Inhalants Are Terrible, Please Stop Using Them
In July, TMZ reported that former child star Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played the role of Mel Gibson’s daughter in The Patriot, had died at the age of 21. At the time, reports suggested that she choked to death in the midst of a “seizure,” but now the gossip website is suggesting that her death was actually the product of an ugly drug overdose, a fatal combination of pain killers and huffing.
Huffing is awful. You know it, I know it, and it’s probably fair to assume that Bartusiak probably knew it too. Even though inhalants are drugs in the sense that they will make you feel weird when you use them, putting them on lists of “drugs” next to other substance doesn’t feel right. Acid, DMT, marijuana, and other social lubricants can make lame parties more interesting, sex more intense, and college kids more passionate about the musical stylings of Phil Lesh. At best, inhalants make you feel foggy and out of it.
The mechanism by which the chemicals you inhale get you high isn’t even quite clear, because the primary effect doesn’t come from the chemical itself, but from oxygen displacement, or tricking your body into thinking what it just breathed was oxygen. In other words: You’re not getting high from what’s in a can of duster. You’re getting high because it’s not oxygen.
And yet, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, inhalants are still relatively popular among younger teens. Though most kids disapprove of using them, a survey from last year found that one in 20 eighth graders huffed at some point in 2012, while only one in 30 tenth graders used them over that same period. Though these numbers are down from what they were in the 90s, young people of all ages abuse inhalants more frequently than almost every other illicit drug: more than hallucinogens, ecstasy, cocaine, meth, or heroin.
A Woman Was Denied a Marriage License Her Fiancé Can’t Say “I Do.”
A couple residing in the Winnebago County, Illinois was denied the right to get married. Colette Purifoy has been with her partner John Morris for 38 years now. They have children together and have been seeking a marriage license for the past six months. What’s stopping them? In the eyes of the law, John is unable to give his consent due to brain damage.
A few years ago, John checked into OSF St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford, Illinois for what he thought would be simple surgery. Due to a complication that occurred while he was being anesthetized, John’s brain was starved of oxygen, resulting in permanent physical damage. Today he is in a vegetative state, in need of constant live-in care.
Moments before he was to go under the knife, John proposed to Colette for a second time. And, for the second time, she said yes.
The future these two had in mind after John’s surgery was to finally have a big wedding. They didn’t see the tragedy that was ahead, and now John is incapable of physically saying the words “I do.” He cannot leave his home, or sign his name on a sheet of paper. Because of this, he is denied the right to marry the woman he has been with for nearly 40 years. The legal relationship these two now share is that of guardian and ward.
Notes from a Hitter: High school football filled me with rage and damaged my brain
By the age of 18, I had undergone enough head trauma playing football to cause irrevocable damage to my brain. The three (documented) concussions I experienced resulted in a seizure disorder I will deal with for the rest of my life. I don’t discount my own role in the seizures I’ve had—some of them were partially due to poor decisions, lack of sleep, and excessive alcohol consumption—but according to my neurologist, my condition is undoubtedly caused by brain injuries suffered as a high school linebacker whose only goal at the time was to prove to his toughness to his teammates, coaches, and himself. That meant hitting people, and that meant harming my brain.
I consider myself lucky. Lifestyle changes and daily doses of an anticonvulsant have rendered my seizure disorder latent; its effect on my life is now minimal. More importantly, my mental faculties have remained intact enough to allow me to launch a (so far unsuccessful) writing career. Many NFL players aren’t nearly as fortunate—some have committed suicide, presumably due to the mental deterioration caused by their lengthy careers, including Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest rather than the head so his brain could be studied by neurologists after his death, and Junior Seau, whose family is suing the NFL. I hope that every player on the field during the Super Bowl lives a full, long life and doesn’t suffer any mental difficulties as a result of his career—but I know some probably will, and some will have much worse problems than I do.
The Giant Insane People of the NFL Are Back, Finally
For the next 21 or so weeks, America is about to get 20 percent more American. Billion-dollar stadiums—constructs of steel and glass hulking at the edges of our major cities—will overflow with screaming, costumed fans frightening in their tribalism. Young men, muscled and disciplined and serious, jacked up on drugs designed to make them faster and stronger and impervious to pain, will pour out onto fields specially demarcated by white lines. Fireworks and smoke will fill the air. Tanned women with impossibly smooth skin will kick and gyrate as the young men crash into each other. Bones will break, ankles will twist, players will lie limp on the field before being carted away to be cared for by teams of physicians. Each instance of athletic violence committed in service of moving a ball forward will be filmed for study later by dozens of experts. The achievements in these games will be translated into numbers, which will be painstakingly recorded and disseminated to the general populace. After each contest there will be rituals of celebration and atonement by the winners and losers, respectively. Men will speak words into nests of microphones and cameras. The same plays will be shown over and over and over. People will crowd into bars that are plastered with high-definition television screens. The games will be interrupted by images of helmets crashing into each other and exploding and robots playing electric guitars. This will happen every Sunday. The NFL, in all its horrifying, incomprehensible, violent glory is here.