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The Daily Buzz: October 22, 2014

Afghanistan is producing more opium than ever; smoking might stunt brain recovery in newly sober alcoholics; and Steven Tyler raves about AA.

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Afghan Opium Trade Reaches Record High, Despite Costly US Efforts
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is at a record high, according to a new report, despite the US spending roughly $7.6 billion over the past decade on efforts to stop it. Afghanistan produces 80% of the world’s illegal opium, yielding $3 billion in sales in 2013, up from $2 billion the year before.

Smoking Might Make It Harder for Alcoholics’ Brains To Recover
Bad news recovering alcoholics, who are known to often use cigarettes to ease the transition into early sobriety: A recent study suggests that nicotine actually interferes with alcoholics’ cognitive recovery during early abstinence. So that leaves…coffee?

Suspected Leader of Mexican Drug Cartel Arrested in Texas
The latest arrest of a major Mexican drug lord took place on US soil. Juan Francisco Sáenz-Tamez, who American officials say was leading the powerful Gulf Cartel at the youthful age of 23, was arrested last week while shopping in Texas, just over the Mexican border.

Steven Tyler Raves About AA
Alcoholics Anonymous may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s got more than a few rock stars in its corner. The Aerosmith frontman is one of many legends whose hard-partying reputation segued into 12-step membership. He says he’s “still fighting [addiction] every day,” but credits AA with keeping him sober—and a lot more. “If it wasn’t for AA, I would have nothing,” he recently told a group of drug court graduates. “I express my joy all because of AA.”

Mad Men Actors Have Probably Shot Some Scenes While Drunk
One of the booziest shows on TV might have method acting to thank for its realistic portrayal of 1950s drunken antics. “I’m not saying that no one’s ever done a scene drunk on Mad Men. I will not say that,” says series creator Matthew Weiner, setting the Internet ablaze with the delightful notion of Jon Hamm getting soused in order to play the often-soused leading man, Don Draper. But don’t get your hopes up—it’s not a regular thing. Weiner adds: ”most of the time, what you’re looking at, what we provide for them, is water.”