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drunk driving

6/07/13 2:09pm

Video: Anti-DUI Ad Makes a Shocking Impact

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Would you drink and drive after this?
Photo via

Some campaigns against drunk driving use positive reinforcement—such as rewarding sober drivers with free pancakes or a parade. But this guerrilla-style PSA uses blunt force to drive its message across. In the graphic reminder not to drink and drive, pub patrons are freshening up in the bathroom when a bloodied (fake) head suddenly crashes through the mirror, as if flying through the windshield of a crashed vehicle. After showing the understandably startled reactions of the unsuspecting hand-washers, the video asks: "What impact could a drink have on your night out?" See for yourself below:

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By Bryan Le

liberace

6/07/13 1:01pm

Liberace's Ex-Lover Says He's Finally Sober

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Thorson and Liberace in 1982 Photo via

Liberace's former lover Scott Thorson is finally sober after a tumultuous battle with addiction and crime that started during his five-year romance with the world famous pianist, he tells The Sun. Thorson, 54, was just 17 when he first met the then 58-year-old world famous pianist, who built him a 70,000 square foot Vegas mansion and showered him with lavish gifts. But Liberace also hired a plastic surgeon to make his lover "look more like his son," and had a doctor put him on a cocktail of diet pills that contained "pharmaceutical cocaine" and Demerol. After Thorson became addicted to the drugs, he says his former lover threw him out. "In the movie it says he offered me rehab, but he didn't," says Thorson. "When I became addicted and he was worried I was out of control and would tarnish his image, he threw me out like I was a piece of trash. I was living in the penthouse in LA and they hired guards to throw all my personal belongings off the balcony and discard me.” His addiction continued to spiral after a 1982 "palimony" suit against Liberace was settled, leading to several overdoses, a suicide attempt and being shot five times during a 1991 robbery in Florida. Now battling colon cancer, he says he is clean and sober for more than three months. In a bizarre twist to the story, Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof bailed him out of a recent prison stint and has since put him up at the brothel. "I've survived to tell my story. They have built a great team around me and I am drug free for the first time in many years. It’s been about 110 days," he says. "I haven't lived the dream like this since I lived with Liberace." The biopic, Behind the Candelabra, in which Liberace and Thorson are played by Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, drew 2.4 million viewers when it aired in the US on HBO last month.

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By McCarton Ackerman

higher education

6/07/13 11:52am

Marijuana Use Linked to Academic Problems

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Which'll it be? Photo via

Marijuana may have various health benefits, but it can also take its toll on "higher" education. A new report from The University of Maryland School of Public Health showed that consistent marijuana use negatively affected the academic retention and performance of students. The study, which followed 1,200 college freshman over a 10-year period, found that substance use and "especially marijuana use" contributed to "college students skipping more classes, spending less time studying, earning lower grades, dropping out of college, and being unemployed after college." Early and chronic use of marijuana also lowered the IQ of users by as much as eight points. "It's not rocket science, this stuff has been known for quite some time," says Amelia Arria, director for the Center on Young Adult Health and Development. "[But] it's really the first time that such an intense look at the health-risk behaviors of college students has been linked to the post-college functioning." All participants in the study who used marijuana consistently—ranging from minimal to heavy use—showed negative effects as a result. Those who smoked 15 or more times a month were "twice as likely" to experience discontinuous enrollment than minimal users, but even "infrequent" users who smoked twice a month were 66% more likely than minimal users to be discontinuously enrolled. "I don't really think people are putting [marijuana use] together with the possible effect it could have on long-term success," says Arria. "It's something people really need to consider."

In addition to its impact on academic performance, marijuana use can have legal ramifications for students. Under a provision of the Higher Education Act, students who have been convicted of a drug charge—even minor marijuana offenses—are ineligible for federal financial aid, loans or work-study. "200,000 college students have been denied financial aid because of a drug arrest or minor drug offense," says Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. "Unfortunately, I think there is still a stigma that drug warriors very actively try to keep alive that leads to societal disapproval in certain instances." A survey found that a third of all college students used marijuana at least once in 2011.

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By McCarton Ackerman

black sabbath

6/07/13 11:00am

Black Sabbath Returns With Sober Ozzy at the Head

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Black Sabbath resurrected Photo via

Miracles do happen. Ozzy Osbourne just celebrated 90 days sober after a recent relapse, and his band Black Sabbath has produced their first record together in 35 years—13, which drops Monday. Back in the '70s, the British rockers pioneered the heavy progressive rock movement, becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. Though the group is known for its fascination with horror and the occult, it was the members' substance use that took them to the darkest places—and splintered the band. Frontman Osbourne's addictions—and recent sobriety—have been subject to much media scrutiny. But guitarist Tony Iommi tells the Guardian that all of the band members were heavily into drugs, and he once nearly overdosed at the Hollywood Bowl. "Nobody could control anyone else," he says, "I was doing coke left, right and centre, and quaaludes, and God knows what else." In fact, the entire group consumed so much cocaine that they "used to have it flown in by private plane." Bassist Geezer Butler says he once had his drink spiked with acid and tried to kill himself by jumping out a window. "Tony and Bill had to hold me down on the bed," he recalls, "I started going off drugs after that."

But Osbourne didn't ease up until many years later, and his addictions got him axed from Black Sabbath in 1978. The singer was often "in the bar getting legless" when his bandmates were in the studio, Butler recalls. He would also frequently go "awol" and lose time to blackouts. "I'd look at my watch and it would say four o'clock. Then I'd look again and it would say 9.30. I'd totally forget where I'd been or what I'd done," Osbourne recalls. According to Butler and Iommi, the singer "would have died" if he hadn't left Black Sabbath. Instead, says Osbourne: "I ended up losing my mind." Things came to a head in the '80s when, in a blackout, he tried to strangle his wife. "I woke up smashed out of my brains, charged with attempted murder," he recalls. "I was like: 'Who the fuck did I try and kill?' The policeman read the charge sheet: 'Sharon Rachel Osbourne'." Decades later, the two are still together, though their marriage went through a rough patch after Ozzy's recent relapse. But X-Factor judge Sharon, 60, says she's stood by her husband through it all, by practicing "acceptance of who that person is." “If you think you’re ever gonna change anyone, you’re not gonna do it," she says. "You love them for who they are.”

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By May Wilkerson

headlines

6/07/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 7, 2013

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2-year-old Alexa is hooked on a pixie sticks
concoction Photo via

By Victoria Kim

clown suit

6/06/13 5:02pm

Clown Wins Suit Against Magazine for Meth-Addict Jibe

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Puddles protects his pride! Photo via

Norman Pudney, a South African clown of 30 years' standing, has won a defamation case against FHM (For Him Magazine) for using his picture to demonstrate that clowns resemble meth-addicted cross dressers. The court ruled in favor of Pudney—also known as Puddles the Clown—and made FHM award him $6,000 in damages for “intentionally and maliciously” using Pudney's photo for their unfavorable comparison. FHM incurred the indignant tears of the clown when they printed his photo back in 2007, in an article that said clowns look like “grown men with a long-term tik (slang for meth) habits, dressed like transvestites from hell.” Pudney, fighting in the name of a “profession that is meant to be well-received,” finally won the case after a five-year battle. “It wasn't about the money for me but it was about protecting the industry and artists in the future,” he says. “I believed in what I was fighting for. It has been an interesting and challenging experience.”

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By Bryan Le

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