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8/06/12 3:02pm

An Ocean-Side Party for Kristen Johnston's Guts

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Johnston celebrates The Fix, with executive editor Anna
David and Recovery Media chairman Paul McCulley
R. Whitney

Kristen Johnston read from her brand new foreword to the paperback edition of her New York Times bestselling addiction memoir Guts yesterday at a beachside Malibu BBQ thrown by The Fix and Malibu Beach Sober Living's Beach House. The hardcover was released in March; the paperback will be out in January. Guests noshed on burgers (turkey burger options, of course—we were in California), fruit and chocolate chip cookies, while sipping on water, juice and caffeine—in its many forms. Johnston read sections both heartwarming and heartbreaking to a crowd including actors Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld, as well as Johnston's co-star on her TV Land series The Exes) and Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde), as well as recovery luminaries like Charlie Bentz (co-owner of Malibu Beach Sober Living's Beach House), Recovery Media Chairman Paul McCulley and Fix co-founder Joe Schrank. Afterwards, as K-Jo signed copies of Guts out on the deck, the ocean breeze wafted in on Grace Slick from the Jefferson Starship as she spoke about her sobriety and her newfound art: painting. Delicious food, creativity and an ocean view—not a bad way to celebrate recovery.

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By Benjamin Fairway

drunk flying

8/06/12 2:12pm

Pilot Suspended for Exceeding Alcohol Limit

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High in the sky Photo via

Qantas Airways has suspended a pilot for attempting to fly a plane while under the influence of alcohol. Authorities say the woman exceeded the limit for pilots of 0.02% alcohol in the blood in a test. She was caught last Monday as she was about to fly a Boeing 767-300 from Sydney to Brisbane. Flight attendants suspected she'd been drinking and reported it to airline operations managers. The plane was actually in the process of taxiing towards the runway when management made the decision to have the pilot stand down and replace her with another. Right now, she's being "withheld from duties on full pay" while the incident is investigated. Although Qantas representatives aren't at liberty to discuss the case, the investigation is expected to take about a month and the pilot will be interviewed next week. Incidents like this are extremely rare—since 2008, only 45 pilots have exceeded the alcohol limit in 51,000 tests in Australia, and none worked for Qantas, officials say. Qantas is renowned for a sterling safety record, with zero fatal accidents—a record that may have been at risk last week.

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By Chrisanne Grise

Drugged Driving

8/06/12 12:41pm

China Bans Drug Addicts From Driving

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Chinese drivers face strict new laws.
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China is getting serious about stopping its citizens from getting behind the wheel while under the influence. The government has banned drug addicts from getting driver's licenses and says that any addicts who haven't received treatment and recovered fully must apply to have their licenses revoked within the next 30 days. Any driver who is pulled over and found under the influence of drugs will be punished or fined, while those who are deemed to be addicts will be stripped of their licenses. Local police will also start increasing roadside checks. The ruling comes on the heels of a well-publicized traffic accident that caused 14 deaths in East China in April—the driver of the coach involved in the accident tested positive for drugs. China currently has 1.19 million heroin addicts and a burgeoning synthetic drug problem—an estimated 40% of the country's synthetic drug users are new to the habit. China's reputation when it comes to the human rights of drug users is less than outstanding: the Human Rights Watch just released a report that claiming drug addicts in Beijing detention centers are subject to physical abuse and often detained against their will.

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/living/should-all-known-addicts-be-stripped-of-their-drivers-licenses/question-2857405/" title="Should all known addicts be stripped of their drivers' licenses?">Should all known addicts be stripped of their drivers' licenses?</a>

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By McCarton Ackerman

Bad Sports

8/06/12 11:26am

Judo Star Blames Pot Brownies for Failed Drug Test

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"I am embarrassed by this mistake." Photo via

You’d think things couldn’t get any worse for US Olympic Judo hope Nicholas Delpopolo, after he was beaten out of bronze medal by Mongolia's Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal in the repechage stage. You’d be wrong: the 23-year-old from Westfield, New Jersey, has now been disqualified after failing a drugs test. He was tested on July 30 after his near miss; the International Olympic Committee claims he tested positive for the snappily-named 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid—which is connected to cannabis consumption. As a result Delpopolo may have his seventh-place finish rescinded. He may also have to return his diploma for competing in the Games and have his accreditation withdrawn. The International Judo Federation has been instructed to modify its results and, ominously, to "consider any further action within its own competence." 

It's not the first weed controversy to plague the US Olympic team. Women’s wrestling hopeful Stephany Lee was suspended on June 28 after testing positive for marijuana, resulting in the US team having to send its second-ranked wrestler to the games. Lee later appeared on National Cannabis radio where host Russ Belville mused, “Stephany Lee proved she was the best, because she beat the best; so why is it that we’re punishing her for choosing to use a substance that is safer than alcohol?” Delpopolo released a statement of his own following today's announcement. It seems the culprit was pot brownies: "My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games. I apologize to US Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake. I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will re-dedicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be." His extensive punishment seems like a great job by the IOC—after all, we all know of the unfair competitive edge that comes from being stoned during a top-level judo bout...

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By Tony O'Neill

sober stars

8/06/12 10:52am

Russell Brand Revisits His Junkie Past

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Russell Brand at 29, a "proper little junkie."
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A new documentary about comedian Russell Brand lays bare the lifelong grip addiction can hold on an individual—even one with long-term recovery. In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, BBC3 follows the 37-year-old as he goes back to visit the Focus 12 Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he got clean in 2002. The program shows disquieting footage of Brand in his 20s, leaning over the heated foil to smoke heroin before leaning back against the wall and staring dead-eyed in to the camera; it then flashes forward to Brand in present day, watching the old clip with his friend Martino Sclavi at the London Savoy Hotel. Referring to his young self as “a proper little junkie,” Brand says: "This is when you know it's a disease. It doesn't matter that I was sat in that flat in Hackney and now I'm in the Savoy. I'm jealous of me then. It doesn't make a difference to me. The money, the fame, the power, the sex, the women—none of it. I'd rather be a drug addict."

The Rock Of Ages star has been clean for 10 years, and has been candid about his various addictions (drugs, alcohol, sex) and his struggles in sobriety. He has been a public voice for addiction and recovery, even speaking in UK parliament about his belief that addiction should be treated as a disease rather than a criminal issue. “The consequences of my actions affected so many people,” he says in the documentary, displaying a radical level of candor—even for Brand. “Heroin is a greedy drug. First it’ll take your money. Then it’ll take your friends, your family, your car, your house. Then it’s going to take bits of your body. In the end I used to be scoring with people that had eyes missing, limbs missing.” He added: “You’ll take it until it takes your life. It’ll take everything until the last thing and you’ll gladly give it that rather than give up drugs. When you are a drug addict, the idea of not taking drugs is inconceivable. This was the beginning of a life-long journey of doing things differently.”

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

8/06/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: August 6, 2012

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Is gaming addiction a "real" disorder?
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By The Fix staff

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