• Teen girls are drinking alcohol! And now that it's almost the holiday weekend, newscasters are going into hysteria-mode. According to an adolescent psychologist, "the numbers are staggering." Use of alcohol, ecstasy, and marijuana are all on the rise.
After several decades of decline, pot is becoming popular among the under-20 set. One of the most "disturbing" findings in recent studies: girls are beginning to catch up with boys when it comes to drug and alcohol use. • The Obama administration has launched a new Twitter account - @healthcaregov - to go with the newly live HealthCare.gov website. They have only tweeted once so far, with "Ready to take health care into your own hands? Get started at the new HealthCare.gov!" Weirdly, under "favorite tweets," the administration account lists several messages by P Diddy, mostly about Ciroc vodka. • According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 87.8% of all Americans will take part in some sort of festivity this Sunday. You know what that means? Spending. Lots of spending. $3 billion worth of spending. On weekend parties, food, patriotic junk and fireworks. Have a happy (read: expensive) holiday. • And if you really want to do Independence Day right, Forbes has a list of the best places to enjoy the fourth. My hometown (Boston, natch) tops the list. • John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could have been put at risk for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV after visiting the medical center for dental work. According to a hospital spokesman, the issue stems from improperly cleaned dental instruments. Technicians apparently broke protocol by hand washing the instruments before putting them into a cleaning device. • Starting today, tan-happy Americans will have to pay a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This will be the first new tax to fund health care reform to go into effect. Doctors also hope that it will discourage young people from endangering their health - though for many it is unfortunately too late. "If you get a basic skin cancer in your 20s or 30s, your chance of getting melanoma within the next 10 years are actually much higher. That's a very scary way to live your youth to be constantly worried about lethal skin cancer," said Dr. Ellen Marmur. • The littlest Duggar, Josie, has finally gone home. She spent the last six months in an intensive care unit, but though she has been released into the wild, doctors say she isn't out of the woods yet. But even with the risks, the family says their trilled to have Josie home. "She has a double chin now," Michelle Duggar told People. "It is so precious." •