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5/07/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 7, 2012

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus rehab in Peru
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By Bryan Le

celebrity rehab

5/04/12 4:50pm

Gaga Used Coke to Cope With Loneliness

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Coke was not a "real" friend to Gaga. Photo via

Reigning queen of the "monsters" Lady Gaga has been forthcoming about her own personal demons, including self esteem issues, history of bullying and drug use—and this week she unveiled details of a cocaine problem that plagued her early 20s. In an interview on Lifetime talk show The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, Gaga said she turned to cocaine to cope with loneliness: "It was like the drug was my friend. I never did it with other people." But this "solution" to loneliness ultimately backfired, and she says of her drug use: "it's such a terrible way to fill that void, because it just adds to that void, because it's not real." The singer, who is now 26, says she began abusing cocaine at 19 and continued for a "long time." She recalls hitting a low point that resulted in her downing NyQuil in the shower to come down from a binge. Shortly after, she realized the drug was impeding her creative process, so she quit the "white devil" completely. "There's this perception and romanticism around drugs. That it's sexy," continues Gaga. "Or that it's artistic or that you're troubled and you're going to make great music when really, you're just a [bleeping] loser. I just stopped and focused 150 percent of my energy on my happiness."

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By May Wilkerson

Marijuana policy

5/04/12 3:56pm

Pelosi Speaks Out Amid Pot Policy Chaos

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Pelosi was less cosy with Obama on MMJ
this week. Photo via

Confusion reigns in the wild and wacky world of drug policy this week. With the Obama administration seemingly doing its best to alienate its base in the run-up to the November election, by busting down the doors of state-sanctioned marijuana growers, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is finally speaking up. She released a statement on Wednesday criticizing the government's interference with medical marijuana laws in California and other states. Crucially, she pointed to the stark contrast between the administration's current actions and it’s previous written policy that “did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws.”

This followed the spectacle of the Center for American Progress indulging in some jaw-dropping revisionism by giving Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske a virtual foot rub for his “transformative” approach to drug policy on Tuesday. The Drug Czar’s revolutionary “third way” seems to be more of the same, dressed up with some token nods toward progressives. As Mike Riggs succinctly puts it over at the Reason blog: "What’s the quickest way for the Obama administration to convince progressives that the war on drugs is over, even though it’s not? Step 1: Say that the drug war is over. Step 2: Convince the largest and most powerful progressive think tank in America to agree with you, invite you to their headquarters, praise you for having “transformed” drug policy in the United States, and pitch you softball questions. Step 3: Repeat step 1." The current confusion in the White House is enough to make you wonder exactly what's happening to all that confiscated Californian weed: a midnight hunt for Cheetos, anyone?

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By Tony O'Neill

drinking games

5/04/12 3:10pm

It's Raining Drunk "Possums" Down Under

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Sober possums Photo via

It appears that New Zealand has a bit of a possum problem. Not only do possums outnumber people seven to one in the island country, but residents of Dunedin, a city on South Island, are falling out of trees as part of a drinking game modeled after the furry critters. Players of the game "possum"—believed to be mainly students from Otago University—follow two simple rules: 1) Sit in a tree, and 2) Drink alcohol until you fall out of it. Whether falling constitutes winning, or losing, is unspecified. The game has been around for at least four years, but Dunedin Gardens staff have noted that a recent rise in "possum" activity is causing some precipitation problems. In addition to the obvious dangers of falling people, Dunedin City council member Alan Matchett cautions, “What they drink has to come out again, so they do throw up and urinate from the trees.” And beyond the dangers to participants and unsuspecting passersby, the game raises a host of other concerns including food scraps, litter and potential damage to the trees, some of which “are classed as heritage trees and are more than 100 years old.” A spokesman from Otago University says that wannabe “possums” should take heed; previous culprits have been "required to clean up their litter and to meet with the proctor for disciplinary action."

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By Sarah Beller

Touchdown

5/04/12 2:05pm

Video: NFL QB Talks About 800 Pill a Month Habit

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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

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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

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