Health Line / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Scientists Find First Gene Network Linked to Alcoholism December 10, 2014

Scientists Find Alcoholism Gene Network

The University of Texas at Austin has served up two shots of scientific research that could help fill a tall order – faster approval of more medications to treat alcoholism.
The Affordable Care Act contains provisions for expanding alcoholism treatment, and many dependency specialists agree that more medications are needed to supplement psycho-social therapy. So far, only three medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcoholism: disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Vivitrol), and acamprosate (Campral).

Related News: ACA Brings Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment to Millions »

Genes Gang Up to Create Dependence

The first of two studies conducted by scientists at the University’s Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research appears in the current edition of Molecular Psychiatry. It shows that among people with an alcohol use disorder, certain genes cluster together inside the brain, much like drinking buddies of all types gather around the bar. It’s an important discovery, because it goes beyond simply identifying genes known to exist among drinkers to show how they conspire to create disease and dependence.

In a second study published today in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Waggoner scientists analyzed the effects of certain medications already approved by the FDA on mice that consumed alcohol.

Scientists Find First Gene Network Linked to Alcoholism

Both studies aim to identify medications already approved by the FDA that could be effective in the treatment of alcoholism, researcher Dayne Mayfield told Healthline.

Mayfield and his colleagues examined tissue samples from the brains of 15 alcoholics and 15 non-alcoholics. The brains, provided by New South Wales Tissue Resource Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia, came from donors who underwent a rigorous screening process. They had to be “pure alcoholics,” and not users of other brain-altering substances as well, Mayfield said.

Using RNA sequencing technology, they examined molecular gene networks inside the tissue. They could see for the first time how genes work together to create alcohol dependence.

A study on an additional 240 brain tissue samples will offer more insight but will take some time to complete, Mayfield said.

Could Cholesterol, Diabetes Drugs Treat Alcoholism?

In the second study, the researchers showed that two currently approved medications reduced alcohol consumption in lab mice. The medications, fenofibrate (Tricor), which is used to treat cholesterol, and pioglitazone (Actos), which is used to control blood sugar levels, may reduce cravings for alcohol in people trying to quit drinking, the researchers found.

Related News: Majority of Heavy Drinkers Don’t Discuss it with Their Doctors »

The next step is human laboratory studies using a limited number of people with problem drinking, lead investigator R. Adron Harris said in a statement. “We are learning a lot about the genetics of alcoholism — there is certainly a strong genetic component — and we need to use these genetics studies to find new biochemical targets for drug development,” Harris said. “However, it is extremely slow and expensive to develop and test a new drug, so progress in my lifetime is most likely if we use an existing, FDA-approved drug for a new purpose.”

Only about half of all alcoholics develop the disease due to genetic factors, said Dr. Akikur Reza Mohammad of Inspire Malibu Treatment Center in Malibu, California. He said using chemicals to correct the biological causes of alcoholism, combined with group therapy, will lead to better outcomes.

“After prolonged use of drugs and alcohol, changes happen to the brain on a molecular level. If you can hit those changes with medication, people have a better chance of staying sober.”
Dr. Akikur Reza Mohammad, Inspire Malibu Treatment Center

Mohammad told Healthline that Mayfield’s work proves what he and other addiction treatment specialists have long believed. “After prolonged use of drugs and alcohol, changes happen to the brain on a molecular level,” he said. “If you can hit those changes with medication, people have a better chance of staying sober.”

The changes in the brain lead to what Mohammad calls “reward deficiency syndrome.”  People with opiate addictions repeatedly trick the brain into rewarding them by producing endorphins. Eventually, the brain won’t make endorphins anymore, he said. Alcohol similarly changes receptors in the brain to make an alcoholic crave liquor.

“If we can fix the reward deficiency with medication, we can fix the problem,” Mohammad said.

Alcoholism is a heterogeneous disease that affects each sufferer differently, Mayfield told Healthline. He stressed, “There is no magic bullet. Any treatment program would include medication and, most likely, some of kind of behavioral therapy (such as Alcoholics Anonymous),” he said. “Successful intervention will likely include a combined approach.

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Careers in Psychology / Dr. Akikur Mohammad DR. AKIKUR MOHAMMAD December 2, 2014


Dr Mohammad

Psychiatrist, Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D., is an addiction medicine specialist. He is board-certified in addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine and in Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Additionally, Dr. Mohammad is the Founder and CEO of “Inspire Malibu”, a rehabilitation center in Southern California. Dr. Mohammad is currently in the process of writing a new book.

What made you want to become a psychiatrist?

At an early age I became curious about how the brain works, so at medical school it was natural for me to want to pursue neuroscience. The brain is the control tower for the entire body and is, by far, the most complex organ of the human body. Yet, compared to other organs, such as the liver, the kidney and so on, very little is known about its physiology–how it works. It made me curious as a student and has continued to pique my interest throughout my professional career.

Did you always want to work in the field of addiction?

It was during medical school that I was first exposed to the emerging science of addiction medicine. What I found fascinating was how people in general, as well as mental health professionals, were all so disconnected to the development of evidence-based medicine in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. The world seemed, for the most part, stuck in the early 20th century when it came to treatment of this chronic disease. Half of those who have a substance addiction also have a dual diagnosis co-morbidity, such as depression. But, too often, treatment is focused exclusively on the cognitive disorder at the exclusion of the physical addiction.

Please discuss your motivation and inspiration for creating Inspire Malibu.

Substance Use Disorder is multifaceted, requiring both pharmaceutical and behavioral treatments. There are some 14,000 so-called rehab clinics in the U.S. -more than the number of Starbucks. Yet, only 10% offer any evidence-based treatment and more often than not, it’s relegated to the initial phase of treatment, detox.

By and large, the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction in the U.S. is grounded in the 12-step philosophy developed in the 1930s by A.A. However, by its own admission, A.A. only has a success rate of 5% of adherents being sober after one year.

It became clear that there was a need for a facility that focused on treatment, first and foremost, based on the recognition of alcohol and drug addiction as a genetically based chronic disease and second, treatment consisting of the latest in evidence-based medication and protocols. There is a room for A.A.-styled, 12-step programs for some patients in an overall treatment program, but it should never be the focus of treatment. To rely exclusively on 12-step therapy for alcohol and drug addiction is not only ineffective but can be dangerous -even life threatening.

Where did you go to school?

I grew up in what is now the nation of Bangladesh. I attended medical school at Friendship University in Moscow in what was then the U.S.S.R. After immigrating to the U.S., my internship and residency program was at the Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry.

What groups/non-profits are you involved with? Which would you recommend for non-MDs in the field of addiction?

American Medical Association, California Medical Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM)
Both ASAM and CSAM have membership programs for non-physician professionals.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

I would point out that addiction medicine is a growing field with a huge demand. One in six Americans has a substance abuse problem. The vast majority of physicians have little to no training in addiction medicine, so there is a great need for trained professionals.

What is special or rewarding about working in the field of addiction medicine?

On a personal level, I experience the satisfaction of knowing that I have helped to save the lives of hundreds of people with the chronic disease of alcohol and drug addiction. It’s extremely gratifying to educate addicts and their families about the fact that addiction isn’t something to be ashamed of any more than having diabetes. Most people simply don’t know what science now says about the disease and how far its treatment has advanced.

What would you change about this specialty to make it better?

The biggest challenge at the moment is dragging the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction from the 1930s into the 21st century.

Please tell me about your background as a young person. Were you influenced by addictive behaviors?

I came from a family of many physicians. No, no one in my family exhibited addictive behaviors.

What one thing do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your career?

By the end of my career, I hope to see science fully incorporated into the treatment of Substance Use Disorder, the licensing of all treatment centers (and rehab clinics) under uniform and strict medical guidelines, and the recognition by the public that 12-step programs should never be a substitute for treatment of addiction by medical professionals.

Science and medicine have advanced to the point where there is really no ethical excuse for denying comprehensive medical, behavioral, and psychological help to those who suffer from the medical illness of addiction. There are proven models of success, and these must be utilized to alleviate this crisis in public health.

Please tell us about the book you are writing.

The book, tentatively entitled The New Science of Overcoming Addiction, is meant for the layman. It’s the first book to be written by a medical professional that explains the current thinking and findings about Substance Use Disorder. It also informs the reader about the latest advances in the evidence-based treatment of the chronic brain disease of addiction, and how and where to get bona-fide treatment.

The book’s premise is that Substance Use Disorder is multifaceted, requiring both pharmaceutical and behavioral treatments. Alcoholism and drug addiction are complex conditions comprised of biological, social, and psychological components.

Instead of arguing over the relative importance of the biological, psychological, and social factors, the book suggests that all of these must be taken into consideration when designing the appropriate treatment for the individual patient. As an addiction medicine physician, I am as interested in how people stop using drugs as why they use them.

How have you changed as a result of the book-writing process?

I have become more dedicated than ever to bringing the treatment of the chronic disease known as alcoholism and drug addiction into the 21st century.

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Managing Holiday “Spirits” Key To Safe Thanksgiving, Expert Advice November 25, 2014


By all means, deck your halls with balls of holly… but keep holiday spirits in check when it comes to the punchbowl.

Akikur Mohammad, M.D., a leading addition expert, board-certified psychiatrist, says that while moderate drinking is fine for most of us (note caveat below), it’s never a good idea to gorge on cocktails, beer and wine just because it’s the holidays. (more…)

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Five Biggest Myths About Drug Addiction November 17, 2014

Medical Expert Reveals Fiction Vs. Fact About Heroin, Cocaine, Meth and Marijuana

drug main

Heroin addiction is largely confined to minority populations in poor, urban areas, right? Not so fast. While that might have been the profile of a heroin user 20 years ago, today’s addict is white, young and living in the affluent ‘burbs.

So says a comprehensive new study called, appropriately, “The Changing Face of Heroine Use In The United States,” published this week by the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The study also found that contrary to popular belief, most heroin addicts today did not start on their “silk road” to perdition with another illicit drug, such as marijuana. Instead, most first started getting high with prescription painkillers, likely which they either found at home, from a friend or obtained illegally on the street.


Given that the study destroyed two popular beliefs about addiction, we thought it high time (pardon the pun) to explore whether there might be other myths to be busted. Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D., a physician specializing in addiction medicine, and an adjunct professor at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, wasted no time in setting the record straight.

Here are five more myths about drug addiction as answered by Dr. Mohammad, who is also the medical director and founder of Inspire Malibu treatment center in Los Angeles.


Fiction #1: The probability of becoming a heroin addict is extremely high, even if you just use it once.

Fact: Most heroin users – like most users of all drugs – never become addicts. Your probability of becoming dependent is estimated to be 32 percent for tobacco, 23 percent for heroin, 17 percent for cocaine, 15 percent for alcohol, 11 percent for stimulants other than cocaine, 9 percent for cannabis, 9 percent for anxiolytic, sedative, and hypnotic drugs, 8 percent for analgesics, 5 percent for psychedelics, and 4 percent for inhalants. Bottom line: Most people simply stop using their drug of choice before it becomes a real problem.

meth face

Before and after- the effects of Meth. Pictured here is meth abuser Andrew at age 18 (left) and age 25. Photo courtesy of CBS News.

Fiction #2: No question, meth and crack are the most dangerous of the popular intoxicants today.

Fact: Actually, it’s alcohol. By any measure, alcohol is far more destructive to the user and society as whole than any other drug. From a physiological perspective, alcohol is particularly pernicious because it doesn’t affect just one or two brain receptors but multiple receptors simultaneously. That makes alcohol extremely difficult to counteract with medications to stop the craving that is the hallmark of all substance addiction. As for society, approximately 88,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from alcohol – many times more than the deaths caused by all other drugs combined.

Fiction #3: When it’s all said done, the AA and its 12-step philosophy is still the best way for an addict to kick his (or her) habit.

Fact: Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by anatomical and functional changes in the human brain. This is recognized by all the leading medical organizations in the U.S. and worldwide including the American Medical Association, the National Institutes of Health and the World Helath Organization. Indeed, with the advent of new diagnostic technology in the Nineties, such as MRIs and CT scans, the anatomical changes could be clearly seen and studied with brain-imaging technology.

For this reason alone, the AA philosophy does not work. People with the chronic disease of addiction can no more stop their disease by sheer willpower than a diabetic can cure his disease. Indeed, by their own admission, AA only works about 5% of the time.

That’s not to say that for some people, AA can’t be part of an overall addiction treatment program, which also includes pharmaceutical medications and lifestyle modifications. But it flies in the face of 21st century science to think of AA alone as an effective treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction.

Shockingly, even today, an estimated 90% of the approximately 14,000 rehab clinics in the U.S. do not use any evidence-based medicine in their treatment programs and, instead, rely entirely for treatment on the AA philosophy–first developed in the 1930s.

Fiction #4: Addicts are born losers who never amount to anything no matter what you do for them.

Fact: Part of that is correct. Addicts are born with a much higher risk of addiction than the population as a whole – about a 50% genetic factor. As for being losers, studies show that addicts actually have a higher I.Q. than the population at large. In any case, hardly anyone would consider to be “losers” these luminaries who were, or are, addicts: Judy Garland, Robert Downey, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Ray Charles, Keith Urban, Brian Wilson, William F. Buckley, Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, James Baldwin, and yes, Benjamin Franklin.

drug use

Courtesy of the NIH –

Fiction #5: Once an addict relapses, it’s all down hill from there. They really never get better.

Fact: Actually, the relapse rate for addiction is typical of chronic diseases, slightly more than diabetes and less than hypertension and asthma. A relapse is not an occasion to scold, punish or otherwise stigmatize the person. It’s not a moral failure but a symptom. Modern-day diagnostics indicate that most brains eventually return to relatively normal when the drug use stop.

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Elizabeth Peña’s Death Due To Alcohol, Expert Commentary on Life Saving Abuse Treatment October 23, 2014


Video still of Ms. Pena

Sadly on October 14, 2014, actress Elizabeth Peña died far too young at age 55 from a preventable disease, addiction to alcohol. (more…)

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Perfectly Addicted? Michael Phelps’ Bad Behavior Maybe More Than A ‘Drinking Problem’ October 22, 2014


US Olympian Michael Phelps’ second DUI may be raising a lot of eyebrows, but it is also raising a number of questions: Does the Olympic champion have more than just a “drinking problem”? (more…)

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Michael Phelps Arrested On DUI Charge, What’s Next For The Olympian? October 7, 2014


Olympian Michael Phelps has been suspended for six months from USA Swimming-sanctioned competition after his arrest for driving under the influence in Baltimore last week. (more…)

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Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was arrested last week with his second DUI and had decided to enter a six-week rehab treatment program.

But does this mean the swimming champ has a problem? (more…)

Read More / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Is Robert Downey Jr. Right that Drug Addiction is Genetic? September 17, 2014

Getty Images

A child of an addict or alcoholic is more likely to get hooked.

“Pick a dysfunction and and it’s a family problem,” the Iron Man star told Vanity Fair. It’s not a far-fetched statement.  (more…)

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InTouch, National Enquirer / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Robin Williams Update August 26, 2014
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Fox News / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Heroin in the suburbs: An American epidemic August 22, 2014

Heroin needle_Reuters.jpg

A bag of heroin and drug paraphernalia are seen at an abandoned house.REUTERS/Bor Slana

“Here, want a blue?”


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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. (more…)

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Healthline / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Heroin in the Suburbs: An American Epidemic August 18, 2014

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

“Here, want a blue?” (more…)

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Synthetic Marijuana Spice A Lethal Gamble, One Family’s Story VIDEO August 12, 2014

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.


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. (more…)

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Newsday / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Alcohol, Drug Abuse a Problem Among Seniors Too August 6, 2014

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. (more…)

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Fifty is the New Fifty / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Aging Into Addiction After 50 July 17, 2014

Aging Into Addiction After 50


It had always been “just beer” for Danny Smith*, who began imbibing at age 13. He never graduated to hard liquor or other drugs, nor considered his drinking a problem. Then, two years ago, while tinkering with an old jeep for fun, Danny moved a fender and felt sudden searing pain in his shoulder. Complications with surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff left the heavy equipment mechanic unable to return to work, and forced his wife to take a job in another state. “I was alone, depressed and basically felt worthless,” Danny, 57, recalls. “That’s when drinking took over.” As Danny describes it, he’d wake up, feed his dogs and crack his first beer–ultimately finishing forty a day at his lowest point.

Sadly, Danny’s story isn’t unique. According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, older adults are hospitalized for alcohol-related problems as much as for heart attacks. And while alcohol remains the leading substance abuse cause of hospital admissions for people 50-plus, boomers are increasingly turning to illicit drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s most recent national survey found illicit drug use among adults aged 50 to 64 rose from a rate of 3.4 percent to 7.2 percent over the last ten years.

Our Addiction Is Different

“Baby boomers struggles with addiction are different than those of younger people because their problems are very different,” explains Akikur Mohammad, M.D., associate professor of addiction medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and director of LA-based treatment center Inspire Malibu. “Some are battling physical pain due to aging-related illness and diminished abilities. Others have emotional pain from a range of traumatic experiences, are burdened by caring for elderly parents, or face financial challenges due to life on a fixed, limited income.”

What’s more, we boomers came of age when recreational drug use was widespread–indeed, we coined the use of “party” as a verb. Plus, unlike our youngers, our generation is fiercely independent, so we can be more prone to the practice of self-medication. So even those not facing the physical, emotional or economic hardships of aging–folks who simply have too much time and disposable income on their hands–can descend into addiction. If you wonder if your partying may be a problem, take the self-test devised by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence here:

Our Treatment Is Tailored

If your self-test results concern you, know that help is available–and will be tailored to more than your age. “Treatment must be individualized to each person’s unique problems and needs,” says Dr. Mohammad. “No two people are alike in their struggles, so it’s important to perform a proper assessment to isolate the root cause and determine the best therapies, which may include medication along with proven evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapies.” Recovery is a lifelong process–one day at a time, as they say–but Dr. Mohammad points out that the first step gets you halfway there: “Seeking help if you really want to change is 50 percent of the treatment.”

Danny, four weeks sober when he spoke to Fifty Is the New Fifty, is thankful that he took that step–and so are his wife, kids and grandchildren. “It requires a bigger person to admit you have a problem than to hide it and deny it,” he says. “Look yourself in the mirror, consider all the medical issues you’re creating for yourself and get the help you need.”

* Name has been changed.

An all-around wordsmith, Nina Malkin is a journalist, novelist, copywriter and memoirist. She’s also an avid collector of lovely things from eras past–read her musings at

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Robert Downey Jr’s Son’s Arrest Underscores The Genetics Of Addiction VIDEO July 1, 2014


Actor Robert Downey Jr. has enjoyed a four-decades-plus career with two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe wins, numerous other award nominations and wins, notably starring as Tony Stark in Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes, and he is currently married to Susan Downey and has two sons (one from a previous marriage).

Downey Jr. has had a troubled history of his own with addiction issues. Early on in 1982, he dropped out of Santa Monica High School to pursue acting full time. His father, Robert Downey Sr., himself a drug addict, exposed his son to drugs at a very early age, and Downey Jr. would go on to struggle with drug abuse for decades.  The actor’s drug-related problems escalated from 1996 to 2001, leading to numerous arrests, rehab visits and incarcerations, and he was eventually fired from the TV series “Ally McBeal.”

From the 2013 Daily Mail article:

” To a large extent, his [Robert Downey Jr.] myriad problems were the legacy of a recklessly liberal upbringing by his parents, underground film-maker Robert Downey[Sr.]  and Elsie, his actress mother, in bohemian Greenwich Village, New York…His father cast his son in his first film, the avant-garde comedy Pound, at the age of five…But Downey Sr was a notorious drug addict and one day, as he watched the eight-year-old Robert drinking the white wine he had given him, he offered to let him try a cannabis joint.”

Emerging clean and sober in 2003, Downey Jr. climbed out of that big hole and built up his career with Gothika, Good Night, and Good Luck. A Scanner Darkly, Tropic Thunder and the films of the Iron Man, Avengers and Sherlock Holmes franchises.

In 2005, Downey Jr. married Susan Downey, who gave birth to their son, Exton Elias Downey, on February 7, 2012. Downey also has another son, Indio Falconer Downey, born September 7, 1993, from his first marriage to Deborah Falconer, from whom he was officially divorced in 2004.

Sadly, TMZ reports that the oldest child of Robert Downey Jr., Indio, has been arrested. Downey Jr. released the following statement to TMZ:

“Unfortunately there’s a genetic component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it. Also, there is a lot of family support and understanding, and we’re all determined to rally behind him and help him become the man he’s capable of being.  We’re grateful to the Sheriff’s department for their intervention, and believe Indio can be another recovery success story instead of a cautionary tale.”

Robert Downey Jr.’s son was arrested for cocaine possession in West Hollywood Sunday afternoon, law enforcement sources tell TMZ.  Indio was observed smoking something out of a pipe according to the website.

An L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy pulled the car over, did a search and allegedly found cocaine in Indio’s possession. He was arrested and taken to jail for possession of cocaine.

Indio, 20, posted the $10K bail and was released just after midnight Sunday.

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: “Robert Downey’s Jr.’s son drug possession arrest underscores that drug addiction is a chronic disease. Numerous scientific research studies support the fact that drug, and alcohol, addiction is a chronic disease with a strong genetic component, just like every other chronic disease including asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

“It’s disheartening that the young man’s disease is being sensationally publicized. After all, would we be throwing him into the limelight if it were discovered he had diabetes?

“The bottom line is that alcohol and drug addiction are chronic diseases. The debate on whether they or not is over. All the leading health and medical organization in the U.S. and worldwide support this contention, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. But like every chronic disease, substance abuse addiction can be successfully managed with evidence-based treatment that includes medication, counseling and lifestyle modification. Robert Downey, Jr., is the greatest testament that a sufferer of alcohol-drug addiction can lead a successful, productive life.”

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Pope Francis Expresses Opposition On Pot For Recreation June 23, 2014


 Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, becoming Pope Francis. He is the first pope from the Americas.

Pope Francis has offered an olive branch of acceptance to the atheists. He is also fast tracking and sacking the financial reforms and panels put in place and launched by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and overhauling the Roman Curia that includes the college of Cardinals andaggressively tackled the lingering clerical sex abuse cases. The Pope works for peace in the Middle East and tries to broker communication with the Israelis and Palestinians.

Now he is speaking out on something that is troubling him, the growing relaxation of marijuana laws in the western world especially in the USA.

“Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise,” he told participants at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

But like the church’s hardline stance on divorce, many Americans are not in agreement with Rome. Public sentiment isn’t with him; most Americans are voting in favor of legalization. In South America, countries like Uruguay have legalized marijuana.

Colorado and Washington state have made marijuana use legal, and in California, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Alaska it is legal if you get a doctor’s approval and the laws for pot were reduced. Several other states, cities and countries have decriminalized its use or have announced plans to do so. There are states like Texas and Florida where pot is illegal still.

Akikur Mohammad, M.D., is the CEO and founder of Inspire Malibu Treatment Center. Dr. Mohammad is a board-certified psychiatrist with board certification in addiction medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology.  He tells Monsters and Critics, “Smoking is generally a poor way to deliver medicine. As a doctor, I assure you that it is almost impossible to administer safe, regulated dosages of medicines in smoked form. Morphine, for example, has proven to be a medically valuable drug, but no responsible physician endorses smoking opium or heroin.”

“However,  to address the Pope’s statement regarding recreational marijuana… addiction has been around as long as humankind. It is a typical religious approach that addiction is EVIL, but science had proven that all addiction is a brain disease. However, in some patients, spirituality or religion may help to manage and overcome their addiction. I always advocated decriminalization but not complete legalization of drugs like marijuana.”

Dr. Mohammad adds, “Nicotine is legal around the world and the most common preventable cause of death worldwide, Nicotine kills more people than alcohol and all other drugs combined. Let’s educate the public!”

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Top Five Dangers That Can Lead To Addiction In Retirement June 19, 2014

Senior organizing pill box

The golden years, a time for easy living and to kick back and enjoy the slower pace deserved after a lifetime of schedules and the 9-to-5 treadmill.

But did you know that for many people, deviating from this routine of work, managing the home and raising children to one with lots of unstructured time on their hands can present some huge problems especially if those people are predisposed to addiction issues and never fully realized it until their senior years?

Addiction specialist Dr. Akikur R. Mohammad, MD sees many patients over the age of 55 who find out the hard way that they cannot handle alcohol or pain medicine and maintain their sobriety.

They turn to him for medically supervised detoxification and learn how to manage time, activities and their social lives so that they do not fall into bad habits and relapse.


Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D.,

Dr. Mohammad, founder of Inspire Malibu, considered an elite medically-based addiction rehabilitation center, tells Monsters and Critics’ readers to watch for these five flashpoints and offers some recommendations:


“When someone has no routine, they get lazy and slip into bad habits, letting physical routines slide and sleeping too much. A little structure can go a long way,” says Dr. Mohammad.


“Letting social situations and friendships slide and go by the wayside. This is the time to reconnect and join groups and clubs, reach out and volunteer. Extend yourself, get involved with your church or synagogue or civic center.  Find a cause, whether it is helping tutor children with special needs, fostering abandoned animals, communal gardening or volunteering at the local library or museum, these activities will net new friendships and keep your brain active.” says Dr. Mohammad.


“Not having to work tomorrow lets many retirees drink every day; for those who are prone to addiction it all catches up with them. Don’t look for excuses to minimize alcohol consumption. Daily drinking is an insidious and harmful habit. Drinking alone is another dangerous habit,” says Dr. Mohammad.


“The worry, fear and progression of age, illnesses, and the older you get the more your close relations pass away, leaving you to feel badly about it. It’s not easy, but don’t let yourself succumb to negative news about parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, childhood friends.  Try and keep your network of friends and social outlets up to date and work at keeping in touch with people, even when you don’t feel like it, it does help to talk,”says Dr. Mohammad.


“Living with chronic pain and aches takes a toll. The lack of mobility, the lack of quality sleep and constant pain are a huge issue. Senior ailments such as painful hips, knees, arthritis all offer an opportunity to abuse addictive pain medications. There are gentle exercise treatments like Tai Chi and Yoga that can help eradicate pain and in time strengthen atrophied muscles. Massage and swimming also are excellent options to explore,” says Dr. Mohammad.

Dr. Mohammad suggests that all seniors keep connected through family and community and faith groups, and buddy up in their neighborhoods. There are senior centers in many cities, and he urges adult children to actively help their parents find and connect with these useful resource hubs that are excellent directories for even more information and qualified help:

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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad ‘Godfather of Ecstasy’ Sasha Shulgin’s Death Raises Questions About Medical Applications of Psychoactive Drugs June 5, 2014


 ‘Godfather of Ecstasy’ Sasha Shulgin’s Death Raises Questions About Sound Medical Applications of Psychoactive Drugs


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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad ‘My Entire Career Has Been An Attempt To Commit Suicide’ GWAR Singer Dies of Heroin June 4, 2014

Gwar frontman David Brockie, known by his fans as Oderus Ungerus, died of heroin overdose.


Read More / Dr. Akikur Mohammad One In Ten Small Businesses Found Employees Under The Influence May 16, 2014

Companies can still prohibit employees from the use of medical marijuana since it has not been approved on a federal level, Moretzsohn said.

“It does not make it ok to have it in the workplace since it is being treated different than prescription drugs,” she said. “The law can really change and it depends on the state law. It is not shielded yet because of federal law.”


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Market Watch / Dr. Akikur Mohammad 10 things rehab centers won’t tell you May 16, 2014

Our success rates may mean little.

The statistics about relapse notwithstanding, rehab centers often tout their effectiveness – and say they have the numbers to back up their claims. Many quote success rates of 70% or higher. But those claims depend on how “success” is defined. In some cases, the figure may only refer to the completion rate – that is, the percentage of people who finish the program. Or it could mean a relatively short period of post-program sobriety — say, a year after completing treatment. And any post-program figure may be questionable since it could be a self-reported one (in other words, it’s a number that’s only as good as an addict’s word). The bottom line, says Dr. Akikur Mohammad, a psychiatrist who teaches addiction medicine at the University of Southern California, is that any success rate that sounds too good to be true probably is. The programs play with numbers to “get some patients, to get some money,” he says.

Still, some programs stand by their figures. Cliffside Malibu, a high-end treatment center in California, reports a 70% success rate – based on one-year of post-program sobriety. And while program founder and Chief Executive Richard Taite allows that “people can make all sorts of outlandish claims” in the industry, he notes that Cliffside does extensive monitoring to make sure its rate is accurate. “I have a full-time research fellow on staff,” he says.

Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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ABC 7 - The Denver Channel / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Some say heroin rescue drug is a lifesaver, others predict increase in overdoses May 15, 2014

Should naloxone be available to everyone?

Steve Kamenicky, right, waits for Chicago Recovery Alliance volunteer Erin Scott to finish his paper work before he can get Naloxone.

When Jody Waxman heard a loud noise in her home, she thought her cats might be up to something.

“I got upstairs, I saw Alex on the floor, flat on this back with foam coming out of his mouth. I couldn’t budge him,” Waxman said.


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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Rob Ford’s Do Or Die Rehab, Top Addiction Expert Glad To See Him Seek Help VIDEOS May 2, 2014


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has faced the music and admitted himself to rehab, after a tearful announcement was made on numerous TV news outlets by his brother Doug Ford. (more…)

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Forbes / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Is Your Boss A Bully? April 7, 2014

I met Brenda when she managed a 2,000-person department for a Fortune 500 company. Brought in to help her with an upcoming change initiative, I was impressed by Brenda’s intelligence, creativity, political savvy, and dedication to her job. She had all the qualities of a senior executive – which was her career goal.

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huffingtonpost / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Like It or Not, Philip Seymour Hoffman Should Be the New Poster Boy for Addiction in America March 18, 2014

In 1985, Yul Brynner teamed up with the American Cancer Society to create an anti-smoking commercial. A few days after his death from lung cancer, the commercial aired nationally for the first time. Brynner knew he was dying, and his final performance was a postmortem plea for people to stop smoking.

For Philip Seymour Hoffman, there will be no such commercial, only the sad truth that his drug-induced death was preventable.


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Monsters and Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Heroin Overdoses Emerging Again As Major Public Health Crisis March 13, 2014

Drug classes seem to go in cycles of popularity. The 1980s were a decade of cocaine abuse with heroin being a dirty distant reminder of the 1960s and 1970s. London in the 1960s was awash in heroin addicts. Marijuana has steadily remained a visible milder drug of choice, now legally available in 20 states, though most require doctor exams and evaluations. But of late, heroin has made a dramatic popularity comeback.


Heroin Overdoses Emerging Again As Major Public Health Crisis


MYFOXLA reporter Phil Shuman interviewed the highly respected addiction expert  Dr. A.R. Mohammad of Inspire Malibu rehabilitation center to explain the ramifications of Attorney General Eric Holder’s alarming ” public health crisis ” warning concerning heroin overdoses, and the call to have on hand drugs that counteract opiates like heroin to save lives.

FOXLA interviews a patient named Ryan, drinking since he was 12 years old, adding pot and various drugs until his first hit of heroin was nirvana for him. At the age of 22, he is now under the care of Dr. Mohammad at Inspire Malibu’s residential treatment center in the canyons above the city dubbed “the rehab Riviera.”

Heroin, like crystal meth, can literally “rewire” the brain so treating this addiction is a lifelong effort.

Reporter Phil Shuman finds out that Ryan stole from his family and friends to feed his habit, even taking the harder to obtain 30 dollar per pill Oxycontins, three times the price of a comparable bag of heroin.

Dr. Mohammad explains that this vicious cycle of dependency, quitting, relapsing, trying something new and different, and partly explains why 80 percent of those who try to kick opiates relapse within a year.

The recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has sobered many people up to the lethal nature of their drug dabbling.

Unlike more expensive rehabs, Dr. A.R. Mohammed takes on sacred cows of addiction therapy like 12 step AA talk therapies and “feel good” outdoor hikes and equine therapies that look pretty in brochures, but do nothing in the long-term to keep a diseased addicted patient from relapsing.

Dr. Mohammad’s approach works with health insurance for a residential treatment program, combines intense personal, group, and family therapy with medication (Suboxone).  Dr. Mohammad says, “About 17 states and the District of Columbia allow naloxone, or Narcan as it known, to be distributed to the public to reverse heroin overdoses and save lives.”

The attorney general’s public support for an antidote that could be used to rescue overdosing drug users mirrors the position of the White House drug policy office, which has also urged all first responders to have the medication on hand.

“Addiction to heroin and other opiates, including certain prescription pain-killers, is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results,” Holder said in the message.

Dr. Mohammad says that Narcan will save lives if administered within a certain window. But critics fear that making the antidote too accessible could encourage drug use.



Original Article

Dr. A R Mohammad

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Celebzter / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Hoffman’s Autopsy Report – Medical Expert Weighs In March 3, 2014

Hoffman’s Autopsy Report – Medical Expert Weighs In

Philip Seymour Hoffman died from an overdose of overdose of both uppers and downers, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines, the New York medical examiner concluded Friday. Nationally recognized addiction expert Dr. A. R. Mohammad, M.D., says this scenario is all too common among heroin addicts who try to “manage” their highs.


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Demons Revealed in Diaries February 13, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Demons Revealed in Diaries


Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Demons Revealed in Diaries

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman suffered from a chronic medical condition that required ongoing medical treatment. An admitted drug addict who first sought professional help more than two decades ago, Hoffman succumbed to his illness with an overdose despite a return to rehab last March.


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Chris Kattan Arrested For DUI Suspicion VIDEO February 10, 2014

Chris Kattan Arrested For DUI Suspicion VIDEO


Chris Kattan Arrested For DUI Suspicion VIDEO

Chris Kattan Arrested For DUI Suspicion VIDEO

Actor and comedian Chris Kattan was arrested early Monday in Encino on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities said.

CNN reported that Kattan, 43, was taken into custody just before 2 a.m., after he collided with a Caltrans vehicle at a construction zone on the westbound 101 Freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers responded after a woman called 911 to report a Mercedes-Benz was weaving and driving at a slow rate of speed, the CHP said.

Kattan eventually approached the road closure, crossed a cone pattern and struck the Caltrans vehicle from behind, according to the CHP.


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Hospitals & Health Networks / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Swimming Upstream to Prevent Heroin Addiction February 10, 2014

Swimming Upstream to Prevent Heroin Addiction

Hospitals leaders look to get ahead of the opioid epidemic by treating patients before they reach the emergency department.

There’s an opioid epidemic going on right now, and your hospital can either get ahead of the problem, or wait until it shows up in your emergency department.

Of course, this is nothing new. But the epidemic seems all the more profound with last week’s death of Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reportedly, after years of sobriety, Hoffman developed a reliance on prescription pills that spiraled into a relapse of heroin use. Such instances are growing in frequency, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently took note of the trend. A rule proposed by CMS last month would impose stricter guidelines for docs, punishable by the revocation of their enrollment in Medicare for overprescribing of opioids and other drugs. (For more on overprescribing, you can also check out Emily Friedman’s provocative piece from last week’s H&HN Daily).


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Hollywood and Heroin: Why the intrigue? February 6, 2014

Hollywood and Heroin: Why the intrigue?


Last year it was Cory Monteith. Now the media is focused upon the loss of the tremendously talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead at just 46 on Sunday after an apparent overdose.

Hoffman joins the legions of others in the spotlight who have gone too soon thanks to their penchant for drugs, namely heroin.

From Jim Morrison to John Belushi to Kurt Cobain to Philip Seymour Hoffman, why are so many incredibly talented people hooked on heroin?

We asked Addiction specialist Dr. A. R. Mohammad, M.D., who is a board-certified expert psychiatrist, an associate professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine where he teaches addiction medicine, and is the founder and medical director of Inspire Malibu Treatment Center, to get his perspective of why stars tread into such a treacherous dark dangerous world.


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Understanding Why Philip Seymour Hoffman had 70 Bags of Heroin in his Possession February 5, 2014

Understanding Why Philip Seymour Hoffman had 70 Bags of Heroin in his Possession


On Saturday at around 8pm, Philip Seymour Hoffman reportedly withdrew $1,200 in six installments to pay two men for drugs on Saturday evening at around 8pm.

At around 11am on Sunday, the 46-year-old Oscar-winner was found dead in his $10,000 a month West Village apartment with a hypodermic needle sticking out of his left arm. He was surrounded by 70 bags of heroin and 20 used syringes.

Hoffman’s descent from sobriety to drug-addled star was quick and swift.

It has been claimed that before Christmas he stopped going to AA and started frequenting the Automatic Slims bar.


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Yahoo! News / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Hoffman Among Thousands of Addiction Victims February 4, 2014

Hoffman Among Thousands of Addiction Victims


Click photo to watch interview

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Philip Seymour Hoffman suffered from a chronic medical condition that required ongoing treatment. An admitted drug addict who first sought professional help more than two decades ago, Hoffman apparently succumbed to his illness with an overdose despite a return to rehab last March. A father of three with a thriving career, the Oscar winner died Sunday with a needle in his arm and baggies of what appeared to be heroin nearby. New York City medical examiners were conducting an autopsy on Hoffman’s body Monday as investigators scrutinize evidence found in his apartment, including at least four dozen plastic packets, some confirmed to have contained heroin.

His death, which came after a long period of sobriety that ended last year, “epitomizes the tragedy of drug addiction in our society,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Read More / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Hoffman & drugs: ‘No one can be cured’ February 4, 2014

Hoffman & drugs: ‘No one can be cured’


AS MORE details surface on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tattle’s probably not going to be too funny today.

Hoffman’s essential problem? He could portray “The Master” in a movie but he couldn’t master his drug addiction in real life. It was an addiction for which he first sought treatment more than two decades ago.

The father of three had been sober for a long time before finding himself back in rehab as recently as 10 months ago.


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dead at 46 February 3, 2014

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dead at 46


Lionsgate Publicity still of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”


One of our best actors has died. Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his New York apartment on Sunday. He was 46 years old.


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad ‘We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil’: Family react to Seymour Hoffman’s death February 3, 2014
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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Hollywood’s Fascination with Drugs and Addiction January 30, 2014

Hollywood’s Fascination with Drugs and Addiction


One of this year’s hottest films is The Wolf Of Wall Street with 5 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor. The story touches on the high times of the 1980s when money and power where as addictive as the drugs these financial con-artists were using. The theme of drug use in film is not new, but is it cool to glamorize it?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), roughly 18.9 million Americans abuse drugs or alcohol each year. Because of its prevalence in society, it’s not surprising that so many movies have been made about this topic.


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Fears for Justin Bieber Intensify January 22, 2014

Fears for Justin Bieber Intensify


His antics in 2013 landed him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Come 2014, and once again, Justin Bieber’s behavior is again attracting negative attention.

But now there are fresh fears for the 19-year-old after sources told TMZ that Bieber is using drugs with alarming regularity and it’s making him so erratic, his people have been urging him to go to rehab.

The report alleges that he has been using sizzurp regularly and he has also been taking lots of prescription pills, including Xanax, in addition to lots of alcohol and weed.


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Celebzster / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Dennis Rodman Shows Signs of Mental Issues Beyond Addiction, Says Expert January 21, 2014

Dennis Rodman Shows Signs of Mental Issues Beyond Addiction, Says Expert


His actions in recent times, most notably his bizarre friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, have continued to dismay.

And during Dennis Rodman’s last trip to North Korea, where he led an auditorium crowd in serenading the reclusive nation’s leader with “Happy Birthday” at an exhibition game between former NBA players and a North Korean team, he caused outraged after he came close to suggesting in an expletive-littered and sometimes incoherent interview with CNN, that an American held captive in North Korea for more than a year, Kenneth Bae, was responsible for his captivity.

With Bae’s family appalled, Rodman, 52, was forced to apologize, saying he had been drinking and was under pressure as he organized an exhibition game there.

On Saturday it was revealed by his agent that upon his return to America, Rodman promptly checked into rehab to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism.


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Crack Usage, Addiction Expert Weighs in on Crack Myths November 6, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Crack Usage, Addiction Expert Weighs in on Crack Myths


CNN reported that Ford admitted his usage but refuses to leaveoffice. “All I can do now is apologize andmove on,” says Ford.

Ford told reportersin a press conference that he smoked crack cocaine when he was in a “drunken stupor” last year.

Inspire Malibu founder, Dr. Reza Mohammad, MD, is a nationally recognized expert in illicit drug use who is both board certified in psychiatry andaddictionmedicine and professor at USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. Dr. Mohammad has shared his expertise on the subject of Ford and his drug use with Monsters and Critics.


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad Donald Glover Likely Depressed, Says Expert in Psychiatry October 18, 2013

Donald Glover Likely Depressed, Says Expert in Psychiatry


Community star Donald Glover has posted a series of troubling notes , all written longhand on hotel stationery and posted to his Instagram account, revealing, “I’ve been sick this year. This is the first time I’ve felt helpless.”

The 30-year-old actor-rapper, widely considered the breakout star of the NBC comedy, heading into its fifth season, addressed many private issues in the seven letters posted Oct. 14.


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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Akikur Mohammad From Russia, without Love: Expert addiction doctor sounds alarm on Krokodil October 14, 2013

From Russia, without Love: Expert addiction doctor sounds alarm on Krokodil

ad·dic·tion (-dkshn) n. 1. a. Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance: a drug used in the treatment of heroin addiction.

Vladimir Putin is one of the most hard line leaders in modern politics. So much so that his effective crackdown on illicit drugs flooding Russia from Afghanistan and Tajikistan has spawned something out of a science fiction horror film: Krokodil: Russia’s cheap designer drug that rots flesh and exposes bone and is a live volatile compound that wreaks havoc inside the brain and blood, and ultimately causes swift painful death.


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