They're known as "Stans," after the character from the Eminem song. But the people behind fan site Britney Addiction maintain they're addicts, not stalkers. “The whole concept of the site is that Britney Spears is addicting and her fans will support her endlessly,” contributor Alex Mercuri tells The Fix. He admits, “Outside people would look at us like obsessed psychos.” The site's owner, Nigel Johnson, clarifies: “I think the difference between a fan and an addict is that the addict needs to feed off Britney-related stuff everyday and has her constantly on his or her mind. Britney never disappears from your thoughts and beliefs. You want and need to be able to collect all the merchandise.”
Britney Addiction, which is run from Oxfordshire, England, attracts cravers of news, photos and chat relating to their idol. “Us addicts get each other,” says US-based Mercuri. “It is a healthy addiction such as one might find with chocolate. Only one that tries it will understand its zing." But why Britney? "Something about her just captures everyone, even haters devote time talking about her more in-depth than...other artists.” Johnson has gone to some lengths for his obsession: “I got my Britney signature tattooed to me for dedication and because the actual writing is fantastic art. I would love to have the cover of the In The Zone album tattooed on my back. I love her until the world ends.” For obvious reasons, Spears’ management team supports the habits of Britney "addicts"—they promoted the site several times during the troubled star's Femme Fatale tour.
A government survey concludes HIV/AIDS infections as a result of risky sexual activity and drug use are slightly in decline. The nationwide study, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics surveyed 23,000 individuals about intravenous drug use and "high-risk sexual" activity. It found that 10% of men and 8% of women—representing a population of 11.4 million—engaged in at least one infection risk act between 2006 and 2010. That's down from 13% and 11% respectively in a 2002 study. The most significant finding was the decline in IV drug use: less than 1% of those surveyed reported injecting illicit drugs. Prostitution also seems to have declined: only 1.3% of men and 0.7% of women reported having sex for money. Gay sex—included in the "risky" category by the study—remained steady at a reported 2.1%. In general, safer sexual practice, such as condom use, is on the increase.
Just days after new Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina called for an “iron fist” approach to fighting the cartels, he announced on Mexican TV that he's pushing for a discussion on decriminalizing drugs throughout the region. Molina says that while he appreciates the US agencies working in Guatemala, he believes the Guatemalan army capable of handling things alone. “We are speaking from the Southern area, where it occurs, through all the countries like Guatemala that are transit points to Mexico and the United States. We have a professional army, well trained, with experience of army conflict,” he argues. Molina made no references to decriminalization during his campaign and even ordered the Guatemalan army to combat drug gangs as recently as last Sunday. He now joins Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in advocating for a different global strategy towards the war on drugs. Just don’t expect the US to support this: the US Justice Department states on its website that “legalization has been tried before and failed miserably.”
Young Lee, co-founder of Pinkberry frozen yogurt, has a bad temper, as well as a drug problem. He's charged with assault for allegedly beating a homeless man with a tire iron last June: he was driving in East Hollywood when he noticed a homeless man, Donald Bolding, soliciting drivers for cash. Bolding removed his sweatshirt, revealing an explicit chest tattoo of a man and woman having sex. Lee was apparently so enraged by this that when Bolding approached his SUV, he rolled down his window and began a heated exchange. He then allegedly jumped out of his Range Rover, demanded that Bolding kneel and beg his forgiveness and beat him with a tire iron. Lee was arrested in LAX airport last week after returning from a trip to South Korea. He denies the assault allegations, claiming he felt threatened and acted in self defense. Back in 2001, Lee was charged with felony cocaine possession and two misdemeanor counts of battery, brought by his ex-partner. He went to rehab and reportedly stayed clean for years before relapsing in 2009—when a “close friend” brought a restraining order against him, due to his “extremely violent temper,” his cocaine use, his gun collection and the small matter of a knife attack, court records show. His ex-wife—Pinkberry co-founder Shelly Hwang—once hired an interventionist to help him, without success. The interventionist later claimed Lee later showed up at his home unannounced and threatened him in Korean.
Michael Fassbender’s character in the currently-showing Shame is a far cry from his role as "Magneto" in last summer’s X-Men: First Class. He plays Brandon Sullivan, a sex-addicted New York executive whose addiction draws him to internet porn, casual sex, porn shops and hookers—without any apparent sense of pleasure. The actor even met with many recovering sex addicts while preparing to protray an addiction that is often misunderstood. Fassbender tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "It would be a similar circumstance if you make a parallel to an alcoholic. An alcoholic doesn't enjoy a drink, but it gets to a point where when you wake up in the morning, you have to get a bottle of liquor in your system just in order to function...The addiction totally takes over so the pleasure center dwindles, and it's more about satisfying the compulsion." The movie Shame, directed by Steve McQueen, is meant to be explicit rather than erotic, to show people the sadness and struggle of sexual addiction.
The new smokeless tobacco product called “dissolvables” is the focus of a 3 day Food and Drug Administration meeting this week. Dissolvables are not a non-smoking aid—a way for smokers to satisfy their nicotine craving in non-smoking places. The products—named Camel Orbs, Camel Strips and Camel Sticks—are being tested on the market in selected cities. Public health advocates are concerned that they pose a risk to children and teens for possible nicotine poisoning and early addiction. Teens who get a hold of the products could easily avoid detection in their home or a classroom. "If you wanted to design a product that would appeal to youth and addict younger adolescents and adults to nicotine, this would be it," says Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "These products are designed to look like a candy and addict the user permanently."