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drunk driving

5/08/13 12:55pm

Recovering Drunk Moonlights as DUI-Buster

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Brad is watching. Photo via

A suburban father and recovering alcoholic in Appleton, Wisconsin has taken matters to his own hands in the fight against drunk driving, patrolling the streets at night under the alias "OWI Hunter." “Getting drunk, it's a personal choice, but getting behind the wheel, nobody has a right to do,” says Brad, a former drunk driver himself, who now devotes his free time to keeping intoxicated drivers off the roads. “I look for people who might be stumbling getting into cars,” says Brad, who waits outside bars in his minivan on weekend nights. “Kind of a second set of ears and eyes for police.” When he spots a potential drunk driver, he follows them to confirm their shaky driving, before calling 911. He's tallied 42 arrests in the 18 months of his work. Drunk driving is a particularly pervasive problem in boozy Wisconsin: 26% of residents admitted to driving while intoxicated in a 2009 study, and state courts handed out 44,000 DUI convictions last year. Many volunteers pitch in to help Appleton police, but Brad is “certainly unusual,” says local police captain Todd Freeman. Local authorities laid down a few ground rules and asked Brad to follow traffic laws, but they've given him the green light. "It's not something that we'd advertise welcoming other people to do that," says Freeman, "but I think Brad's unique approach and his way of being positive throughout helped his cause.” Check out the OWI Hunter's handiwork on his Facebook and YouTube.

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By Bryan Le

boozy marketing

5/08/13 11:59am

Realtor Targets Clients When They're Drunk

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Looking to buy a house? Photo via

Matthew Holder, a young San Franciscan real estate agent, has come up with a creative way to market his services by targeting potential clients "when they're intoxicated." At a time when the Bay Area's real estate market was floundering, Holder worried that if he merely put ads in newspapers, he'd fly under the radar. “Consumers put blinders up to a lot of those things because they expect to see it,” he says. “I wanted to go someplace where no one else was advertising; reach them at a different point.” Holder, now a product manager at real estate listing site Trulia, went after prospective buyers and sellers by distributing custom-designed coasters and cocktail napkins to bars and restaurants; he has even proposed branded urinal cakes, which he says "would be just the best thing ever. Holder says his strategy has worked. Plenty of watering holes and restaurants were happy to accept free supplies, and he began receiving calls from new clients who had picked up his info while out drinking. He was able to measure the success of his scheme by tracking the number of visits to the unique URL printed on all the coasters and napkins. Holder even got into the "spirit" himself, by having drinks and chatting up clients in person. “There were people at the bar who would talk about the coasters. If I was there, I would overhear them,” he says. “I would use that as an opportunity to go talk to them.” He says his bold strategies promise to carry over into his work with prospective clients, explaining: “That’s the unique marketing that I can bring to you to help you sell your home.”

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By Sarah Beller

addiction advocates

5/08/13 11:11am

White House Honors Matthew Perry for Drug Court Advocacy

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From "Friend" to addiction advocate.
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Matthew Perry has been honored at the White House for his advocacy on behalf of drug courts and for "giving a voice to the millions of Americans in recovery." Earlier this week, the 43-year-old former Friends actor was presented with a Champion of Recovery award by Gil Kerlikowski of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), for supporting President Obama’s efforts to combat addiction, as well as being open about his own experience with addiction and recovery. "During my darkest times, I never could of imagined receiving an award at the White House," said Perry, speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing with Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. The actor struggled for years with an addiction to prescription painkillers which he commonly mixed with alcohol. "Had I been arrested, I would be sitting in prison somewhere with a tattoo on my face," Perry tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm very lucky that I never got arrested." After two stints in rehab and a few years sober, Perry has become a staunch supporter of treatment-based local drug courts, visiting the White House many times to speak on their behalf. "Over time, I learned that drug courts are a wonderful solution to one of the biggest problems facing our criminal justice system: people suffering from substance-use disorders who are caught in the cycle of arrest and incarceration," Perry wrote in a post that appeared on the White House website. "Many of these individuals require treatment, not a jail cell, and drug courts provide them a means of getting the treatment they need."

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

5/08/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 8, 2013

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Evans has "cleaned up so much"
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By The Fix staff

face of recovery

5/07/13 5:59pm

Face of Meth Recovery Goes Viral

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Shanna White, before and after recovery
Photo via Shanna Echols White

Eight days ago Shanna Echols White celebrated the sixth anniversary of being clean of her meth addiction with a post on her Facebook account. "If you are still in the midst of this ugly nightmare please know there is hope," she wrote. "You too can beat this and have a beautiful life. It is NEVER too late." She also added two photos side by side: one of her face after eight years of meth use, and a current photo, after six years clean and sober. The post soon went viral, and the photographs have since received over 160,000 "likes" and over 12,000 "shares." "I had no idea it would reach this many people," White tells Big Country. "I keep that picture to remind myself where it took me. I felt defeated. I look at the other picture and I think, 'Wow, I did it.' All the pictures of meth...show a person...deteriorating. But you never see them coming back up." In the spirit of sobriety, she added, "I didn't go viral. All the shares, all the likes and all the love from the people that care about this disease went viral. We went viral."

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By William Georgiades

food addiction

5/07/13 5:02pm

Can Food Be Physically Addictive?

Reader's Question: Can you be physically addicted to a food?

 

[Jane Velez-Mitchell is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like. Send your questions to janevelezmitchell@thefix.com]

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By Jane Velez-Mitchell

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Scott Phillips: You Are What You—

Last February, my oldest friend died of a heroin overdose at the age of 49. He beat me to recovery, and he beat me to death. He also gave a final, drug-alogue interview on my radio show 20 hours before he died.

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