Monday, March 17, 2014

Adderall not cocaine: inside the lives of the

 young wolves of Wall Street

Source: PBS Newshour  BY ANDY SWAB

First-year analysts at America’s top tier investment banks face soul-crushing hours,
mind-numbing work and pain-inducing client meetings in the post-crash,
post-recession world of today’s Wall Street.
Kevin Roose’s “Young Money” profiles eight young investment bankers at New York’s top financial firms as they navigate their way through an industry that has been heavily criticized after the crisis of 2008.
Roose, a former writer for The New York Times’ DealBook blog and author of “The Unlikely Disciple,” writes for New York magazine, which just published this adaptation from his newly-released book about the time he crashed a Wall Street secret society.
Roose gives us a glimpse into the world fresh-faced college graduates face as investment banks sober up after both bubbles and bailouts.
Before the housing boom went bust, graduating seniors from America’s top colleges poured into the world of finance. In 2006, 46 percent of Princeton University students who had a job at graduation went to Wall Street. A year later, 47 percent of Harvard University’s graduating seniors went into finance and consulting.
But things changed after the crash. In 2010, 12 percent of Ivy League seniors applied to Teach for America, and between 2008 and 2011, AmeriCorps applications have almost tripled. For Harvard’s class of 2013, only 5 percent reported they would like to still be working in finance in 10 years. The money on Wall Street is still there, but the industry has lost its luster in the minds of many millennials.
Making Sense recently spoke with Roose about his book and what life is like on the low end of the ladder for the best and brightest in investment banking on Wall Street today. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

Making Sense: This is a book about young professionals starting careers in finance in the period directly after the financial crisis of 2008. Why did you decide to write this book?
Kevin Roose: I was at a dinner party in New York and had just graduated from college at Brown University. It was a bunch of friends and friends of friends, and we were all going around the room introducing ourselves. We get to this one woman and she says, “I work downtown.” We’re all like, “Okay where downtown?” She says, “I work in finance,” and somebody says, “Well where? Where do you work in finance?” Ultimately, she says, “Well, you know, I work at Goldman Sachs,” and she sounds so sheepish about it. I thought, how fascinating. I mean, in 2005, this would have been something you would be wearing on a T-shirt. You would have been so proud to have been at Goldman Sachs. And yet in 2010, it was like having a scarlet letter.
I think that really cemented for me that something drastic had changed in the crisis, and I wanted to explore what that was.
What shocks a lot of young people when they come to Wall Street is they’ve read “Liar’s Poker,” they’ve all seen “Wall Street,” and they think that’s what it’s going to be like. A lot of them who showed up after the crisis expected champagne and caviar and instead, they had protesters outside their offices. This was not a fun time to be a banker. Obviously you can only feel so bad for them — they’re making a ton of money and they’re very fortunate to be where they are — but I think it really takes a toll on these people. It’s the difference between their expectations and the reality.
Making Sense: This book is written as a series of profiles for eight entry-level professionals who work for the biggest banks in America including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup. Why did you decide to organize the book as profiles? And why keep the bankers’ identities anonymous?
Kevin Roose: I wanted to get a kaleidoscopic view of the banking industry. If I could get eight young bankers to follow, that would give me enough diversity between the different firms, the different parts of the different firms, where I could really get a complete, overarching view of what this world was like for most young people.
I decided to structure this as profiles because I wanted this to be their stories. It wasn’t my story. I wanted people to be able to see from the perspective of someone living this life and what it’s like.
I decided to keep the identities anonymous because I had to. Wall Street banks are incredibly secretive, and young employees are not allowed to talk to the media for any reason. Unless these people wanted to be fired, which they didn’t, they had to remain anonymous, so that was part of the understanding from the start, that I wouldn’t reveal their names in exchange for their openness.
Making Sense: What profile from the book do you find most powerful?
Kevin Roose: Well I think one of the most powerful parts of the book for me was a guy named Derrick. Derrick was from a small town in the Midwest. He didn’t come from a lot of money. He didn’t go to Harvard. He worked his way up and into the very elite sphere of finance. The entire time he’s moving his way up, he’s having moral quandaries about what he’s doing. He is making a lot of money — he is very successful by any traditional definition — but something about working in private equity and working on Wall Street doesn’t feel right to him.
Talking to him, I got this very complex picture of the inner life of someone who works on Wall Street, makes a lot of money on Wall Street, but doesn’t consider himself part of Wall Street in some sort of basic, structural way. So that was really interesting. I had no idea that bankers had self-doubt. You see movies like “Wall Street” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” and these are some of the most confident people in the world. But when you really ask them about their background and their lives and their work, they start opening up and a lot of them have a lot of doubts.
Making Sense: What is the psychological toll of working 60 to100 hours a week without seeing friends or family, yet making upwards of $120,000 as a 22-year-old fresh out of college?
Kevin Roose: Right, it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for people who are making that kind of money as 22 or 23-year-olds. But I will say that it occurred to me sort of halfway through this book that I wouldn’t switch places with these people even if I had the opportunity to. I mean, they work incredibly hard and their lives essentially belong to their employers for two years. One guy told me it’s not the hours that kill you, it’s the lack of control over the hours. So you can be in the middle of your friend’s wedding or a birthday or an anniversary dinner and if you get called in, you have to go — it’s a miserable way to spend your early 20s.
Even people who have made it through and come out on the other side and have been successful on Wall Street or in some other industry would tell you these are some of the hardest years of their lives.
Making Sense: It’s interesting that you call the culture that came with this explosion of growth in stocks, tech companies and hedge funds from the 1980s to 2007 “Old Wall Street.” But your book still has scenes of hard drug and alcohol use. How much of that is the profession and how much is personal choice?
Kevin Roose: It’s a much more subdued culture now. There aren’t nearly as many 
ridiculous, over-the-top parties and lavish expenses, and I think people are a 
lot more careful. A lot of the most profitable kinds of trading, a lot of the 
most freewheeling kind of activity on Wall Street has been reined in by regulation. 
Bonuses are smaller for most people, the perks have been dialed back, and so I 
think, it’s much less a happy-go-lucky, the-world’s-great kind of a place.

I don’t think that “Old Wall Street” cultural legacy even needs to extend as far 

back as the mid-1980s. I think that was true even in 2005 and 2006. So we’re 
talking about a maybe eight or nine year transition in which Wall Street turned 
from one place into something completely different.

The goal of what came out of the financial crisis was to make Wall Street a more 

boring place and I think it is. I should say I expected a lot more drug use among 
the young bankers. The stereotype is that they’re all on cocaine all the time. But 
actually, the most common drug I heard about people using was Adderall. These 
people are not taking drugs to go out and party; they’re taking drugs so that they 
can stay up longer and work more. So that shocked me, and I just thought how sad: 
if you’re going to be doing drugs in your early 20s, you might as well make it a 
fun one.

But I do think they tend to drink more than they should, and a lot of that is maybe 

a coping mechanism, but mostly it’s a social thing. This is the culture and you’re 
expected to go out and have drinks with the boss. The bar is where a lot of the 
social and professional propulsion comes from.

Making Sense: You mention at least one of your characters had some pretty severe 

health problems due to that drinking, and others have mental and physical health 
problems as well.

Kevin Roose: I’ve talked to so many bankers who not only gained weight and stopped 

going to the gym while they were bankers — they just didn’t have time — but a lot 
of them developed pretty serious health problems.

Last year in London, there was a Bank of America intern who had an epileptic 

episode and actually died after working reportedly three all-nighters in a row. 
That shocked a lot of people, and for me, the shock was that it hadn’t happened 

This is a really unhealthy industry and I think they are now realizing that and 

trying to make it slightly better. It is still a macho culture, and I think the 
banks are trying to pare some of this back. They’re making junior analysts take 
the weekend off. They are forcing mandatory vacation days. And this has all 
happened within the past year, I think, as a response to some of the things I 
have been writing about in my book. So my hope is it will eventually become a 
more normal working environment because you don’t want to see anyone get hurt.

Making Sense: You mention that the appeal of tech companies has grown at top 

schools as the hiring and the prestige of Wall Street firms has fallen in the 
wake of the financial crisis. Do you see this as a second tech bubble or are 
people going into fields that offer less hierarchy and a more entrepreneurial 

Kevin Roose: I don’t know if it will burst like the bubble, but something like 

that. I had a programmer say to me once, “The rule of working in tech is that 
you should be wary when the ‘pretty people’ show up.”

You have bankers now who are quitting their jobs and going to work at Google a

nd Facebook and a bunch of other tech companies. Banks have lost their default 
status as the place where college graduates from top schools go. One in six Ivy 
League seniors now applies to Teach for America. Google is outhiring Goldman 
Sachs at several of the top colleges.

Wall Street has lost its luster for this generation so I don’t think you’re going 

to see this sort of massive migration every year from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, 
etc., into finance like you did before the crash. For many years, it was the next 
step. You went to Exeter or you went to Andover, you went to Harvard, and then you 
went to Goldman Sachs. It was all very apportioned and very predetermined almost. 
But now that talent pipeline is sort of breaking down.

There is an idealism among people in this generation, my generation. We do want our 

work to be meaningful in a grander sense, and so I think for a lot of years, people 
put that on hold in order to work on Wall Street and make money to pay back their 
student loans, what have you. The theory was they would quit and do what they really 
wanted to do later on. Some of them got stuck because they have the so-called 
“golden handcuffs” of having high-pay and getting used to that.

But I think now people want to take that meaningful work on early in their careers. 

When Goldman Sachs comes to you and says, work here for 20 years and then you can 
start your foundation or do whatever you want, but Google or Facebook or another 
company is saying, come with us and you can start changing the world today, I think 
that’s a more attractive proposition to people who want to be socially conscious 
about their work.

Making Sense: Not too many people ended up staying on the Street. Most of the 

professionals you profiled either left finance altogether or entered careers in 
private equity.

Kevin Roose: Well part of the frustration among Wall Street bankers is the pay 

differential between being a young banker and being anything else, being a 
consultant or an accountant or working in health care and the media. You were 
making much more than the next category of your peers. But now, after the crisis, 
I think the pay differential has come down; you’re still well paid and you may 
still be making more as a young banker than you would be doing anything else, but 
it’s a game of inches now, so you’re not out-earning your peers by so much that 
it’s worth it.

A lot of people are saying, now wait a minute, I could be working half as hard at 

a tech company or at a consulting firm and making 80 percent as much money — and 
I’ll take that trade. I think it’s generally a fairly large attrition rate on Wall 
Street. Not a lot of people stay in it for the long haul, but especially after the 
crash these were really tumultuous years to be a young banker. And a lot of them 
had expectations that weren’t fulfilled and had hopes for their pay and their 
advancement that weren’t met, so I think that there’s a lot of disillusionment and 
a lot of people looked around and saw people in Silicon Valley getting rich, 
seemingly having a great time, and said that sounds actually better than what I’m 

So Wall Street may return to a more normal climate — normal by the old standards — 

someday, but I think this Wall Street is really a tough sell for a lot of young 
people right now.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman loses struggle with drug addiction

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday (Feb. 2).
The 46-year-old actor's cause of death has yet to be determined but the New York Police Department is investigating and a law-enforcement official confirmed to WSJ that the Academy Award-winning actor died in his 35 Bethune St., West Village home.
The New York Post reports that Hoffman was found dead on his bathroom floor of an apparent drug overdose by a friend at 11:30 a.m. According to the New York Times, the friend visited Hoffman's homeafter he could not get a hold of the actor and grew concerned. WSJ criminal justice reporter Pervaiz Shallwani tweeted that Hoffman was alone at the time of his death and the man who found him was screenwriter David Katz, with whom Hoffman had recently been working on a project.
An official told the NYT that a syringe was found in the actor's arm at the scene, accompanied by what appeared to be an envelope of heroin. “It’s pretty apparent that it was an overdose," the official confirmed. "The syringe was in his arm.”
It was reported in May 2013 that Hoffman underwent drug detox treatment for substances including heroin. Hoffman also battled drug abuse in his early twenties and was clean for 23 years before relapsing.
"It was all that [drugs and alcohol], yeah, it was anything I could get my hands on ... I liked it all," Hoffman told CBS' "60 Minutes" in a 2006 interview. "I went [to rehab], I got sober when I was 22 years old. You get panicked ... and I got panicked for my life. It really was just that."
The acclaimed actor is best known for his outstanding performances in films like "The Master," "Doubt," "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Capote"-- for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor in 2005.
Hoffman is set to appear in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" due out in November of this year. The film is currently in post-production.
Hoffman is survived by his longtime partner Mimi O'Donnell and their three young children.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone," a statement from Hoffman's family reads. "This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”
If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, please refer them to: This Site.

Adderall not cocaine: inside the lives of the

 young wolves of Wall Street

Source: PBS Newshour  BY ANDY SWAB

If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, please refer them to 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

H.B. calls for action after teen's suspected heroin OD death

Family and friends of Tyler Macleod speak before the Huntington Beach City Council on Monday night calling for action saying the teen drug problem in the city is spiraling out of control. Pictured, from left, are friend Selena Chavez, 19, Tyler's brother, Kyle Macleod, 19, and cousins,Jenna Solis, 20, and Savannah Clark, 19.


An 18-year-old who parents say died of a heroin overdose is the latest victim in what appears to be a drug epidemic involving teens and young adults in Huntington Beach and across the county.

Family and friends of Huntington Beach High School senior Tyler Macleod are calling for action, saying the teen drug problem in the city is spiraling out of control.

Tyler was well-liked, funny and a varsity lacrosse player. Friends said he came from a loving and grounded family but still fell victim to a drug habit that would end his life.

About 80 people came to the City Council meeting Monday night wearing red, a color that stands out and also represents drug awareness, to show support for Tyler. Applause erupted with every speaker that came to the podium asking for help.

"We as parents are looking to you to make this environment safe for our children," said Kelly Cason, parent and family friend of the Macleods. "There's illegal drug activity going on throughout our city."

After cleaning up for more than a month this summer, Tyler started using again, said his parents Dave and Nancy Macleod. He ran away from home and his parents worried he left to feed his habit.

Fountain Valley police responded to a medical aid call about 10 a.m. on Sept. 24 at the Marriott Courtyard in the 9900 block of Slater Avenue, officials said. Police took a casualty report and are still investigating the death.

Although police officials will not yet confirm what caused the death, Tyler's parents say they know what killed their son – an addiction to heroin.

"Our family is devastated beyond belief," Dave Macleod wrote in an email to the Register. "I write this hoping that this insane drug that is known all over our city and county can be stopped so another parent does not have to go through the devastation our family is suffering and will bear the rest of our lives."

A memorial for Tyler, expected to draw more than 1,000 people, will be held on Wednesday at First Christian Church in Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach Det. Brian Jones said he has seen a significant increase in heroin use among teens and young adults in the last three years.

"Starting in September 2009, we started running across a lot of kids using heroin," he said. "They're getting it out of Santa Ana and the ones that are really into it are going to Long Beach or L.A."

Jones said the problem usually starts with teens using prescriptions pills, such as Oxycontin or Xanax, but keeping up that habit is too expensive and teens start to turn toward heroin.

It's cheap and easy to get but dangerously addictive, Jones said.

"They seem to think as long as they're not doing it intravenously it's not as bad or as dirty," he said. "But it's just as bad and just as dirty. They get so addicted."

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Author discusses Heroin Addiction.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

More than 50% of women sought treatment for prescription drugs, heroin

Heroin and prescription drug addiction 
March 5, 2014 by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor

Heroin and prescription drug addiction are on the rise among affluent women, reveals a new survey from Caron Treatment Centers, a non-profit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
The online survey polled former female patients at Caron and Hanley Center who were treated for addiction. The survey was conducted to better understand what motivated the women to seek treatment. Respondents cited alcohol and prescription drugs as the leading legal causes for seeking treatment. The majority (70%) of female respondents who abused prescription drugs said they were initially prescribed the medication legally for an emotional or physical ailment.
oxycontin abuse heroin

More than half (55%) of the respondents who entered treatment for an addiction to illegal drugs were abusing heroin, which experts at Caron and Hanley confirm is a primary illegal drug of choice for female patients. Women cited anxiety (65%), depression (67%), and a critical internal voice (69%) as significant factors that contributed to their addiction. Although a majority of the women polled were married with children, they were most likely to abuse alcohol or drugs when they were alone.
“Addiction impacts individuals and families from all walks of life,” said Michelle Maloney, Executive Director of Treatment Services at Hanley Center, a Caron Treatment Center. “Female addicts often experience a lot of shame about using alcohol and drugs. They often feel they are the only ones with these problems. But we want them to know they are not alone. There are millions of women in recovery and all women deserve to get the help they need to live a healthy and productive life.”
Additional notable statistics from the survey include:
    65% of respondents were between the ages of 36-55 when they entered treatment.
    61% of respondents had a household income of $100,000 or more when they entered treatment; 52.6% have children
    90% of respondents used alcohol and drugs to cope with stress
    Top three stressors were relationships with their parents, siblings (63%), romantic relationships (60%) and work (49%).  
    74% said they kept up personal hygiene and appearance, 66% were social with friends and family, and 61% held a job during their active addiction; 50% cared for children and 40% volunteered for the PTA.
The survey was conducted in January and February 2014 among 102 former patients within the Caron Treatment Centers continuum.