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Substance Abuse

May 1, 2012 | By Kevin Baxter
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders will be lost to the Galaxy for an indefinite period after being enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse treatment program. The Galaxy was informed last Friday that Saunders would be unavailable to play until he completes a treatment protocol. Team officials insisted Tuesday that Saunders did not fail a league-administered drug test but have been evasive in explaining his absence. Saunders missed last Saturday's tie with FC Dallas and is unavailable for Wednesday night's match in Seattle, with Coach Bruce Arena saying only that the keeper was missing for “personal reasons.”   FOR THE RECORD: Galaxy goalkeeper: An earlier version of this story said that New England Revolution player Shalrie Joseph was suspended for six weeks in 2010 for being in a substance abuse program. Although Joseph missed six weeks that season while he was in the program, Major League Soccer said that he was not suspended.
March 10, 2012 | By Esmeralda Bermudez, Los Angeles Times
The walls are bare and the bedroom is still missing a television, but Thomas Simmons couldn't be prouder of his new home. "It's all mine," the 35-year-old says, looking around. "My couch, my bed, my gas stove. It's finally mine. " For nearly a decade, the veteran of Afghanistan lived in homeless shelters and in his car, wandering from Georgia to Nevada to California, his clothes crammed in his trunk and his life in disarray. He was among the estimated 7,400 veterans who are homeless in Los Angeles County — battling post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, alcoholism and mental issues.
March 8, 2012 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Whitney Houston's death last month on the eve of the Grammy awards still has fans and the music industry reeling, but it holds an extra measure of resonance to those whose primary mission is helping struggling musicians put their lives back on track. The singer's death at age 48 came just a few hours after the closing notes of the Recording Academy's MusiCares Person of the Year tribute in Los Angeles, the major fundraiser for the organization's foundation created more than two decades ago to help musicians in need — many of them like Houston wrestling with substance or alcohol abuse issues.
February 12, 2012 | By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
How can you tell if a co-worker might have a substance abuse problem, and what should you do about it? Here are tips from experts: Watch for signs: According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, indications that an employee might have a substance abuse problem include work absences without notification, frequent disappearances from the work site, work performance that alternates between high and low productivity, and progressive deterioration...
January 19, 2012 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
One in five adults in the U.S. had a mental illness in 2010, with people ages 18 to 25 having the highest rates, according to a national survey. The report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health , released Thursday, includes information from 68,487 completed surveys about mental illness (as defined by the American Psychiatric Assn.'s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...
December 11, 2011 | By Sheri Linden, Special to the Los Angeles Times
They can be the life of the party or the black hole at the Thanksgiving table, often both. Love 'em and hate 'em, the addicts among us are a fact of life, and a perennial subject for filmmakers. As habits go, it's one that makes sense. With their raw need, masterful manipulation skills and inevitable unraveling, dipsomaniacs and junkies are riveting movie characters. Even when the film's psychology is pat, as in this year's "Shame," the roles themselves give actors something to sink their teeth into.
December 9, 2011 | By Eric Sondheimer
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby aboard Sunday Silence and won more than 4,000 races in 33 years, announced his retirement Friday. His agent, Tom Knust, said Valenzuela, who recently had his gall bladder removed, was concerned about health and weight issues. "He thought now was a good time to retire," Knust said. Valenzuela, 49, won 4,333 races and 15 riding titles in a career that began in 1978. He rode seven winners in the Breeders' Cup. He also has endured substance-abuse problems that caused the California Horse Racing Board to suspend his license several times.
November 7, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
The first-ever survey of adolescent alcohol and drug abuse to recognize youths of mixed race or ethnicity has found that such kids hover closest to white adolescents in the rate at which they suffer substance abuse disorders. That is not reassuring, because white adolescents are among the most likely ethnic and racial groups to have substance-use disorders. Of all ethnic groups, Native Americans were found to suffer the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse and dependence -- about 15% in a given year.
October 31, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Substance-abuse education and screening should be a part of almost every visit between a doctor and an adolescent, the nation's leading pediatricians said Monday. In a statement published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics , members of the American Academy of Pediatrics said doctors can use a variety of screening tools to inquire into a teen's use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The statement argues that no level of experimentation with drugs is safe.
September 16, 2011 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
New to the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration hospital in 1962, Dr. Ilse Lowenstam realized that many patients were checking out of the residence-care program she oversaw — and in to nearby bars. "We didn't have a real program for alcoholics," Lowenstam later said. "They often had to be excluded from treatment because one of the rules was that they had to be sober to be admitted to the hospital. " Then 50, Lowenstam was a refugee from Nazi Germany who had barely escaped with her medical degree.
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