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Ask Jane

7/13/12 3:19pm

Video: Are Nicotine and Caffeine OK in Recovery?

Q: When people call themselves clean and sober, why do they still think they're allowed to use addictive, mood-altering drugs like nicotine and caffeine?

[Jane 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

binge drinking

7/13/12 2:18pm

New Night-Out Tactic: The "Drunk Phone"

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At least the numeric keypad could stop
some drunk texting. Photo via

Technology is amazing. In 1969, we used a computer with a 0.043 MHz processor to put a man on the moon. In 2012, forward-thinking young binge-drinkers are using low-end cell phones with 800 MHz processors as “drunk phones”—decoys that they can take with them and lose on inebriated nights out with no regrets—researchers report. They came across this practice while investigating the role of beers versus other drinks on Saturday nights. “In studying beer, we started to discover that young adults cherish their smart phones and iPhones so much that they don’t want to lose them if they have an epic night out,” says Laura Krajecki, chief consumer officer at Starcom MediaVest Group. “Now they take what they call their 'drunk phone,' a cheap low-end phone, so now they are carrying two phones because they don’t want to lose their smart phone.”

Is this really the answer for America's youth? Some students confirm the potential attractiveness of such an idea to The Fix. “I don't think anyone would get [a drunk phone] unless they're ready to admit they're a drunk mess who can't handle a real phone—most people are in denial about it,” says Alexandra, a college junior. “But it's a good idea.” She knows four girls who drunkenly lost six cell phones between them in a three-week period. The strategy's potential isn't lost on Andrew, a college sophomore who almost lost his phone at one party, either—but neither is the stigma: “I feel like that would pave way for a bad first impression to people,” he says. “It's like, 'Oh hey, I have to have a second phone because I always lose mine because I'm too drunk out of my mind to keep up with it.'” But hey, at least you'll lose a phone you don't care about after you embark on some Kate Moss–style drunk dialing. 

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By Bryan Le

Celebrity Roundup

7/13/12 12:40pm

Celebrity Roundup: July 13, 2012

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Did Fraser drunkenly assault his producer?
Photo via

A producer who worked on Brendan Fraser’s in-development film, The Legend of William Tell, claims that back in July 2011, an “intoxicated” Fraser began to “physically push, verbally threaten, and poke him in the chest repeatedly.” He’s suing Fraser for $25,000 in damages stemming from this and a related incident of alleged violence—but Fraser’s lawyer called the suit “ridiculous and absurd.” Either way, this is one sure way to get Fraser’s name back in the headlines.

Troubled rock star Courtney Love has had even more public scandals than expected lately (including conflict with The Fix over the e-book, Courtney Comes Clean). And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, with her ex-assistant filing a wrongful termination suit against Love, claiming that Love asked her to hire a hacker to tamper with business records while she was an employee. Love’s beleaguered publicist, however, denies all, insisting: “The allegations are completely unfounded and are being made with malice by a disgruntled former employee.” 

It’s been a year since Amy Winehouse’s death, but her mother, Janis Winehouse, says that her grief hasn’t gotten any easier—although she takes some unusual reincarnation-based solace. “I'm pretty sure she has come back as a butterfly,” Winehouse said, “because she would love the freedom of flying."

Cat Cora, the celebrity chef known for her appearances on Iron Chef America and as the host of Around the World in 80 Plates, was busted for a DUI last month while driving through Santa Barbara, after she rear-ended another vehicle and police found her showing signs of intoxication. She failed two breathalyzer tests—blowing more than double the legal limit—before she was taken to a local hospital and cited for drinking and driving. Maybe she should steer clear of the wine pairings.

One starlet who claims to be avoiding the Hollywood hard-partying scene? Jessica Biel, who says she’s the first to exit a party if it’s getting too wild. “If there is a huge drug fest happening and everyone is getting it on in the bedroom,” she says, “it is probably time to leave." Good advice, but we’re assuming that Justin Timberlake’s well-known love of marijuana doesn’t count.

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By Sam Lansky

smoking and gender

7/13/12 11:52am

Childhood Adversity Prompts Women to Smoke

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Sometimes coping is all you can do.
Photovia

If you're a man who smokes, it's probably not because you had a troubled childhood. A new study using data from more than 7,200 Kaiser-Permanente members in San Diego shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may lead women to start smoking later in life—but the same thing apparently doesn't apply to men. The research indicates that women who were abused physically or emotionally as children are 1.4 times more likely to start smoking—and that risk doubles if either of the woman's parents were in prison. ACEs can also contribute to an increased risk of developing many diseases. So why don't ACEs cause men to smoke? The study suggests that men may have other coping mechanisms that they use to address this trauma. "Since ACEs increase the risk of psychological distress for both men and women, it seemed intuitive that an individual experiencing an ACE will be more likely to be a tobacco cigarette smoker," says Dr. Tara Strine, lead author of the study. "However, in our study, ACEs only to increased the risk of smoking among women. Given this, men who have experienced childhood trauma may have different coping mechanisms than their female counterparts."

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By McCarton Ackerman

prescription drug abuse

7/13/12 10:50am

Video: The Fix Weighs in on Rx Epidemic 

Fix Executive Editor Anna David appeared on The Dr. Drew Show this week to discuss how America's painkiller epidemic is taking a toll on the babies of addicted mothers. She was speaking with Dr. Drew and Dr. Jonathan Fararoff of Cleveland's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. "We, as a society, have got to keep drilling it into people's heads that just because it comes in a pill bottle does not mean it's safe and okay," said David, a recovering prescription pill addict. "That is a massive problem that we don't seem to be making any headway in." 

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By Gabrielle Wuhl

Headlines

7/13/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: July 13, 2012

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Looks like they made it. Photo via

By Gabrielle Wuhl

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