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The Daily Buzz: December 2, 2014

Marijuana breathalyzer in the works to catch stoned drivers; smoking might make it harder to quit drinking; and Gerard Depardieu gets "scandalously drunk" at World War I commemoration.

4 Substance

Marijuana Breathalyzer in the Works to Identify Stoned Drivers
Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breathalyzer that will detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Up until now, police have had to rely on blood tests and other field sobriety tests such as having drivers walk in a straight line. But these methods are faulty, since blood tests take time to process, and most stoned people can walk in a straight line. Maybe even more precisely than sober people.

Does Smoking Make It Harder to Quit Drinking?
Many alcoholics also smoke. And smoking may actually make it harder to quit booze—not because of nicotine, but due to another unknown component in tobacco smoke, according to a new study. Researchers at Yale found that people who quit drinking but continued to smoke actually craved alcohol more than those who quit both drinking and smoking concurrently.

Why Humans Drink Alcohol: It’s Evolution, Plus Bad Fruit
Scientists have traced the origins of human booze consumption back nearly 10 million years, when they believe our ape ancestors first developed a genetic mutation that allowed them to break down the ethanol (alcohol) in fermented fruit that had fallen on the forest floor. This development would have coincided with our ancestors’ shifting from living in trees to living on the ground. Hopefully it softened the transition.

Mom of Accused Silk Road Founder Blasts US Drug War
Ross Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the alleged founder of original online drug marketplace Silk Road, was arrested last year. Now his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, is speaking out against how the government has treated her son. She described meeting other “shattered families” visiting their kids in prison for drug charges, and said of the drug war: “If its purpose is to expand government power and the prison industrial complex, it’s been a rousing success.” Preach!

Gerard Depardieu Shows Up “Scandalously Drunk” to World War I Commemoration
The French actor apparently “shocked” audiences when he showed up wasted at a First World War commemoration in Brussels and slurred his way through a poem written by a wartime survivor. Depardieu, 65, said earlier this year he often drinks up to 14 bottles of wine a day but is “never totally drunk, just a little pissed.”