope’ for Addicts and Substance Abusers

Wendy Williams says she’s “living proof” that “there is hope” for those who battle addiction.

In a national public service announcement for The Hunter Foundation and T.R.U.S.T., Williams — who has long battled substance abuse — encouraged those who struggle with drug addiction or substance abuse, or know people that do, to seek help.

“Hi, I’m Wendy Williams Hunter,” she begins the PSA. “My organization, The Hunter Foundation, recently launched a nationwide hotline to offer treatment resources for you if you are a drug addict or substance abuser. 1-888-5HUNTER.”

“The calls are being answered by specially-trained, certified recovery coaches,” she continues. “They’re very smart. They conduct screenings to determine your needs. The substance abuse will be taken care of.”

See the PSA and the rest of the article here.

Pierce Brosnan’s Son Sean Recalls His Harrowing Struggle with Addiction and His Path to Sobriety

Pierce Brosnan‘s son Sean is opening up about his struggle with addiction, the devastating loss he’s experienced —  and his eventual path to sobriety.

Brosnan lost his mother,  Cassandra Harris, to ovarian cancer when he was only eight years old. “I remember the day my dad told me she passed, and it was a few days after Christmas,” Sean, 35, recently said on the Inner Space with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen podcast. “He started to cry, but I didn’t cry. I was comforting him at eight.”

“It wasn’t until maybe six months later where I was in school and realized while I was walking to class, she is never coming back,” he recalled. “That is when it transitioned into anger.”

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CBD products are popping up in stores near you. Here’s what you need to know about them

Some say it treats anxiety. Others claim it’s the newest answer to Parkinson’s disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though, cracked down on its marketing while also approving it for treatment of two forms of severe epilepsy.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is popping up on shelves across the country in oil, extract, vaporized liquid and capsule form, according to the Mayo Clinic. Interest in the product skyrocketed after Congress passed the Farm Bill last year, making some cannabis plants legal.

Here is USA TODAY’s breakdown of what you need to know about a substance that appears in products from lip balm to gummies.

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Can Doctors Talk Teenagers Out of Risky Drinking?

I’m a pediatrician, and when I see adolescents in my clinic, I ask them if they are drinking alcohol (among other risky activities). Then I counsel them if they answer in the affirmative. I want young people to be safe.

But doctors lack the evidence base — we don’t have enough studies — to know how much of a difference this makes.

Here’s why we may want an answer. Excessive drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year in the United States, about one in 10 deaths among working-age adults. The cost in 2010 was almost $250 billion.

And drinking is a serious problem among adolescents. More than 9 percent of those 12 to 17 years drink alcohol, and almost 5 percent engaged in binge drinking in the last month.

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Ohio medical marijuana patients allege they were caught in “weed trap”

Ohio has seen $1.1 million in medical marijuana sales since the program began this year.

But with just eight dispensaries open statewide, 10 Investigates found some patients faced with limited supplies and high prices have turned elsewhere for their medical marijuana.

But that activity also comes with a risk of landing in trouble with law enforcement.

The town of Morenci, Michigan has a population of 2200 people.

It’s also home to three medical marijuana dispensaries.

Managers at all three locations – Stateline Wellness, Sticky Greens and Michigan Cannakings – told 10 Investigates that the majority of their patients come from Ohio.

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“We have 2700 patients – (Ohio patients) are probably 60 percent of it,” said Kyle Schaffner with Cannakings.

Ohio State’s marijuana policies stay despite open dispensaries

As of January, dispensaries for medicinal marijuana have started opening in Columbus, but state laws legalizing the use of the drug are still at odds with federal laws.

The Medical Marijuana Control Program, which officially went into effect in September, allows those with pre-approved conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, to meet with a certified doctor and become registered to legally use marijuana to treat their illness.

That law leaves Ohio State and other publicly funded universities stuck between state legislation that treats marijuana as a medicine and federal law that considers it an illegal Schedule 1 substance.

Ohio State’s policy for marijuana, which prohibits smoking it on campus, has not changed despite the opening of medical dispensaries across the state in mid-January.

Douglas Berman, law professor at Moritz College of Law and the director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, said Ohio State needs to continue to comply with federal law due to the funding the university receives from the federal government.

“I think the reality is that even figuring out how to get near a solution would not be easy until we get a change in federal law,” Berman said.

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Finding workers a bigger concern than marijuana, say central Ohio’s family businesses

The state’s new medical marijuana law isn’t triggering alarms so far among central Ohio’s family-owned businesses.

Only about a third of the businesses surveyed for the Conway Center’s eighth annual family business forecast say they think they’ll be hurt by the law while 56.3 percent say they don’t expect the law to impact their business.

Jill Hofmans, the center’s executive director and vice president, said she assumed family businesses would have a more negative outlook about the law, which allows Ohioans to get a recommendation from a doctor to buy marijuana to treat any one of 21 conditions such as chronic pain or seizures.

Sales of marijuana under the law began just a few weeks ago with sales totaling about $1.2 million so far, according to the state, which also reported that 159 pounds of marijuana have been sold under the law.

“I just think it’s new and so nobody really knows what it is going to do,” Hofmans said.

The medical marijuana is a new question on this year’s survey. The survey also added questions about the effects of tariffs and the federal tax overhaul on family businesses. The center received responses from 65 businesses.

“They are all hot topics for all businesses, especially family businesses,” she said.

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Drug policy head confronted about administration’s drug crisis strategy

In a hearing peppered with statistics and stories of the nation’s opioid crisis, a government official told a congressional panel Thursday that the Trump administration’s plan for addressing the country’s drug crisislacks goals and objectives and a way to measure success.

President Donald Trump has said the opioid crisis has been among one of his administration’s top priorities. The administration’s first National Drug Control Strategy report was released in January.

Typically the report is issued each year.

The new strategy, overseen by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was analyzed by the Government Accountability Office, which found that the efforts lack quantifiable and measurable objectives, said Triana McNeil, the GAO’s acting director of strategic issues.

The strategy, she testified to the House Oversight Committee, is “completely void of any performance measurement system.”

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs When Everyone Is Doing Them

The assignment was to write a four-page research paper on any biology topic. My son, Sebastian, is a high school freshman, and it was his first real chance to shine. I expected him to pick something like photosynthesis. He went with psychedelic drugs instead.

Let me tell you what would have happened if I had made that choice as a ninth-grader: I would have been grounded until graduation. In northeastern Pennsylvania, where I grew up, my mother worked for the county commission on drug and alcohol abuse, and she could literally smell stoned people. The breath of a pothead, she warned, as if hunting dragons, has the odorousness of burned rope.

One night she shook me awake after finding a tiny tube of Krazy Glue under the seats of her Buick Skyhawk.

“Are you sniffing this stuff to get high?” she said.

I wasn’t. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I cried.

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