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Celebrity Roundup

6/01/12 12:49pm

Celebrity Roundup: June 1, 2012

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One more time for Brooke Mueller Photo via

She’s been in, and out, and now back to rehab: Celebuzz confirms that Brooke Mueller, the embattled ex-wife of Charlie Sheen, has returned to treatment after a "wild four-day binge" in the company of her former husband. Her rep said, “As part of her ongoing treatment and as planned, she voluntarily checked herself into a rehab facility several weeks ago.” We should have known she'd returned to treatment: she hasn’t been arrested in weeks.

Just because Maroon 5 singer-turned-The Voice judge Adam Levine has slept with a ton of women doesn’t mean he’s a sex addict. If anything, he explains, “Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of [women], is because I love them so much.” Sounds an excuse a lot of sex addicts would be happy to give.

Superstar Mariah Carey hasn’t spoken with her estranged sister Alison Carey in over twenty years, and their lives couldn’t be further apart. A former prostitute who is HIV-positive and spent years hooked on drugs, Alison now says she wants only to be an aunt to her niece and nephew. “I’ve had my problems over the years,” she admits, “but I want to tell Mariah I have been clean and sober for four months now and I am absolutely determined to keep my life on track.”

Katrina Darrell, better known as “Bikini Girl”—who garnered 15 minutes of fame by auditioning for American Idol back in 2009 wearing only (you guessed it) a bikini—was arrested last month for a DUI and hit-and-run. She smashed into another car and attempted to flee the scene, reportedly blowing twice the legal limit in a breathalyzer when caught. But she pleaded not guilty to her DUI on Tuesday, which has her set to return to court on June 29. Here’s hoping it goes better than her Idol audition.

Dennis Rodman, whose substance abuse and flamboyant style have attracted much media attention lately, was sentenced to 104 hours of community service in family court this week for failing to pay child support. Rodman’s manager argued earlier that the star's alcoholism damaged his professional image and made it difficult to obtain endorsements, hindering his financial prospects.

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By Sam Lansky

Meth Addiction

6/01/12 11:51am

Indian Tribes Struggle Against Meth

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The struggle continues. Photo via

One American Indian reservation in Northern California has recently seen methamphetamine addiction almost destroy its community—and it's far from alone. The Hoopa tribe, consisting of 3,000 members living on the reservation, says that police struggle to stay on top of all the meth-related crimes in town, while their truancy rate in schools is at a whopping 60%, compared to 18% across the county. In addition, the Indian Health Service doesn't track meth use, making data—and solutions—hard to come by. But many believe that the drug use among the Hoopa and other tribes is a direct result of historical trauma. “We are a conquered people,” says Melodie George-Moore, who teaches English and Native-American literature at Hoopa High School. “Unlike any other group in the US, we are unique in that respect. That didn’t happen to any other group in this country and it continues to happen to this day…In order to understand the pressures people are living under, you have to understand how it looks from a Native perspective to be a conquered people in the US.” Meth abuse rates have hit 30% on some rural Indian reservations, while a 2006 Bureau of Indian Affairs report claims American Indians have higher rates of meth abuse than any other ethnic group, and nearly three times higher than Caucasians. Nearly 65% of all documented cases in some Indian communities involving child neglect and placement of children in foster care can be traced back to parental involvement with methamphetamine.

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By McCarton Ackerman

quitting smoking

6/01/12 10:55am

Quitting Smoking: Which Sex Does Better?

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Women under 50 are a little more likely to
quit successfully. Photo via

Men are no better at quitting smoking than women, new research suggests. Yesterday was World No Tobacco Day—a day that aims to prompt smokers of both sexes to quit. For years, a pervasive rumor has held that men have higher success rates than women when it comes to giving up. But this is definitely not the case, according to new research. A study published in Tobacco Control analyzed US, Canadian and UK data on over 102,000 smokers. The results from all three countries showed that women under the age of 50 were more likely to be successful at quitting than men—and this is especially true of women in their 20s and 30s. However for older people, this trend is reversed: men over the age of 60 seem more likely to quit successfully than older women. "Our study has found convincing evidence that men in general are not more likely to quit smoking successfully than women,” the researchers say. “The myth of female disadvantage at quitting smoking is bad, first and foremost, for women." It should be stressed that the gender-based statistical differences are relatively small; and regardless, using your sex as a reason to hold off on trying to quit is never a good idea, "It is bad for gender stereotypes in a world where inaccurate stereotypes are rife,” the researchers write. “It is time to put aside the idea that women are less successful than men at giving up smoking."

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

6/01/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 1, 2012

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Trish Paytas, a self-confessed tanning addict.
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By Gabrielle Wuhl

Legalize Psychedelics

5/31/12 5:31pm

Does Banning Psychedelics Hinder Science?

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Prohibition of drugs such as ecstasy may
be hurting the scientific community. Photo via

International prohibition of psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy and marijuana has hindered research on the brain and slowed the progress of medicine—just like George W. Bush's ban on stem cell research, according to high-profile UK neuroscientist David Nutt. "We lose sight of the fact that these drugs may well give us insights into areas of science which need to be explored and they also may give us new opportunities for treatment," he says. "Almost all the drugs which are of interest in terms of brain phenomena like consciousness, perception, mood, psychosis—drugs like psychedelics, ketamine, cannabis, magic mushrooms, MDMA—are currently illegal. So there's almost no [scientific] work in this field." These drugs are banned because most are thought to cause more harm than good, but some may have untapped benefits as well. For example, Nutt's previous study on the effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) found that it suppresses brain activity linked to depression. But due to bans, Nutt has said he had to "jump through hundreds of hoops" to conduct his research—an issue that most scientists don't want to deal with.

Nutt is known for his history of going against government regulations; in 2009 he was dismissed from his position as a senior drug adviser to the UK government after complaining about drugs not being classified according to the actual level of harm they cause, and the "obscenity" of prosecuting cannabis users. His latest book, Drugs—Without The Hot Air, aims to clarify understanding of legal and illegal drugs—both recreational as well as medicinal. "If we understand drugs more, and have a more rational approach to them, we will actually end up knowing more about how to deal with drug harms," he says. "It's arbitrary whether we choose to keep alcohol legal and ban cannabis, or make tobacco legal and ban ecstasy. Those are not scientific decisions; they are political, moral and maybe even religious decisions."

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By Ariel Nagi

medical marijuana

5/31/12 4:52pm

Scientists Breed Sober Weed

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Does the "high" help the medicine go down?
Photo via

In a piece of sobering news for medical pot smokers: a strand of marijuana has been developed that can cure your physical ills, without getting you stoned. Israeli scientists, seeking to "help" those smoking marijuana for medical purposes, have cultivated a marijuana plant that is identical to normal pot, minus the plant's illustrious after-effects. "It has the same scent, shape and taste as the original plant—it's all the same—but the numbing sensation that users are accustomed to has disappeared," says Tzahi Klein, head of development at the firm where the strand was developed. The new strand of weed also does not cause users to get the munchies. Scientists developing the sober species sought to neutralize the effects of THC—the element of cannabis that gets you "numb" (or high)—and to increase the effects of cannabidiol, or "CBD", which has been shown to relieve convulsion, anxiety, inflammation and nausea, as well as inhibit cancer cell growth. CBD may also be used to treat various psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. Medical marijuana, which is legal in Israel, has been approved for use by about 6,000 Israelis with a range of illnesses. In the US, where medical pot is only legal in certain states, it remains to be seen how pro-medical marijuana activists will respond to news of sober weed. With joy? Grief? Hysterical laughter? All of the above?

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