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7/16/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: July 16, 2012

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Did Ambien affect Kerry Kennedy's driving?
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By The Fix staff

human rights

7/13/12 4:46pm

Were Guantanamo Bay Interrogations Drug-Assisted?

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What went down at Guantanamo?
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Were Guantanamo Bay prisoners given mind-altering drugs in order to facilitate interrogations? A report was released this week based on an investigation conducted in 2008-2009, after a prisoner held at Guantanamo claimed he had been forcibly drugged. The findings show no evidence that prisoners were deliberately medicated—but they do reveal that a number of detainees were being prescribed anti-psychotic medications by prison doctors, to treat various diagnosed mental issues. Lawyers are arguing that the prisoners may have made incriminating statements while under the influence of these drugs, raising questions about the evidence that was used to keep them locked up. “If the government relied on statements by doped-up detainees, regardless of why they were doped up, the government has kept men locked up for more than a decade on the basis of evidence that can’t be trusted,” says David Remes, a human rights lawyer who represents 16 prisoners at the US base in Cuba. 

The report also shows that "numerous" detainees have complained of being forcibly medicated, and that prison officials often used "chemical restraints" to subdue prisoners perceived to be threatening. A Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, says there's no evidence that any drugs were administered deliberately to pacify prisoners—who are mostly held on accusations of terrorism or alleged connections to Al-Qaida and the Taliban. "The detainees were not given drugs as a means to facilitate interrogation," says Breasseale. "Let me be clear about that." The Pentagon has declined to comment on the potential legal implications of prisoners being interviewed while under the influence of prescribed medications.

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By May Wilkerson

olympic partying

7/13/12 4:03pm

Hope Solo Admits Being Hammered on Today

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Hope Solo works hard, plays hard.
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Hope Solo has been kicking around in the headlines a lot lately. Just days ago, the US women's soccer star was let off with only a warning after testing positive for a diuretic—over a prescription drug she says was for "pre-menstrual purposes." And now she's admitted in a recent interview with ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk on Today while being honored in 2008 for winning the Olympic gold medal. Far from copping to substance abuse issues, Hope says she simply partied a little too hard the night before over her big win. "When we were done partying, we got out of our nice dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 am with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk," she divulges, naming some of her high-profile drinking buddies. "Vince Vaughn partied with us. Steve Byrne, the comedian. And at some point we decided to take the party back to the village, so we started talking to the security guards, showed off our gold medals, got their attention and snuck our group through without credentials—which is absolutely unheard of." Solo chalks the night up to Olympic athletes being the type to work hard and party hard—giving their all to everything from sprint drills to pounding shots. "Athletes are extremists," says Solo. "When they're training, it's laser focus. When they go out for a drink, it's 20 drinks." Since she'll be representing the US in just a couple of weeks at the London Olympics, let's hope she's focusing on the former.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Ask Jane

7/13/12 3:19pm

Video: Are Nicotine and Caffeine OK in Recovery?

Q: When people call themselves clean and sober, why do they still think they're allowed to use addictive, mood-altering drugs like nicotine and caffeine?

[Jane is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like. Send your questions to janevelezmitchell@thefix.com.]

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By Jane Velez-Mitchell

binge drinking

7/13/12 2:18pm

New Night-Out Tactic: The "Drunk Phone"

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At least the numeric keypad could stop
some drunk texting. Photo via

Technology is amazing. In 1969, we used a computer with a 0.043 MHz processor to put a man on the moon. In 2012, forward-thinking young binge-drinkers are using low-end cell phones with 800 MHz processors as “drunk phones”—decoys that they can take with them and lose on inebriated nights out with no regrets—researchers report. They came across this practice while investigating the role of beers versus other drinks on Saturday nights. “In studying beer, we started to discover that young adults cherish their smart phones and iPhones so much that they don’t want to lose them if they have an epic night out,” says Laura Krajecki, chief consumer officer at Starcom MediaVest Group. “Now they take what they call their 'drunk phone,' a cheap low-end phone, so now they are carrying two phones because they don’t want to lose their smart phone.”

Is this really the answer for America's youth? Some students confirm the potential attractiveness of such an idea to The Fix. “I don't think anyone would get [a drunk phone] unless they're ready to admit they're a drunk mess who can't handle a real phone—most people are in denial about it,” says Alexandra, a college junior. “But it's a good idea.” She knows four girls who drunkenly lost six cell phones between them in a three-week period. The strategy's potential isn't lost on Andrew, a college sophomore who almost lost his phone at one party, either—but neither is the stigma: “I feel like that would pave way for a bad first impression to people,” he says. “It's like, 'Oh hey, I have to have a second phone because I always lose mine because I'm too drunk out of my mind to keep up with it.'” But hey, at least you'll lose a phone you don't care about after you embark on some Kate Moss–style drunk dialing. 

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By Bryan Le

Celebrity Roundup

7/13/12 12:40pm

Celebrity Roundup: July 13, 2012

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Did Fraser drunkenly assault his producer?
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A producer who worked on Brendan Fraser’s in-development film, The Legend of William Tell, claims that back in July 2011, an “intoxicated” Fraser began to “physically push, verbally threaten, and poke him in the chest repeatedly.” He’s suing Fraser for $25,000 in damages stemming from this and a related incident of alleged violence—but Fraser’s lawyer called the suit “ridiculous and absurd.” Either way, this is one sure way to get Fraser’s name back in the headlines.

Troubled rock star Courtney Love has had even more public scandals than expected lately (including conflict with The Fix over the e-book, Courtney Comes Clean). And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, with her ex-assistant filing a wrongful termination suit against Love, claiming that Love asked her to hire a hacker to tamper with business records while she was an employee. Love’s beleaguered publicist, however, denies all, insisting: “The allegations are completely unfounded and are being made with malice by a disgruntled former employee.” 

It’s been a year since Amy Winehouse’s death, but her mother, Janis Winehouse, says that her grief hasn’t gotten any easier—although she takes some unusual reincarnation-based solace. “I'm pretty sure she has come back as a butterfly,” Winehouse said, “because she would love the freedom of flying."

Cat Cora, the celebrity chef known for her appearances on Iron Chef America and as the host of Around the World in 80 Plates, was busted for a DUI last month while driving through Santa Barbara, after she rear-ended another vehicle and police found her showing signs of intoxication. She failed two breathalyzer tests—blowing more than double the legal limit—before she was taken to a local hospital and cited for drinking and driving. Maybe she should steer clear of the wine pairings.

One starlet who claims to be avoiding the Hollywood hard-partying scene? Jessica Biel, who says she’s the first to exit a party if it’s getting too wild. “If there is a huge drug fest happening and everyone is getting it on in the bedroom,” she says, “it is probably time to leave." Good advice, but we’re assuming that Justin Timberlake’s well-known love of marijuana doesn’t count.

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By Sam Lansky

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