Archives

ROBIN WILLIAMS HANGED HIMSELF WITH A BELT, HAD CUTS ON HIS WRIST, AUTHORITIES REVEAL

In the days leading up to his death, Robin Williams was said to be “very drawn and thin” and appeared just a “shell” of his usually bright bubbly self, a neighbor of the late actor told the MailOnline.

He was also said to have been under tremendous financial pressures and admitted he was selling a $35million estate in Napa because he could no longer afford it.

What lead Robin Williams to take his own life Sunday night may never been known as Marin County Assistant Deputy Chief Coroner Lt. Keith Boyd would not confirm or deny whether Williams left behind a letter, saying that investigators would discuss “the note or a note” later.

But what is now known is the 63-year-old Williams was last seen alive about 10.30pm on Sunday by his third wife Susan Schneider when she went to bed. He then locked himself in a different bedroom, Boyd said Tuesday afternoon.

His wife left the home at about 10:30 a.m. Monday to run errands, believing Williams to still be asleep.

However, Williams’ personal assistant became concerned when he wasn’t responding to knocks on his door, entered the room and found him dead at about 11:45 a.m., Boyd said, adding rigor mortis had set in by the time first responders arrived.

The personal assistant found Williams “clothed in a seated position, unresponsive, and with a belt secured around his neck with the other end of the belt wedged between the closed closet door and door frame,” Boyd revealed.

Additionally, there were cuts on his left wrist and a pocket knife found near the body indicating he possibly tried another method of suicide before using the belt.

Toxicology tests will determine if Williams had any drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death.

The Oscar-winner had struggled with sobriety and depression and made at least two trips to rehab for treatment, including a visit this summer. Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, Boyd also revealed.

And his publicist also confirmed the Good Will Hunting star had been struggling recently. “He has been battling severe depression of late,” Williams’ media representative, Mara Buxbaum, told CNN on Monday. “This is a tragic and sudden loss.”

Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D, a board-certified psychiatrist with a speciality in addiction medicine and the founder and medical director of Inspire Malibu, says that perhaps Williams needed even more professional help.

Dr. Akikur Mohammad tells CelebZter: ”The tragic death of Robin Williams is another stark reminder of how even the most talented, and privileged, people cannot escape the grasp of alcohol or drug addiction without evidence-based medicine under the supervision of trained medical personnel. The issue here isn’t that Mr. Williams relapsed. Most addicts do, and it has nothing to do with a moral failing or lack of willpower. It’s the nature of the disease. Rather, we should be questioning why he did not get the help that was available and that he desperately needed.

“From what has been reported by the media, and from his own earlier public admissions, Mr. Williams also suffered from depression, in addition to a substance abuse addiction. That’s not unusual. About half of all addicts are diagnosed with a Dual Disorder, meaning  a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue, and by far the most prevalent mental issue with addicts is depression.

“The best outcomes  for addicts with a Dual Disorder are achieved with a comprehensive program that combines  individual therapy or  group therapy along with evidence-based medication. Treatment that simply relies on abstinence, especially in the case of someone like Mr. Williams who had relapsed repeatedly, not only contradicts medical science but is dangerous.”

That danger is sadly evident with the loss of such a formidable talent as Williams, whose body of work will long be cherished.

 The actor's passing is so sad considering how much happiness he brought to others

The actor’s passing is so sad considering how much happiness he brought to others

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

Heroin in the Suburbs: An American Epidemic

Young, white suburbanites are transitioning from popping prescription painkillers to shooting and smoking heroin by the thousands.

“Here, want a blue?”

How could one little pill, legally prescribed to millions of people, be a dangerous way to have a good time?

Mike Duggan remembers those words. He said yes to a “blue,” a 30 milligram oxycodone. It sent him down a slippery slope that gave way to a bruising tumble. Less than three years later, he was shooting heroin into his veins on a daily basis.

“The idea of heroin terrifies you, but a blue oxycodone doesn’t scare you,” said Duggan, who founded an addiction recovery service called Wicked Sober.

Duggan told Healthline that his addiction began with a prescription for Percocet after a hockey injury in high school. A popular athlete in Arlington, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, he liked to drink and have a good time on the weekends.

But the Percocet enticed him with a fierceness he did not at first understand. Soon, he was in college, and it seemed like everyone was popping that blue pill for fun. Before he knew it, he could not get enough oxycodone, the drug of choice for painkiller addicts according to research published in the journal Pain.

Heroin was cheaper and easier to get. The other addicts all “sold it to their friends to keep their own habits going, who sold it to their friends, and so on, and so on,” Duggan told Healthline.

Read More: Heroin Addiction Stories »

‘Unacceptably High’ Rates of Heroin Use

Heroin use among young adults ages 18 to 25 has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2012, 156,000 people tried heroin for the first time, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency has called that statistic “unacceptably high.” It has almost doubled since 2006.

Heroin is no longer a drug used primarily by the poor in inner cities. Now it is a cheap high for young, white suburbanites. Many of them became addicted while raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets in high school and selling the pills at school.

prescription medication overdoseprescription medication overdoseprescription medication overdoseprescription medication overdoseprescription medication overdose

Jody* is the mother of a San Fernando Valley, California man named Alex, who has been sober for almost three months. Jody belongs to a group called BILY, or Because I Love You. The network of parents offer support to one another as their children wrestle with heroin addiction and other problems.

Many parents don’t know their children are abusing heroin. They often start by snorting or smoking it, so there are no needle marks.

“For a long time my head was buried in the sand, and I know it was,” Jody told Healthline. She said high school administrators in the Los Angeles suburbs themselves are in denial about the problem of opiate abuse in their schools. It’s brushed under the rug, she said. Nobody wants to talk about it.

Naloxone Brings Users Back from the Dead

Dr. Leonard Paulozzi, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Healthline that more and younger people are dying of heroin overdoses.

He said most of the CDC’s efforts have been focused on the issue of prescription painkiller addiction. “Heroin is a child of that original epidemic,” he said.

Between 2006 and 2010, heroin-related poisoning deaths increased by 45 percent. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, armed with that statistic, urged law enforcement agencies nationwide to train and equip their forces to use the overdose reversal drug naloxone. During an acute overdose, naloxone rapidly blocks opioid receptors in the brain, throwing the user into instant withdrawal.

Read More: Fighting an ‘Epidemic’ of Painkiller Overdoses »

Naloxone is usually administered intravenously in emergency rooms, but nasal spray versions of the overdose antidote have also been given to community groups working with addicts nationwide. Paulozzi would like to see such a spray become available to the public and for insurers to cover it. Research published in the medical journal BMJ showed that naloxone spray coupled with overdose education significantly reduced overdose death rates.

An auto-injector version of naloxone called Evzio recently came on the market, but it is expensive, Paulozzi said. There is also a shortage of naloxone in the U.S.

Getting Help and, Maybe, a Way Out

Jody’s son Alex* found help at Inspire Malibu Treatment Center. After several previous failed attempts at getting sober, he has almost reached 90 days without using any drugs or alcohol.

Read More: ‘Oxy,’ the Heroin of the 20th Century, Under Scrutiny »

Alex has been helped along by another type of drug, Suboxone, a controversial medication used to treat heroin addicts. Dr. A.R. Mohammad was among the first doctors in California to prescribe the drug, a combination of buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

Between 2002 and 2011, the number of doctors prescribing buprenorphine in Utah increased 67-fold, to 1,088. The number of patients filling those prescriptions increased 444-fold, from 22 in 2002 to 9,763 in 2011, according to the CDC.

The medication treats addiction by acting on the same pleasure receptors in the brain that are stimulated by oxycodone or heroin. However, the medications are safer and generally do not induce the type of behaviors that disrupt a person’s life and render them unable to work.

 ”There is a deep misconception in society about using drugs. Addiction is a chronic mental illness. It is a deadly disease and you can die from it.” – Dr. A.R. Mohammad

Buprenorphine, brand name Subutex, can fulfill cravings that occur when a patient stops abusing illegal drugs. But it has the potential to be abused itself. Patients chop it up, snort it, and inject it. It now comes in a film that can be placed under the tongue, however, reducing the potential for abuse, Mohammad said.

If Suboxone is injected, it will cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that do not occur when it is taken in oral form.

The new oral drugs are preferable to older treatments, such as methadone, Mohammad said, which is less effective and has a high potential for abuse. Another preferred treatment option is Vivitrol, an injectable form of naltrexone, another opioid antagonist.

Suboxone: A Better Drug to Depend On?

Critics of Suboxone contend that a person who takes it is not really sober. But Mohammad, his patients, and their loved ones say it saves lives.

Depending on the duration of opioid abuse, brain damage can be permanent. Mohammad makes no secret of the fact that he has patients who have been on Suboxone for 11 years, but he says there is no other way for them to stay clean.

Read More: ACA and Accessing Substance Abuse Treatment »

“There is a deep misconception in society about using drugs,” Mohammad told Healthline. “Addiction is a chronic mental illness. It is a deadly disease and you can die from it.”

Patients do become dependent on Suboxone, he said. “But the difference between heroin and Suboxone is that on heroin, your life is completely screwed,” he said. “With Suboxone, you can have quality of life. What counts is good quality of life.”

Mohammad said patients return to work, become involved with their families again, and no longer meet the criteria for addiction as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

It is physically impossible for an addict to get high on Suboxone because of its chemical formulation, Mohammad said. And studies like this one that appeared in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in 2010 show that people rarely abuse it.

Paulozzi called Suboxone “an intervention that’s proven to work. The hard part is making it available to everybody and convincing people to get into a program,” he said. ”Most people who have a problem don’t think they need to get help.”

overdose prescription medicationprescription medication overdose

Efforts are under way at the federal and state levels to improve access to Suboxone. Doctor prescribing regulations and insurance coverage of the drug differ state by state.

Suboxone has plenty of opponents, mostly advocates of Alcoholics Anonymous-style 12-step abstinence programs, Mohammad said.

Duggan said Suboxone did not work for him, although he admits that it helps some people. He said Wicked Sober does not turn away those who are on it.

A lasting solution to addiction is “developing fellowship and getting out of one’s self,” Duggan said. “The best way is by helping other people.”

He said Suboxone has definite street value, and some sell it to get the drug of their choice.

Read More: Marijuana Addiction is Rare, but Very Real »

Heightened Risk of HIV and Hepatitis C

Overdose isn’t the only danger young heroin addicts face. The issue of young, suburban white adults injecting heroin has been thrust into the spotlight because many of them are now contracting hepatitis C.

Massive outbreaks have occurred in suburban Boston, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. A report produced last year by the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy confirmed “Rising rates of hepatitis C infection among young injectors, both male and female, primarily white, found in suburban and rural settings, who started opioid use before transitioning to heroin injection.”

More than half of the 17,000 new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. in 2010 were injection drug users, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

But the risk of contracting an STI occurs apart from injection use, too. Research published last month in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment showed that young adults (more likely to be white and middle class) were putting themselves at risk for HIV as well via unprotected sex with casual partners, often in exchange for drugs.

Alex said he indeed lowered his standards sexually while taking heroin. “It was pretty bad,” he said. “My standard in women went right out the window.”

As for sharing needles, he said he only did it once, during a failed attempt in rehab. “It was a last resort type of deal,” he said.

Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers: What You Should Know »

Getting Treatment Where It’s Needed – Fast

Addicts cannot get clean without significant help.

“To expect someone with a brain illness to manage their own life and do it on their own is an unrealistic expectation,” Duggan said.

Duggan’s work at Wicked Sober involves hooking addicts or their loved ones up with resources as quickly as possible. He does not operate a treatment center. Instead, he networks with a vast directory of resources to fast-track a person into treatment.

“The hard part is making [medications] available to everybody and convincing people to get into a program.”Most people who have a problem don’t think they need to get help.” – Dr. Leonard Paulozzi

You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot, he said, and you’ve got to make sure there is an iron-clad support system when the person is released.

Another problem arises when a parent or friend tries to get help for an addict and reaches out. Usually, a treatment professional says they have to speak directly with the patient if they are an adult.

“If someone says, ‘I do need help and I’m ready right now,’ to a loved one, it can take a day or two to find help,” Duggan said.

He recalled calling several times for help when he was an addict, but being told there was a waiting list or to call the next day. “My solution was to get high,” he said.

Read More: All You Need to Know About Addiction »

*Last names withheld to protect source privacy

Images by Tony Bueno.

Jennifer Lopez Is Booty-ful At Age 45

Aging does not mean you give up and hand in your sexy card. Raquel Welch is 73 and still gives men the full salute.

jlo

Jennifer Lopez’s famous backside was ground zero -according to premiere Butt doctor to the stars Dr. Constantino Mendieta of Miami – for shifting the focus of desirability from boobs to bottom. It was that darn Versace dress she wore in 2000 that shifted the eternal battle in the war between a man’s gaze between tits and ass. Ass is currently in the lead.

In her aptly titled single, “Booty.” Jennifer Lopez at age 45-year-old star poses in a black-and-white bodysuit that reveals most of her buttocks.

She collaborates with Pitbull, Chris Brown and more on the track, which is (if you can believe it) about shaking her well toned behind.

booty

#bootyfromtheblock #bootyandthebeat #naturalbooty #bootybootybootybootybootyeverywhere #jlobooty #LOL @pitbull @chrisbrownofficial @asiabryant @samhookmusic @diplo photo by @gomillionandleupold,” she captioned the above photo on Instagram.

Dr. Mendieta is a popular gluteal augmentation specialist who has penned formal professional studies and authored the book “The Art of Gluteal Sculpting.”

The dramatic increase in requests for gluteal contouring procedures requires is a direct result of actresses like J-Lo according to Dr. Mendieta. His body sculpting work is exceptional and he is featured on The Doctors, VICE (HBO), and Access Hollywood to discuss all things “bottom line.”

mendi

Dr. Mendieta tells Monsters and Critics, “Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé started the craze for an enhanced derriere, not just bigger, but curvier, with nipped in waists and smoothed out silhouettes.”

Blame it on Brazil too, where the perfect beaches and fashion trend of the thong opened up Americans to the idea of a rounder, curvier bum ideal.

“Human buttocks can be augmented by using implants, typically consisting of silicone, or through fat grafting which is really the preferred method,” says Dr. Mendieta.

Dr. Mendieta told M&C in a previous interview that 50 to 75 percent of grafted fat remains intact in the rear for the long haul. “There is less pain, faster recovery and far less risk of complications with fat grafting for patients,” Dr. Mendieta said.

“About 85% of my patient business is gluteal enhancement,” says Dr. Mendieta.”New techniques in Vaser Liposuction allow a superior removal of fat from the areas no one wants, like the waist and flanks, and we then treat the fat in a special process and inject into the areas lacking, reshaping a patient’s physique with their own natural tissue.  The rate of retention now is excellent, with about a 20-30% reduction over time. Some people need minor tweaks to their initial surgery, but the results are so natural and pleasing, it’s really life changing.”

Dr. Mendieta explained there were two general methods used to augment the behind, implants and fat transfers.

Implants, according to Dr. Mendieta, come with more risks than the preferred fat transfers. “What I specialize in is a three-dimensional sculpting of flesh. My work is painstaking and precise, no short-cuts.  Complications with fat grafting are rare. Implants have a much higher risk because the suture wounds can open up or the implants can harden.”

Original Article

More about Dr. Constantino Mendieta

Synthetic Marijuana Spice A Lethal Gamble, One Family’s Story VIDEO

Frightening news out of California today as the grieving parents of one young man are warning other families about “Spice,” a synthetic form of marijuana that can potentially kill.

spice

Local affiliate KTLA’s Lu Parker exclusively reported that the parents of a 19-year-old California teen who recently died after smoking synthetic marijuana claim their son had one hit off of the dried herbs that ultimately swelled his brain and caused his death.

On July 11, KTLA reported that Connor Eckhardt, a promising young student,  inhaled one hit of dried herbs that had been sprayed with chemicals to cause a pot-like high, his parents told KTLA.

“In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe, and one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up,” Connor’s father, Devin Eckhardt, said.

spice2

Connor Eckhardt reportedly fell asleep, then fell into a coma with his brain swelling, and ultimately dying.

Frequent contributor to Monsters and Critics in the area of addiction is expert Akikur Mohammad, M.D., the CEO and founder of Inspire Malibu Treatment Center. Dr. Mohammad is a board-certified psychiatrist with a second board certification in addiction medicine. In addition to his role as Inspire Malibu’s CEO, Dr. Mohammad is Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at Keck School of Medicine at USC where he is active in teaching medical students and residents the subject of addiction medicine and psychiatry.

Dr. Mohammad tells Monsters and Critics, “The harmful effects of ingesting these product can include paranoia, anxiety, heart attacks and seizures, and even death sadly as in Mr. Eckhardt’s situation.”

“Synthetic drugs have become a very real health hazard for drug abusers because no one knows exactly what is in them. They are very strong and they damage both the brain and the body. Users have been known to become psychotic, violent or permanently brain damaged,” Dr. Mohammad added.

“We addiction experts, often times cannot figure out what they have been poisoning themselves with, and the users don’t necessarily know either, these drugs can’t be detected in routing tests which makes the detox and withdrawal process complicated.”

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

Alcohol, Drug Abuse a Problem Among Seniors Too

Heavy drinking is defined as 15 or more

Heavy drinking is defined as 15 or more drinks a week for men and eight or more drinks a week for women. (Credit: iStock)

Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a stunning finding that made front-page news: One in 10 deaths among working-age adults is related to alcohol.

While the report covered only people ages 20-64, adults 65 and older are not immune from the consequences of alcohol abuse. An earlier government study indicated that more than 10 percent of adults 65 and older were binge drinkers or heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking is defined as 15 or more drinks a week for men and eight or more drinks a week for women. One drink is the equivalent of 1.5 ounces of liquor, 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. Because many older adults are retired and living alone, their heavy drinking often goes undetected.

“If they are living by themselves, there is a higher risk of complications and death than when they are with family and there’s someone there to check on them,” says Dr. Akikur Mohammad, chief executive of Inspire Malibu, a California-based drug and alcohol treatment center. Mohammad is also professor of addiction medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

In fact, the number of deaths caused by alcohol among older adults is understated, Mohammad says. He points to a typical case of a man who died after getting drunk at home and falling and hitting his head. “The postmortem report showed that he died from a brain hemorrhage,” Mohammad says. “But the cause was not a brain hemorrhage, it was alcoholism.”

In addition to alcohol dependency, some older adults become addicted to painkillers, tranquilizers or sleeping medications. Most have no history of drug abuse. “They’ve never been in contact with those drugs,” Mohammad says. “But as they get older, they have knee surgery, or any other surgery, so they get introduced to opiates.”

While the typical patient seeking help for alcohol abuse at Mohammad’s center is male, the majority of those seeking help for prescription drug abuse are women. The U.S. Administration on Aging says that as many as 11 percent of women 60 and older misuse prescription medications.

Still, it’s never too late to get help. Mohammad says one 70-year-old man came to the doctor’s treatment center after 48 years of heavy drinking. When Mohammad asked him why he finally sought help, the patient said, “I want to live a little bit longer.”

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers advice for seniors struggling with substance abuse at nwsdy.li/seniordrinking and nwsdy.li/seniordrugs.

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

Dangerous Curves: Popularity Of Butt Enhancement Leads To Illegal, Sometimes Fatal Black Market

J Lo

Jennifer Lopez and Puff Daddy at the 2000 Grammy Awards. Reuters

Dr. Constantino Mendieta, a Miami plastic surgeon, can tell you when and where the problem was born: At the 2000 Grammys when Jennifer Lopez wore a green Versace dress that accentuated her curvaceous derriere, prompting legions of women to search for ways to replicate the look.

 Nose jobs, breast implants and liposuction were well-established procedures by that point, but there hadn’t been significant demand for buttocks enhancement. When women asked how to emulate the look they saw on TV, they were offered two options: a $10,000 buttocks augmentation procedure performed by a plastic surgeon or $200 shots of silicone and other chemicals administered by unlicensed individuals in motel rooms, basements and garages. For those who have chosen the latter, doctors have seen everything from kitchen oil to cement to crazy glue being used. The injections have always been illegal. The results were quick and dramatic, which attracted even more customers, but after about 10 years the synthetic substances tend to migrate to other regions in the body and can cause irreparable damage, even death. Some women are living with lifelong deformities. Others are going to jail.

Since the procedures are illegal, statistics on the number of women receiving the injections and the injuries they cause are not readily available. But doctors say they are still seeing women — more of them, in fact — requesting the look. In the United States, nearly 12,000 buttocks augmentation procedures were performed last year, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reports. TheFBI said the number of cases where individuals pose as fake doctors to perform the illegal injections is on the rise especially in Florida, New York, California and Texas.

“Initially it looks fantastic. It looks and feels amazing. The problem is in 10 years. That’s when the body starts to reject it,” said Mendieta, who specializes in butt augmentation surgery. While not all bodies reject the synthetic materials, he said, those that do can be disfigured for life or face dangerous illness.

“I think we’re going to see an epidemic of these reactions in the next few years,” Mendieta said. “I think we’re heading for a big problem.”

Dr. Christopher Khorsandi, a plastic surgeon in Las Vegas, agrees. He told IBTimes he estimates thousands of illegal silicone injection procedures are performed each year in the United States.

The problem may be even more widespread in Latin America. In South America, silicone injections have been used for decades. Dr. Lina Triana, a plastic surgeon in Cali, Colombia, about 300 miles west of Bogota, is treating an increasing number of patients suffering side effects.

“I see a lot of women who were injected up to 10 years ago who are now having reactions,” Triana said. She has seen patients who were injected with everything from industrial grade silicon to kitchen oil — materials the body can’t absorb and which cannot be completely removed. “It’s an epidemic in Colombia,” Triana said.

Recently, popular culture has become even more focused on women’s backsides: Twerking and “belfies” – butt selfies —  have led more women to feel they need to change their shape. High heels, thigh shapers, thongs, butt padding and skinny jeans can give the illusion of fuller curves, but they are temporary and not necessarily as dramatic as what plastic surgery can do.

“In the old days, it was more about being as skinny and a little square,” Mendieta said. “Jennifer Lopez single-handedly turned that around and said, ‘Hey, it’s about curves.’”

Unlike silicone injections, which are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, plastic surgeons have safe and legal methods to give women bigger bottoms. Doctors can harvest an individual’s own fat cells taken from other parts of their bodies — known as fat grafting —  or place a silicone implants into the patient’s butt cheeks.

Cosmetic surgeons have witnessed a 58 percent increase in the number of buttocks augmentations performed last year in the U.S., the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said. Outside U.S., large buttocks have been popular far longer, particularly in South American countries such as Brazil. There were more than 63,000 butt augmentation procedures performed in 2013 in Brazil — nearly five times the number performed in the United States that  year, the latest statistics from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons indicate.

Mendieta and Khorsandi have felt this high demand firsthand. Ten years ago, 20 percent of Mendieta’s practice focused on buttocks procedures. Today, it’s 90 percent. When Khorsandi started his practice six years ago, he would see one patient per quarter. Now he sees one to two patients a week.

Augmentation surgeries have long recovery periods. There’s significant pain and swelling, and patients can’t sit down for weeks. In the United States, the average cost for butt lifts and butt augmentations are around $4,000, the ASAPS said, but the procedures can triple in price depending on the city and surgeon. For instance, Mendieta charges anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000 for fat grafting procedures.

The alternative may seem more appealing to some. Illegal injections are quick, non-surgical and cheaper, costing as little as $100 to $200 a shot, Dr. Chukwuemeka Onyewu, a plastic surgeon in Silver Spring, Maryland, who has treated patients suffering from problems related to illegal buttock injections, told IBTimes.

Within a month of receiving the injections, the patient’s posterier will begin to show changes. Many women receive repeated injections, anywhere from 10 to 20 injections per side, per session, depending on how much volume is placed in each needle.

“While it’s not clear if this is to create even more volume, I would suspect that some are returning to try to cover up contour irregularities and camouflage problems with more silicone, doubling down on a bad decision,” Khorsandi said.

In the United States, the ease of administering the injections has led to “pumping parties” — gatherings that are the underground version of Botox parties. Instead of taking place in Orange County mansions with injections administered by doctors, “pumping parties” take place in hotel rooms, garages, basements and back rooms with unlicensed practitioners as hosts. Some beauty spas offer the shots on a secret menu. A quick search on Alibaba, the Chinese online commerce company, shows hundreds of listings for injections for sale with points of origin ranging from Thailand to Qatar.

“The reports sound like they are something out of Tarantino movie — secretive meeting spots, unsavory individuals, questionable products being injected, and unsanitary conditions,” Khorsandi said. Six years ago, he started to see patients who had received the injections in clinics in South America and Mexico, but that has changed. “Due to the growing demand for a shapelier bottom, the injectors are showing up on our shores — caulking guns in hand.”

He described how a patient came to his office recently with a bad reaction from silicone injections she received in Tijuana, Mexico, 20 years ago.

“Her shape is good but the silicone is hard as a rock.  She says that she knows of two Mexican women who travel from city to city [in America] and do it in people’s houses,” Khorsandi said.

Participants fall victim to what he called “white coat deception,” Mendieta said. They are fooled by someone claiming to have medical training when in fact the person has none. While some have been arrested for practicing medicine without a license, and in other cases, murder, many continue to fly under the radar, injecting women all across the country. To date, deaths have been reported in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New York.

In mid-July a New York City woman was sentenced to two to three years in prison after she was found administering illegal butt injections and closing up wounds with Krazy Glue. Another famous incident took place in Miami. Ron Oneal Morris, who was born a man but identifies as a woman, was sentenced to 336 days in prison after she was found injecting super glue and Fix-A-Flat into women’s buttocks during a four-year period.

In Mississippi, a woman died days after being injected with a “silicone like substance” in her buttocks that spilled “all over the place” during her autopsy, an investigator testified in September, the Associated Press reported. Her alleged injector, Morris Garner, 53, who goes by the name Tracey Lynn Garner, is currently awaiting trial. If convicted of two murder charges, she could serve a life sentence.

Hip-hop performer “Black Madam,” formerly known as Padge Victoria Windslowe is awaiting trial in Philadelphia for the death of a woman she allegedly injected with silicone. The woman, 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi, flew from London to Philadelphia to receive the injections at an airport hotel in 2011. She died soon after. In 2012, Windslowe was arrested after another woman complained of being hosptalized twice following injections Windslowe gave her at “pumping parties” in the East Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Most of the time 10 to 20 shots are done per session. There’s no regulation — or consistency — about what is in the syringe. When the injections were first performed in the 1980s (mostly to smooth out facial pitting), medical grade silicone was brought in from Mexico to do so. While that kind of silicone is not necessarily safe, the risk of contamination was low compared with today’s cocktails because it was injected in small amounts. The risk of silicone spreading to other parts of the body was relatively small, unlike injections in larger regions such as the breasts and the butt.

Also unlike silicone implants, where the synthetic material is encased in a prosthesis, injecting free silicone oil into the body gives it ample opportunity to migrate. When the body recognizes the foreign substance, it tries to expel it in one of two ways: breaking it up or moving it to other organs for secretion. But silicone is a synthetic polymer, which means the body can’t absorb it.

“Raw silicone is vastly different than the silicone inside an FDA-approved breast implant,” Khorsandi said. “Raw silicone can cause inflammatory reaction when injected directly into the soft tissues. It can embolize, it can become infected and it can kill you.”

Ever since the silicone injections became popular for the breasts and the butt, the use of medical grade silicone from Mexico — which is expensive — was discontinued because prices were too high. Recently, pumping party hosts have been known to use cheaper alternatives such as mineral oil to achieve the same look.

Liquid silicone injected into the body has been a known hazard since the 1940s. Back then, doctors in Japan and Las Vegas injected non-medical grade silicone for breast enlargement surgeries. The substance eventually spread and caused serious medical problems, and in some cases required mastectomies to correct the surgeons’ poor judgment. Some cases were fatal. By the 1960s, silicone injections for cosmetic purposes had been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But that didn’t stop it from being used. Liberace receivednumerous injections into his cheekbones. Elaine Young, a Hollywood real estate agent for the stars, followed Liberace’s model and received injections in the 1970s; the silicone eventually spread from her cheeks, resulting in vision problems and disfiguring lumps. She underwent 46 corrective surgeries and died in 2006 of cancer that originated in her face. Today, the only FDA-approved silicone injection is used in a procedure to repair retinal detachment.

Whether it’s pure silicone or a concoction of cement, glue and tire sealant, bad reactions may not happen right away. Once injected, the substances can take years to migrate to other parts of the body and cause blood clots, septic infections and sometimes death. On the skin’s surface, patients may see polyps, boils, skin discoloration and necrosis.

“The skin turns jet black. It’s firm, like a hard leather handbag,” Onyewu said. An individual’s hips and butt will feel like “big golf balls” are underneath it, he said.

Once a patient seeks out help from a plastic surgeon, their options are limited.

Onyewu has treated patients who received the illegal shots for about five years and has seen more patients with deformed butts enter his office in recent years. That could be due to the high demand for bigger behinds, but he speculates it could also be the result of plastic surgeons shying away from treating butts loaded with junk.

“I think a lot of doctors are reluctant to treat these kind of patients because they’re not sure what they’re dealing with,” Onyewu said. “There’s no precedent — this is so new. A lot of people won’t even touch them. When they find somebody who has experience, who has done this before with some success, then they all come out of the woodwork.”

For the past six years, Khorsandi has treated numerous patients who have received the shots both overseas and in the U.S. He’s sympathetic to their discomfort, but warns them that corrective action presents hazards of its own.

“I often refuse to remove silicone that is injected into patients who are simply unhappy with the cosmetic outcome. There has to be a good reason to go in and try to take it out, because the injections can be anywhere in the buttocks — in the fat, in the muscle, and around nerves and vascular structures,” Khorsandi said. He described how a colleague tried to help a patient with complications from silicone injections by removing the substance. That patient went on to have further complications and died under the surgeon’s care, Khorsandi said. “The risk is there even in skilled hands,” Khorsandi said.

In the beginning Onyewu said he tried to suction out as much of the substance as he could. Over time, his process has evolved to treating some of the affected area with steroids to tone down the inflammation. “Now I’m comfortable with the path of physiology that’s going on and I tailor the treatment according to that,” he said.

Onyewu described a 36-year-old patient he has treated for the past several years who received illegal silicone injections at a pumping party in Baltimore. “Both buttock cheeks have big craters and eroded skin,” he said. He estimates he has performed six to eight operations since she sought his care. “She has a big open wound on one of her buttock cheeks and the other is severely scarred,” he said. Her dressings have to be changed twice a day, by herself. There is also a machine that she carries around with her designed to help close the wound.

Almost as disturbing is the lack of remorse some patients express about their choices, Onyewu said.

“There’s a couple people who said they would do it again. They would just pick a different person, somebody who has a better track record,” Onyewu said. “They don’t really seem to get that they nearly lost their lives with that stuff.”

Dr. Constantino Mendieta

Disney’s ‘Tangled’ Audiobook Brought To Life By Renee Raudman’s Narration

tangled

Tangled, Disney’s 2010 blockbuster based on the Rapunzel story, is finally available in audiobook form recorded by award winning narrator, Renée Raudman.

Disney released Tangled: The Junior Novelization, in 2010 in conjunction with the premiere of their feature film of the same name. The original film earned over $600 million and an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2010. Now children of all ages, with the help of Raudman’s classic and enthralling voice, can re-live the exciting and enchanting story of a young, vibrant girl who discovers her own magic and path.

la mag renee

Renee Raudman – August 2014 Best of LA issue of Los Angeles Magazine

Renée Raudman has made a career out of captivating people with her voice and bringing them into a world she has created that extends beyond the authors word’s and was recently featured as an L.A. Archetype in Los Angeles Magazine’s Best of LA issue.

She has recorded over 300 titles with Tangled being one of her most cherished. Her welcoming and lyrical voice enchants listeners with stories by successful authors from Ilona Andrews to Danielle Steele–and now Disney fans get to enjoy her readings.  She has also recorded many bestselling titles for Blackstone over the years too.

Publishers and authors of modern fiction, non-fiction, and YA (young adult) trust in Renée’s honed skills for conveying their story to avid listeners. She has recorded for some of the best known authors in the world, including Catherine Coulter and Suzanne Brockmann.

Renée is lauded by critics for her commitment to story, her differentiation of characters, and her ability to convey emotion and the writer’s intent on every page – whether it be fiction, non-fiction, memoir or young adult. She is known for her strong voicing of both her female and male characters.

Prior to her career in book narration, she was a successful television actress with credits that included the recurring role of Jordon, on ABC’s “One Life To Live,” Phyllis on NBC’s “Passions,” in addition to guest-starring in roles on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journey” and more. She has voiced characters on Fox’s “The Simpsons,” can be heard on Cartoon Network as Miss Butterbean on “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” and is the voice of the narrator on the E! Entertainment’s series “Starmaps.”  Gamers still adore her sultry Ukrainian Weapons Analyst character Nastasha Romanenko from the original Metal Gear Solid.

For the past seven years, however, she has been laser focused on audiobooks, with her own career expanding exponentially as audiobooks became a $1.2 billion-a-year industry. Her rich narrative audio style helped established the trend widely used now, creating a more fully theatrical audio experience.

_DSC3196

Renée Raudman

“When I was asked to record Disney’s Tangled audiobook, I was over the moon!” said Raudman. “I have a 3-yr old precious niece who LOVED the movie, and I’ve watched it with her several times. For me, recording Tangled was a very personal and meaningful opportunity. It was also nerve-wracking in a way! I mean, giving voice to something so iconic both personally and universally is pretty scary!”

Disney’s Tangled is timeless, a fun adventure where the swashbuckling thief Flynn Rider meets Rapunzel–the girl with seventy feet of magical hair.

Together they go on wild, hilarious, and heartfelt adventures when Rapunzel leaves her isolated tower for the first time.

Forget Selfies, the hottest new trend is Belfies… and you can thank Kim Kardashian for that

Kim showed off her famous booty this week

Kim showed off her famous booty this week

On Thursday, July 17, Kim Kardashian showed off her famous asset — again!

The 33-year-old reality star posted a photo of herself on Instagram, showing her tanning her famous derriere in Mexico with the caption: “#OurLovelyLadyLumps”

Naturally the pic garnered the attention Mrs. West was hoping for.

And thanks to Kim, the hottest new trend in pop culture is the “Belfie”, also known as the butt-selfie.

Rihanna is getting in on the belfie trend

Rihanna is getting in on the belfie trend

According to AOL.com, “Plenty of celebs have jumped on the belfie train- obviously Kim Kardashian, Rihanna- with her more subtle belfies…And Heidi Klum, just to name a few. And we’d be crazy not to reference the glutes queen, Jen Selter! She basically became famous for her derriere. It even landed her a spread in Vogue.”

But to celebrity plastic surgeon and butt specialist, Dr. Constantino Mendieta, getting a good belfie is nothing new, having worked on some of the most photographed derrieres around the world to make them the most photographed derrieres around the world

“I have patients who have increased their Instagram following by posting belfies.,” he tells CelebZter. “Everyone wants more followers these days and it seems the way to do it is by posting these backside selfies.

“It used to be about looking good in a bikini or for your man, but now everyone wants a great backside so they can take a great belfie for their Instagram or Facebook.  Having a great butt is the new status symbol and there is nothing wrong with that at all.  I’m here to help them get it safely if they can’t (or won’t) do it naturally. ”

And with 25 years experience, he might know a thing or two how to achieve that perfect Belfie.

There's Kim's famous asset

There’s Kim’s famous asset

Dr. Constantino Mendieta