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5/04/12 2:05pm

Video: NFL QB Talks About 800 Pill a Month Habit


Ray Lucas wants to help others tackle their
addictions. Photo via

For Ray Lucas, what started as taking pain pills for his NFL career became an 800 pill-a-month habit once his time on the team ended. The former NFL quarterback, who played from 1996-2003 with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, said that it wasn't until his football days ended that his prescription drug problem got out of control. "When I left the NFL, I wasn't so much addicted, but had a very high tolerance," he says. "Fast forward to three years ago with some serious neck problems, I was taking the medication again, about 120 pills a month. That went up to about 420 and ended at 800 pills a month before I had neck surgery. I had a successful surgery, but knew I had to go to rehab to get better. I went into rehab for 42 days and have been clean and sober ever since." But instead of making him feel better, Lucas says the pain medication made him depressed and ultimately left him contemplating suicide. "I actually had the day set that I was going to kill myself," recalls Lucas. "You feel soft and ashamed and can't even look yourself in the mirror." These days, Lucas is a studio analyst for the show Jets Nation on NYC-based sports network SportsNet New York and gives talks about his experiences. "Now that I've received my gift of recovery, I speak personally about it without any qualms," he says. "I'm a survivor. I've made it, which means that so can you."

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By McCarton Ackerman

Celebrity Roundup

5/04/12 12:55pm

Celebrity Roundup: May 4, 2012


Looks like Sandy's a good girl after all. Photo via

Few rappers have been as transparent about their penchant for cannabis consumption as Wiz Khalifa (sample lyric: “So what we smoke weed? So what we get high?”), but it looks like that may be catching up with him: The rapper, born Cameron Jibril Thomaz, was cited in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for marijuana possession on Tuesday night — just a week after being cited in Nashville, Tennessee for the exact same charge. That, Wiz, is what we call a geographic.

UFC fighter Ross Pearson — who was crowned winner of Ultimate Fighter 9 — was stopped in Las Vegas after police spotted his car swerving on the road. According to law enforcement, Pearson failed the test “miserably” and was arrested under suspicion of DUI. Looks like there’s some things you can’t fight.

Adriana Lima is known for many things, most notably her impossibly flawless beauty and thick Brazilian accent — but an insatiable craving for alcohol now that she’s pregnant? She told People, “I’ve been craving beer…It’s very strange because I normally don’t like beer. Now I want some but I cannot drink it. It’s been very hard!” Whatever happened to pickles and anchovies?

Legendary triple threat Olivia Newton-John has gone totally green, focusing her energies on healthy living — but while her daughter Chloe Lattanzi continues to struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues, Newton-John denies taking drugs ever. Her recent role as a hard-partying aging mother in the new film A Few Best Men had her claiming that she’s never done drugs, and only occasionally “cheats” on her clean diet with a little champagne or meat.  

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By Sam Lansky

Tanning Addiction

5/04/12 11:38am

Is "Tanning Mom" an Addict?


The bronze mom could be in trouble. Photo via

Is New Jersey "tanning mom" addicted to UV rays? And is her alleged "tanorexia" evidence towards allegations that she dangerously subjected her child to a tanning bed? Child services visited Patricia Krentcil after her five-year-old daughter told the school nurse that the rash on her body was from visiting a tanning booth with her mom. Photos of the “tanning mom” have surfaced in the media—showing skin the color and texture of fruit leather—and causing concern that she may be suffering from a tanning addiction. "When you look at this, this is somebody who has a problem who most likely has a condition called 'tanorexia,' where they just don't realize just how much color they have," says New York dermatologist Doris Day. "She's at higher risk for skin cancer, and it also doesn't send the right message to her child." The owner of the New Jersey tanning salon City Tropics says Krentcil tans about 20 times per month, five days per week, and does the maximum time of 12 minutes in the standup booth—which is the most intense bed. Krentcil, who was charged with child endangerment, claims she is innocent, and that her daughter never entered the booth with her. "Obviously, she tans," says her attorney John Caruso, but "to call her an addict, I think is a real leap. It feels like it's being exaggerated, to be like, 'Well look at her, she must have done this.'" If convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Rx Drug Crime

5/04/12 10:38am

Brothers Charged for Biggest-Ever Rx Drug Heist


The warehouse, and its conveniently flat roof.
Photo via

The largest theft of prescription drugs in US history unraveled—because of a water bottle. Miami brothers Amaury Villa, 37, and Amed Villa, 46, have been arrested and charged in connection with a March 2010 warehouse theft in Connecticut that involved making off with an incredible $80-million worth of drugs for psychiatric and cancer treatment. The brothers allegedly used tools purchased from a Home Depot to drill a hole in the roof and disable the security system, before lowering themselves through the hole and  into the warehouse using ropes; a forklift was then used to load the drugs into a truck. But burglary is thirsty work; at some point in the operation, Amed apparently touched a water bottle that was later discovered in the warehouse, leaving behind either fingerprints or DNA (cops won't yet say which). The brothers were indicted in federal court in New Haven on conspiracy and theft charges, while several others were indicted in Miami in the theft. “For several years now, cargo theft in the pharmaceutical sector has been on the rise, exacting a terrible cost on the industry and danger to the public,” said David B. Fein, the US attorney for Connecticut. “Today’s arrests are an important step in ensuring the integrity of our drug supply chain.” The brothers have previous charges against them, including the theft of 3,500 cases of cigarettes.

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By McCarton Ackerman


5/04/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 4th, 2012


Just a spritz for a quick drunk fix. Photo via

By Reina Berger


5/03/12 5:25pm

Addict's Art Fetches Record Price


The $120 million scream photo via

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch broke the world record for priciest artwork sold at auction yesterday, fetching $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York City. The buyer’s name was not disclosed—rumors ran from an American dot-com entrepreneur to the Qatar royal family to overnight billionaires in China, Russia or Brazil. Munch’s painting is ranked in global polls as the second-most identifiable icon, after the“Mona Lisa” and before Che Guevara’s face. Art critics have made careers trying to solve its riddle: Is the central figure—a sexless, ageless homunculus-like figure—issuing the scream from the O of its open mouth or are its hands covering its ear to block out a scream coming from the nightmare landscape all around? What’s plain is that the image, conceived in 1893, uncannily anticipates the unprecedented horrors of the century to come—world wars, totalitarian regimes, genocides and nuclear bombs.

Based on the evidence of “The Scream” alone, it’s no surprise that Edvard Munch had "issues." He was born in Norway to a religious fanatic father and a mother who died when he was five. Schizophrenia ran in his family, and his beloved sister was confined to a public asylum, which Munch faithfully visited, taking note that across the street from the caged inmates was a slaughterhouse. The artist treated his own psychological agonies with massive quantities of alcohol and drugs, starting young and developing a series of addictions—to absinthe, tobacco and a growing pile of pills and powders like codeine, morphine and laudanum.

Munch was 27 when he painted his masterpiece, whose inspiration, he said, was a hallucinatory vision in which he saw in the setting sun “tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish fjord…I was shivering with fear. Then I head the enormous, infinite scream of nature.” (He produced four versions; yesterday's record-breaker is a pastel on board.) He hit bottom in 1908. Rich and famous by then, he was also having the delusions and delirium tremens of late-stage alcoholism. Almost miraculously, he finally checked his downward spiral by checking in to a fancy clinic where he detoxed by being locked in a room for eight days; he stayed at the rehab for two years, enjoying the treatment for his many chemical dependencies—abstinence, regular meals, fresh air, sun baths and mild electroshock. After his recovery, he remained clean and sober for the rest of his long and productive life, dying at 80 in 1944, with the death-obsessed, drug-addled work that would later fetch a fortune hidden from Norway’s Nazi occupiers, who had targeted it for the flames as “degenerate art.”

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By Walter Armstrong


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