The Situation is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Sources close to MTV and 495 Productions, which produce Jersey Shore, have reported that show producers sat The Sitch down during the majority of the seasons to address concerns about his excessive drinking. During season two he was told that his drinking was making it difficult to shoot the show, but after their words fell on deaf ears, he was threatened with being axed from the show during seasons three and four. But now that the TV star is in rehab for his addiction to prescription medication and starting to sober up completely, he may find his new healthy lifestyle even more of a detriment to his career. Producers are reportedly looking for ways to phase him out of the show completely in season six by adding new castmates. MTV released a statement insisting that "there are no plans to replace the cast of Jersey Shore," but The Situation may be well-advised to look for another career where GTL is part of the job description.
More than 15% of teenagers meet the criteria for substance abuse by the time they're 18, according to researchers. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, surveyed 10,123 US teens between 13 to 18 years old. The results showed that four of five teenagers have tried alcohol and over 15% were abusing booze. Regarding drugs, 60% admit they have had the opportunity to use illicit substances such as painkillers, tranquilizers, cocaine, stimulants, and marijuana—16% of teens qualify as drug abusers. "It's in adolescence that the onset of substance abuse disorders occurs for most individuals," says Joel Swendsen, lead research author and director of research at the National Center of Scientific Research in Bordeaux, France. "That's where the roots take place." Many health professionals are alarmed by the survey’s results, especially due to the fact the teens brains are still in development: "The reason we worry about it is that the earlier they use these substances the earlier they become addicted to it," says Susan Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York. "There's really a type of rewiring that goes on with continued use than can result in an increased interest in using and an inability to stop using.”
After the launch of a $54 million graphic ad campaign by the CDC, calls to a “quit smoking” hotline more than doubled last week. According to federal health officials, 1-800-QUIT-NOW received the highest call volume in 72 years, with over 33,000 calls last week—more than double the 14,500 calls they received the week before. In addition to the call line, clicks to www.smokefree.gov went from around 20,000 to around 66,000, which is the most traffic the website has ever seen. “This is just a rough indicator, but it's a very encouraging one," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "This means tens of thousands of people are seeing the ads and thinking of quitting and trying to quit.” The 12 week ad campaign—kicked off by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 19—was more visually shocking than past advertisements, featuring people whose smoking resulted in laryngectomy, paralysis, lost limbs, and heart surgery. The campaign has been praised by anti-smoking advocates who believe the shocking images may jolt people into thinking about the long-term dangers of smoking. An analysis will be conducted once the campaign ends to asses how many people ultimately quit smoking after viewing the graphic advertisements.
- Drug Kingpin Arellano Felix Gets 25-year Term [Associated Press]
- Seeking Help But Finding a Scam in Sober Homes [Boston Globe]
- Teen Girls And Binge Drinking: Younger Girls Feel Pressure To Drink Excessively [Huffington Post]
- Woman Arrested for Stashing Drugs Inside a Fake Pregnancy Bump [UK Mirror]
- The Situation: MTV Warned Him for Years to Stop Being a Drunk Mess [TMZ]
- Colin Farrell Opens Up About Being Sober for Seven Years [OK Magazine]
California's first training school for budding pot workers—Oaksterdam University—was raided this morning as part of an ongoing federal crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries and the landlords who house them. An IRS spokeswoman confirms that the raid was part of a joint investigation with the DEA, declining further comment. Despite the state of California legalizing marijuana in 1996, weed-growing dispensaries are still considered a violation of federal law, with feds targeting dispensaries that are too large, or too close to schools. Oaksterdam University founder and owner Richard Lee is a leading figure in California's medical marijuana movement and the chief promoter of a recent failed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state. Lee is unlikely to be cowed by the latest raid. He told The Fix back in November, "Law enforcement is futile...like water running downhill... They may close some places and hurt some people—in the long run it won't change much." Despite federal opposition, city officials in Oakland—known as "Oaksterdam" for its prominence in the MMJ movement—continue to express support for well-regulated dispensaries, and just recently approved four new facilities, even as prosecutors have pressured hundreds of Californian dispensaries to close.
At least Drake is probably more honest than many. The Canadian rapper admits to past drug use in a recent interview with The Guardian—but claims it was all in moderation. ”Have I sipped codeine before? Yeah, of course," says Drizzy, as he's also known. "Have I smoked weed? Yes. Do I drink wine? Yes. But do I do it excessively? No. I’m not a reckless guy. I do it all within moderation. I’m not into drugs." He adds that he can understand why some top recording artists take drugs in response to the pressures they face. "You get artists in this position who go crazy and don’t know how to handle it," he says. "There are people who have killed themselves. There’s the overwhelming stress, how tired you are, the weight on your shoulders of going out here and giving 18,000 people entertainment… It’s a lot of pressure.” His two albums, 2010's Thank Me Later and last year's Take Care have sold a total of three million copies in the US. His most recent single—also called "Take Care" and featuring Rihanna—reached No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100.