Category Archives: Addiction News

Sex Addiction

Which Sex Addiction Program Do You Belong In?


Sexaholics Anonymous

Sexual Recovery Anonymous

Sex Addicts Anonymous

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous


By Morty Finklestein 03/25/13

The range of 12-step sex addiction recovery groups can be dizzying. A 20-year veteran of all five fellowships gives his verdict.


The many faces of recovery Art: Danny Jock

AA is for drunks, NA for junkies, GA for gamblers and OA for over-eaters. So far so clear. You have reached your bottom, you don’t know where to go, and the answer is as simple as two letters in the phone book.

If you seek help for a sexual addiction, however, you will be faced with five independent programs to sort through: Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Recovery Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. Why so many and what are the differences?

The history of recovery from sexual addiction is a bit murky, especially as to which of the fellowships was the first to come into existence. It seems that almost all of the groups came into being in the 1970s—perhaps in reaction to the sexual revolution. The only obvious splinter group is SRA, which broke off from SA in the early 1990s because SA would not budge from its anti-homosexual, anti-sinning-out-of-wedlock stance.

For many in all facets of recovery, treatment is the beginning of their sobriety. For me, it was the end.

Twenty years ago I spent a month in rehab for drugs and alcohol, followed by a year-long attendance at a full-time county outpatient program. At 26 years old, my indoctrination into 12-step life was quick and easy. Within the first 90 days of sobriety I was convinced that besides my heroin, cocaine, LSD, and alcohol addictions, I also had a dangerous, out-of-control problem with pornography, masturbation, commercial sex, fetishism and BDSM. After I shared one night in my regular meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous about a $1,500 phone-sex bill, a fellow approached me and brought me to Sexaholics Anonymous.

Since then I’ve sought help in all five fellowships for the sexually addicted. I attended an outpatient group therapy program—Sexual Addiction Training and Treatment Institute (SATTI)—for over two years, and went inpatient for a 31 day stay at KeyStone Center Extended Care Unit, also known as The Residential Center for Healing from Sexual Compulsivity and Trauma. The following impressions are based on personal experience:

Sexaholics Anonymous is by far the most rigid, fundamentalist and conservative of all the fellowships. Most of its members, like its founder Roy K., are religious. In New York most attendees are from the Orthodox Jewish community, along with Episcopalian or Roman Catholic clergymen. Serious problems such as pedophilia or incessant patronage of prostitutes are the main concern. “Deviant” behaviors such as sodomy, onanism, sadomasochism and a penchant for gang bangs are also addressed. Sexual sobriety is defined not only as freedom from all “inappropriate” behaviors but also “progressive victory over lust.” The only acceptable expression of the sexual impulse is through vanilla heterosexual carnal relations with one’s legally recognized spouse—man and wife, ideally in the missionary position, as sanctioned by the Holy Bible. Homosexual members are welcome—so long as they commit to a life of celibacy.

If SA is too draconian for your tastes, Sexual Recovery Anonymous may be for you. When I first came around in 1993, it was there, in the then-newly founded fellowship, that I put together a solid year of sexual sobriety, attending meetings regularly, working with a sponsor, going out to coffee, doing step-work and being of service. I accepted total abstinence—including six Tantric months without an orgasm, at which point I started dating again. For the following six months I approached sex with a new sunny outlook, enjoying a monogamous relationship, before I felt something was missing. I returned to the underworld for more research.

SRA is the progressive offshoot of SA. Many of the members still subscribe to conventional ideals of marriage, family, and the establishment without being dogmatic. The mix is far more diverse, with a strong presence of women, African Americans, Asians and members of the LGBT community. (There are, however, a number of businessmen awkwardly getting in touch with their feelings, who cannot wrap their heads around the concept that the transvestites and transsexuals they act out with are fully dimensional people.) There’s a discernible abundance of musicians, for some reason. The work of Patrick Carnes is held in the highest regard; he’s considered the indisputable authority on sex addiction. Inner children run amok, talk of mom and dad, incest, trauma and sundry therapy buzzwords abound. Higher Powers are usually framed on the Buddhist, New Age, Yoga trip, in conspicuous contrast to SA’s decidedly Judeo-Christian emphasis. Sometimes folks will sing their shares.

Sex Addicts Anonymous is serious and renowned for its Green Book. A distinguishing feature of SAA is the central importance of its “Three Circles” concept, which every member is encouraged to use as a tool to maintain sobriety. The Inner Circle contains all bottom-line behaviors that characterize your sexual addiction, including masturbation, prostitution, cruising, infidelity, leather bars, autoerotic asphyxia, glory holes, stalking, exhibitionism, child pornography, rape and so forth. The Middle Circle contains all those behaviors considered a grey area, to be monitored with the help of a sponsor. Obvious examples here include fantasy, objectification, euphoric recall, ritualization, preoccupation and any non-pornographic provocative images. The word “intrigue” has special meaning here—defined as lusting, flirting or taking a sexual interest in someone. The Outer Circle is where you would place all your top-line behaviors, those activities that cement your sobriety and affirm a healthy, happy life.

Maybe all of the above is too much. Maybe you’re not such a pervert. Maybe you just have a problem with intimacy and can’t commit, or you keep falling in love with unavailable people. Sure you masturbate with porn to soothe yourself when lonely, but you don’t think that’s a problem—everyone does that—it’s all the money you waste on hookers, the fear of AIDS and arrest and getting caught by your partner that bothers you. Or maybe you’re a desperate weirdo sexual anorectic and haven’t been sexual in any context whatsoever with another human being for many years. Or maybe, for some reason, even though you swear you’re straight, you keep acting out with men. Or maybe, even though you’re a good girl, you keep seducing your friends’ boyfriends and husbands and fathers and sons and dudes on the subway or, y’know, you just love too much.

Inevitably, I’ve been inappropriately touched during the coffee break.

Well whatever it is, check out Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, where you define your own sobriety! This is where you may enjoy the sexual equivalent of saying, “I want to stop shooting heroin but continue to drink beer and smoke pot.” A roomful of fellows will applaud your success, however you choose to define it.

Finally, there is Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. I’ve attended these meetings only a handful of times and upon hearing most of the shares I felt humbled, like a youngster encountering a veteran of AA telling me, “Kid, I’ve spilled more than you drank.” The men of SCA gather to escape the brutal merry-go-round of relentlessly pursuing high-risk encounters—such as engaging in unprotected anal and oral sex despite the mounting probability of contracting the virus. Mutually rewarding arrangements typically found in bath houses, sex clubs, rest stops, bus stations, public urinals, parking lots and Craigslist—while undeniably stimulating—all too often end darkly. Especially in this light, the recalibration of one’s behavior—as opposed to completely withdrawing from all indulgent pleasures—makes perfect sense. I was under the impression that many of these members would gladly de-escalate their harrowing pursuits to something as relatively innocuous as masturbating home alone in front of the computer with poppers and toys.

I am no tourist. I’ve gone to over a thousand meetings for sex addicts of one kind or another seeking relief and hope. Like a typical consumer, I have pledged loyalty to—and believed in the superiority of—SA, SLAA and SRA at various times. I would surely have done the same with SAA or SCA if I had given either a regular rotation. All the meetings were kind and helpful, and in turn, I’ve made good friends and had many positive experiences. I still receive program calls from men seeking help, needing to talk about matters that they couldn’t take anywhere else. I know how to be helpful and I’m happy to give away what was so freely given to me.

But. I’ve also encountered weirdness that is ludicrous relative to AA and NA standards, especially in the realm of sponsorship (perhaps because the meetings are young, and old-timers are in short supply). One clown jotted down notes while I spoke candidly, later saying he needed material for a screenplay. Another sponsor reacted with grave disapproval when I mentioned happily that I’d been out dancing the night before with sober friends, which had felt both innocent and life affirming: “Dancing is very sexual,” he admonished. Outside a meeting, in front of our group, he once saw fit to mock me for one of my more humiliating proclivities, revealed to him in confidence. I wondered how he’d feel if I casually mentioned his transsexual prostitute habit to his wife.

In my time, I have sat knee to knee with flashers, pedophiles and other perpetrators and listened with compassion to their side of the story. I’ve been ostracized for slipping too often. Inevitably, I’ve been inappropriately touched during the coffee break. And I’ve witnessed grown men crying and screaming about their mothers.

The meetings can be rather grim. Unlike AA, where we all tend to laugh at our most mortifying experiences, here, where sobriety is less black-and-white, there is a grey earnestness to the proceedings that fails to cheer. The specters of shame and trauma loom large. Protocols regarding boundaries can become so convoluted that interactions display little resemblance to routine social exchanges. In many gatherings I cringed at how easy it was to inadvertently molest someone’s inner child.

I’ve been banging my head against this wall for 20 years, after acting out sexually since the age of six. My final, desperate attempt to attain sexual sobriety was to go down to Pennsylvania where I attended Keystone Treatment Center, as recommended by many from SLAA, SRA and SA. I went full of optimism, recalling the experience of going to rehab for alcoholism at the age of 26. After a few days there, we went out to our first meeting in the outside world, in the facility’s unmarked van. And given all the options in the sexual recovery world, our outside meetings were…Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Right back where I started! For many in all facets of recovery, treatment is the beginning of their sobriety. For me, it was the very end.

The things I do to get off are child’s play compared to most of those in sexual recovery. I can’t say the meetings haven’t helped me but I have found that I am unable to comply with their suggestions. I also bristle at the morality bandied about by men who are not qualified to declare what is right and wrong for anyone. AA’s co-founder Bill Wilson wrote on page 69 (yes) of the Big Book, “We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t.”

I drifted from the meetings without making a clear decision to do so. I’ve been in a relationship for over two years and I feel happy, virile and loved. At this point, I am healthier—at least sexually—than they would have me believe in the five sexual recovery groups’ rooms. And from what I hear, I’m definitely happier.
Of course that doesn’t mean I stopped all the questionable behavior—after all, I still like the high.
Morty Finklestein is a pseudonym for a programmer in New York.

Oscar De La Hoya completes 90 days in rehab

Oscar De La Hoya 1

Oscar De La Hoya is latest Hollywood personality to complete 90 days in rehab for substance abuse problems.

According to a source connected to the troubled former boxer and founder of combat sports promotional firm, Golden Boy Promotions, the three months were spent at the swanky Cliffside Malibu rehab facility, also recently frequented by party girl Lindsay Lohan.

De La Hoya, 40, was released about two weeks ago.

“Oscar is doing really well and is now going to lots of (AA) meetings and determined to follow his after care program,” a De La Hoya insider told FOX411. “He also really wants to help other people with addiction problems. He wants to do whatever he can to serve.”

It was reported in September that graphic photos of De La Hoya on an alleged cocaine binge during a Vegas party were being shopped around media circles. The boxer turned businessman promptly checked himself into a then undisclosed facility right before the highly-anticipated Mayweather versus Canelo fight – one of the biggest fights ever put on by his Golden Boy Promotions company.

De La Hoya also spent time in rehab back in 2011.

“It’s different this time,” the source assured us. “Nobody checks into rehab on a winning streak, but he’s fighting this with the same approach he fought to win fights in the ring.”

Aside from a lucrative professional career, the Olympic gold medal-winning boxer has two children with wife Millie Corretjer, and three children from previous relationships with Toni Alvarado, Angelique McQueen and Shanna Moakler.

Ultimately, we’re told De La Hoya’s faith is playing a prominent role in his road to recovery. And although he didn’t address rehab specifically, the sportsman did acknowledge the help from those around him via Twitter on Wednesday.

“I am grateful and humbled for all the support I’ve been receiving,” De La Hoya wrote. “Life is better than ever before #1day@atime #GOD.”

Reps for De La Hoya and Cliffside Malibu did not respond to a request for comment.

Director and producer Adam Shankman checkes into rehab.

Director and producer Adam Shankman has checked into rehab.

The 49-year-old’s rep confirmed the news in a statement to Us Weekly Monday.

“Adam Shankman is currently seeking treatment in a rehabilitation center,” the statement read. “His friends and family support him and wish him well on his journey to recovery.”

It is unclear for what he is seeking treatment.

"TrevorLIVE LA" Honoring Jane Lynch And Toyota For The Trevor Project - ArrivalsOn Dec. 8, Shankman served as executive producer and director of the TrevorLIVE event in Hollywood. TrevorLIVE is a semi-annual event benefitting The Trevor Project, a suicide and crisis intervention group helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

He was smiling on the red carpet earlier in the night, E! News notes.

Shankman is best known for his directorial and choreography work. He has directed episodes of popular TV shows like “Glee” and “Modern Family,” as well as big-screen flicks like “Rock of Ages,” “Hairspray,” “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” and “A Walk to Remember.”

Pair linked to parcel containing 4kg of MDMA granted bail

TWO men linked to a parcel allegedly containing about 4kg of MDMA siezed in a raid have been freed on bail.

Jonathan Kirkpatrick, 25, and Adrian Clarence Blanch, 27, were arrested following a raid by the Australian Federal Police on Monday, which also allegedly netted drug paraphernalia and almost $10,000 in cash, the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court heard.

Kirkpatrick was charged with attempting to possess a border-controlled drug.

Blanch was charged with attempting to import a border-controlled drug.

They both separately appeared in the prisoner’s dock before Magistrate Jacqui Payne on Tuesday.

An AFP spokesperson said earlier this month, officers from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service examined a parcel that was allegedly found to contain about 4kg of a substance that tested positive for MDMA.

It was referred to the AFP, who executed a number of search warrants, the spokesperson said.

During Kirkpatrick’s hearing, lawyer Adam Magill told the court his client was an electrician and had been awarded a contract to work in Sydney for six weeks.

He said he had “heavy ties” to Queensland and had been taking time to visit his parents in Brisbane.

Kirkpatrick was granted bail along with a number of conditions including that he report to police twice a week and surrender his passport.

The court heard Blanch had started his painting apprenticeship nine years ago and had been working on a contractual basis for his employer.

During the hearing, Commonwealth prosecutor Ben Satiu argued Blanch may be at risk of failing to appear.

But Ms Payne bailed him after the accused’s employer decided to put up a $10,000 surety.

He must also report to police twice a week, surrender his passport and is banned from setting foot near any points of international departure.

Both men are set to reappear in court on January 17.

Would You Recognize the Signs of Addiction?


Everyone goes through ups and downs in their life and they all deal with them differently. Some people go running when they are stressed. For other people, having a drink after a long day helps them to unwind. But what happens when it becomes more than one drink? Or when their method of coping involves other substances? Would you recognize when a friend or loved one is dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol?
Many addicts are in denial that they have a problem. They believe that they have control over their use and can stop any time they want. In reality, this is generally not the case. Helping them to realize that they have a problem and getting them help early on can save their life. There are many drug and alcohol treatment facilities that can work with them to overcome their problems. The following are some commonly recognized signs that someone may be struggling with addiction:
They go through sudden mood changes. Drugs and alcohol affect a person’s mood. People suffering from addiction may become angry and irritated more easily. They may also become depressed or apathetic, no longer participating in activities they once enjoyed. Pay attention to when these behaviors are out of the norm or if the behavior seems out of proportion given the situation.
They become more isolated. Addicts will often avoid friends and loved ones who may recognize they have a problem. They begin to isolate themselves so that they can drink or abuse drugs in private. They may avoid social situations where they cannot use. In general, they stop hanging out with the people they used to and begin to hang out with a new crowd of friends. These people often have the same habits and abuse the same substances.
Their health declines. Drugs and alcohol have a major impact on the body. The person may become sick more often, or sustain injuries more frequently. Their overall appearance may decline as the substance affects the quality of their hair, skin, and teeth. They may also begin to lose weight and become fatigued more easily. Look for changes in their sleep patterns as well.
They face legal or financial problems. Addiction can become a costly habit. Addicts often have trouble paying their bills or are short on money because they are spending it on drugs or alcohol. If someone is always asking to borrow money or has fallen behind on their mortgage or other bills, it could indicate trouble. They may also run into trouble with the law, getting arrested or cited due to their addiction. The person may miss work more often or show up late. Their performance often begins to suffer because they have more problems focusing and concentrating on what they are doing.
They become secretive. Many addicts become very skilled at hiding their use. They come up with excuses for their behavior or to avoid certain situations. They may not reveal where they are going or what they are doing, and their routines become more erratic. They are in denial that what they are doing is negatively affecting their life and that they have a problem.
When considering whether or not someone may be suffering from addiction, keep in mind that these signs may also indicate other problems. It is important to look at the whole picture and identify what is abnormal given the particular person. They may struggle with their finances due to other reasons that are unrelated to drugs or alcohol. Or they may be depressed due to another event in their life. Before approaching a friend or loved one, seek professional assistance. Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers have professionals who can offer guidance and support to help identify potential addiction problems.
Let the professionals at Chapters Capistrano help you today. They can provide more information about recognizing the signs of drug and alcohol addiction and how to get someone the help they need. Contact Chapters Capistrano to find out more about their executive rehabilitation services and how they can help.

Amanda Clark –

Heroin overdoses prompts push for sheriff’s deputies to carry antidote

A push is on in Hennepin County to allow sheriff’s deputies to carry an antidote to heroin and other opiates that can be given to someone who is overdosing.

The proposal being addressed Tuesday afternoon before a state legislative committee comes amid a wave of heroin overdose fatalities in Minnesota. Last year, there were 35 people in Hennepin and Ramsey counties who died of heroin overdoses, according to state health records.

Heroin and other opiates, including prescription drug abuse, killed 129 people in the two counties in 2012.

The antidote is called Narcan. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek will join state DFL Sen. Chris Eaton, of Brooklyn Center, at the Senate hearing in urging the creation of new laws that would allow deputies to administer Narcan.

In Wisconsin, the La Crosse Fire Department is first in line for a yearlong pilot program to train firefighters to use naloxone. It’s been done in New York and Massachusetts, also, where cities have since reported decreases in overdose deaths.

9 things everyone should know about the drug Molly

(CNN) — The drug called Molly isn’t what most of its users think it is. If you Google “Molly,” many articles say the drug is “pure” MDMA, the active ingredient in Ecstasy.
Users often talk about the “purity” of taking Molly, as if it’s somehow better; after all, MDMA was originally developed as a medication to treat depression. But today’s Molly is most often not MDMA — in the last few years, the drug has become a toxic mixture of lab-created chemicals, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Here are nine things everyone should know about this rapidly changing party drug:

1. What is Molly?

’2C-P’ and ‘Molly’ involved in overdoses Drug deaths spur fear of bad batch Hot party drug has deadly consequences Patient: Ecstasy eased my PTSD
Someone who buys or takes Molly now is probably ingesting dangerous synthetic drugs that have not been tested and are produced in widely varying strengths. The DEA says only 13% of the Molly seized in New York state the last four years actually contained any MDMA, and even then it often was mixed with other drugs. The drugs frequently found in Molly are Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone and MePP.

2. What does Molly do?

The lab-created chemicals mimic the effects of MDMA; most of them are central nervous system stimulants that cause euphoric highs. They can also cause a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and sweating, and can prevent the body from regulating temperature. Some of the chemicals have been reported to cause intense, prolonged panic attacks, psychosis and seizures.
After they wear off, the chemicals can cause devastating depression. Several of these compounds have caused deaths.

3. Who is using Molly?

Molly is being marketed to young first-time drug abusers between the ages of 12 and 17, as well as traditional rave, electronic dance music fans who may think they’re getting MDMA. “Our kids are being used as guinea pigs by drug traffickers,” says Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA.

4. What does Molly look like?

Molly can take many different forms, although it’s most often found in a capsule or powder. The DEA has also seen Molly applied to blotting paper, like LSD, and in injectable form.

5. What makes Molly so dangerous?

Molly is dangerous because of the toxic mix of unknown chemicals; users have no idea what they’re taking or at what dose. Unlike MDMA and other illegal drugs that have known effects on the body, the formulas for these synthetic drugs keep changing, and they’re manufactured with no regard to how they affect the user.
“You’re playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds because we’re seeing significant batch-to-batch variances,” Santos says.
For example, officials have found completely different ingredients in drugs sold in the same packaging. Santos also says the amount of active ingredients can be dangerously different, because “the dosing for these sorts of drugs are in the micrograms. The room for error is tremendous, and we’ve seen a lot of deaths with some of these compounds.”
The DEA has developed its own reference materials for state and local law enforcement because they were encountering so many different drug compounds they’d never seen before. At the DEA testing lab, technicians are constantly trying to unravel the chemical makeup of newly discovered drug compounds that have been seized.
What you need to know about synthetic drugs

6. Where do the chemicals come from?

Almost all the chemicals in Molly and other synthetic drugs come from laboratories in China. Chinese chemists sell the drugs online, and middlemen in the United States and around the world cut it with other substances, and either place it in capsules or sell it as powder. Other kinds of synthetic drugs can be sprayed onto plant material and smoked, such as synthetic marijuana.
But it’s difficult for law enforcement to keep track of all the chemicals. The DEA says it’s seen about 200 individual chemical compounds since 2009 and 80 new compounds since 2012. As soon as a compound is discovered and banned, another one is created to take its place.
Interestingly enough, the formulas for these drugs were discovered by legitimate scientists working on new medications. The formulas couldn’t be used as medicine because of the stimulant or hallucinogenic effects they had users, but the “recipes” for the drugs still remain.
Clandestine chemists have used the scientific literature to create hundreds of new chemical compounds for the sole purpose of getting people high. There is no known legitimate purpose for any of these chemicals.
Music festival canceled after 2 deaths blamed on drugs

7. How widespread is the problem?

Huge. The fastest-emerging drug problem in the United States is the synthetic drug market, which now includes Molly. The chemicals in Molly have been found in nearly every state in the U.S.
And it’s a multibillion-dollar business. In two days, the DEA seized $95 million off drug traffickers during a crackdown. It is a growing problem in Australia, New Zealand and Europe as well.

8. What’s being done about it? Why can’t the government just make it illegal?

Congress passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act in July 2012, which controlled 26 compounds by name. But there are hundreds of compounds, and every time the government makes one illegal, chemists alter the formula slightly to make it a substance that is no longer controlled.
U.S. officials say they are discussing the issue with the Chinese government, but most of these chemicals are legal in China.
There’s something (potentially dangerous) about molly

9. How can I tell if someone is using or has used Molly?

The effects can vary widely, depending on the chemical, but while users are under the influence, they may exhibit the following symptoms: sweating, jaw clenching, violent or bizarre behavior and psychosis.
After the drug has worn off, a user may show signs of depression or may not be able to get out of bed for an extended period of time.

OxyContin Tops List of Abused Prescription Drugs: Survey

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) — Oxycodone — the active ingredient in OxyContin — and hydrocodone are the most popular drugs among Americans who abuse prescription painkillers, a new study finds.

OxyContin and Percocet are brand names for drugs containing oxycodone. Brand names of drugs that contain hydrocodone include Vicodin and Lortab.

Researchers surveyed more than 3,500 prescription painkiller abusers in 160 drug-treatment programs across the United States. They found that 45 percent of participants favored oxycodone and 30 percent favored hydrocodone.

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Both drugs come in pill form, but almost 64 percent of oxycodone abusers and just over one-quarter of hydrocodone abusers crushed the tablets and inhaled the drug. One in five abusers said they sometimes dissolved oxycodone in water and injected it. Less than 5 percent said they injected hydrocodone.
Gender, personality and age were all factors in drug preferences. OxyContin was favored by those who like taking risks and prefer to inject or snort drugs to get high. Young males are likely to fit that profile, the researchers noted.

Hydrocodone was more popular among women, older people, people who didn’t want to inject drugs, and those who prefer to deal with a doctor or friend instead of a drug dealer, according to the study in the December issue of the journal Pain.

Both drugs are opioids — a class of narcotics.

“Opioids are prescribed to treat pain, but their misuse has risen dramatically in recent years,” principal investigator Theodore Cicero, a researcher at Washington University, St. Louis, who studies prescription drug abuse, said in a university news release. “Our goal is to understand the personal characteristics of people who are susceptible to drug abuse, so we can detect problems ahead of time.”

The survey found that 54 percent of respondents preferred the high they got from oxycodone, while 20 percent said the high from hydrocodone was better.

“Among the reasons addicts prefer oxycodone is that they can get it in pure form,” said Cicero, a professor of neuropharmacology in psychiatry. “Until recently, all drugs with hydrocodone as their active ingredient also contained another product such as acetaminophen, the pain reliever in Tylenol. That turns out to be very important because addicts don’t like acetaminophen.”

When injected, acetaminophen causes considerable irritation. When swallowed in large amounts, it can cause severe liver damage.

“Interestingly, addicts, while they’re harming their health in one respect by taking these drugs, report being very concerned about the potentially negative side effects of acetaminophen,” Cicero said.

— Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Washington University, St. Louis, news release, November 2013



County Health Executive Charged with DUI in Cyclist’s Death


An executive of the county’s health system was charged with drunken driving in the crash that killed a cyclist in North Lawndale Friday night.

Robert Vais, 54, was ordered held on $400,000 bail Sunday.

Vais was charged in the death of Hector Avalos, a 28-year-old former Marine, who was riding his bike in the 2500 block of West Ogden Avenue on the way home from work when he was hit by a van about 11:50 p.m., authorities and family said.

According to a police report, as Avalos lay in the street, Vais walked up to officers and said, “I was the driver of that van over there. I hit him. Is he OK?”

Avalos was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:38 a.m. Saturday.

Prosecutors said Vais had a blood alcohol content of .118, above the legal limit of .08.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Ron Park, Vais’ background includes a 1980s conviction of misdemeanor assault, which took place in St. Louis.

Vais was charged with one count of felony aggravated DUI causing accidental death, one count of misdemeanor DUI and one count of misdemeanor DUI with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08.

He was also cited for failing to reduce his speed.

On Sunday, Judge James Brown ordered Vais held on $400,000 bail, calling the incident a “tragedy of epic proportions.”

The victim’s mother, Ingrid Cossio, said her son was riding home from work when he was struck. She said he rode his bike everywhere.

Since May, Hector Avalos had worked as a cook in the River North restaurant El Hefe. He was studying to become a chef, relatives and co-workers said. He also served in the Marine Corps for five years, Cossio said.

“I thought there was going to be no bond,” said Cossio, who added that she was “shocked” by the judge’s decision.

“He’s a person who killed someone else,” Cossio said. “Why would you let him out?”

Avalos’ girlfriend of three years, Cristina Valencia, 27, said her boyfriend was “funny, energetic.”

“He loved to dance and have a good time,” she said.

His death “was very reckless, there’s nothing we can change about that,” she said.

Vais’ attorney, Rick Beuke, said Vais works for Stroger Hospital. Records show Vais is director of reimbursement for the hospital, earning $138,300. He began working with the health system in 1982, according to the county’s data portal.

Attempts to reach a hospital spokesperson to confirm his employment were unsuccessful.

“It was a tragic accident,” Beuke said of what happened.

“Their condolences go out to the family (of Avalos),” Beuke said on behalf of Vais and his family. By Erica Demarest and Emily Morris on December 8, 2013 9:10am