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Celebrity Roundup

6/29/12 11:26am

Celebrity Roundup: June 29, 2012

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Pete Doherty, conformist
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Does having tiger blood and Adonis DNA make you immune to rehab? Charlie Sheen thinks so, since he told Good Morning America this week that he “doesn’t believe in rehab anymore.” (Did he ever?) “It’s not for me,” he said. “It’s not for everyone. It’s not a one-size-fits-all and it didn’t fit me.” Given the critical reception to his new show, Anger Management, comedy might not fit him, either.

It may be a paparazzi’s dream to end up driving around with an intoxicated Lindsay Lohan, but it was a nightmare for three men who ended up held captive on a joyride with Lohan back in 2007 after leaving a party. She was ultimately arrested for DUI, and the men sued for false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery. Now, she’s finally settled with them, although details of the settlement haven’t yet been released. Glad to hear she’s putting that Liz & Dick paycheck to good use.

Despite a planned appearance at the music festival T in the Park, Libertines frontman (and Kate Moss’ famous ex) Pete Doherty has instead returned to rehab for the umpteenth time—this time going halfway across the world to Thailand for treatment. Doherty’s manager claimed that the “rigorous treatment programme” in Chiang Mai should finally “lead him to recovery once and for all.” 

File under “Completely Predictable and Not at All Surprising: Snoop Dogg was detained at a Norwegian airport yesterday after customs officials found eight grams of marijuana in his possession. in Norway, possession under 15 grams is punishable with a mere fine, which amounted to less than $2,000. Reportedly, Snoop paid it promptly and was on his way: a model stoner.

After a violent brawl between R&B stars Drake and Chris Brown’s respective entourages resulted in several injuries, the nightclub in question—New York’s W.i.P. and its adjoining club Greenhouse—have had their liquor licenses suspended, with the organization’s chairman saying they “would not tolerate violent bars that break the law."

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By Sam Lansky

eating disorders

6/29/12 11:10am

Recovering Anorexics Found Project HEAL

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Liana and Kristina want to help those who can't
afford treatment. Photo via

Two college students who bonded while in treatment together for anorexia, have founded a non-profit called HEAL to fund treatment for others suffering from eating disorders. Back in 2006, Liana Rosenman, 21, and Kristina Saffron, 20, met in an eating disorder treatment facility in Long Island, New York. During treatment and afterwards, they leaned on each other for support—often helping each other stick to their diet plans and resist counting calories. Now Rosenman, who's studying special education at Hofstra Univeristy in New York, and Saffron, who's studying psychology at Harvard, are healthy and in recovery—and working to help others recover through the non-profit organization they founded: Project HEAL (Help to: Eat, Accept, and Live), which they founded along with a friend, Becky Allen. The women have raised over $180,000 through fundraisers, donations, and grants—so far, they have sent seven women and girls to top of the line eating disorder programs. "We were really lucky in that our insurance paid for most of our treatment, and our parents could pay the rest," says Kristina. "But we saw people who really wanted it and couldn't afford it and ended up relapsing. So one day, we were talking, sort of idealistically, and we said, 'We should do something,' and we planned our first fundraiser." Project HEAL now has ten chapters at colleges across the US.  Says Rosenman: "Seeing that we really can give someone their life back—that makes it all worth it."

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

6/29/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 29, 2012

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Snoop couldn't help himself.
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By Gabrielle Wuhl

DUI

6/28/12 4:46pm

Unwitting DUI Star Turns Her Life Around

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Chantel in court—and under the influence.

When Oklahoma cops pulled over a 22-year-old mom called Chantel earlier this year, and arrested her—on camera—for driving a car loaded with meth, she had no idea how her life would change. Tonight she hits our screens on the season premiere of the popular TLC show, DUI. The Fix catches up with the newly-sober reality star-to-be as she relaxes by the poolside with her one-year-old son.

Her drug use began early. "My mom was a drug addict, living a really rough life," she says. "I started with crystal, then alcohol, marijuana..." In fact, it was her mother who first gave her meth at the age of 11—although Chantel doesn't now blame a fellow addict who "didn't know what she was doing." Over the next decade she was a heavy drinker and drug-user, and began selling crystal meth for a living. Her eventual arrest found her "a little bit emotionless, I mean, I already knew what road I was going down." Charged with two felonies as well as a DUI, Chantel continued blotting out reality: when she made her first court appearance in Tulsa—hours late—the judge pronounced, "You appear to be stoned... Who's going to take care of your baby when I put you in jail today?" Sure enough, four different illegal drugs were found in Chantel's system. "Like every addict," she tells us wryly, "I thought I could manage the situation."

After several days in jail, she pleaded guilty and received a four-year deferred sentence—and the chance to live in transitional sober housing with her son. She's been clean and sober since March 17. She describes her five-woman household as "like a sorority for drug addicts," and appreciates the routine and support systems in place. A regular at AA and NA meetings, she prefers the former: "A lot of the time in NA we talk about addiction and the hard times; I like to go to my AA meetings where we talk more about our recovery." She's also had the chance to pick up new life skills, all of which makes her see her arrest as—"Most definitely!"—a good thing.

Chantel seems relaxed at the prospect of her arrest being played out in living rooms across the nation. She'd never have agreed, she says, but DUI's producers asked her, "If you could change one life, would you do it?" She firmly believes that tonight's episode could have this kind of impact: "I want to get my story out there, let people see the reality. It really could help change somebody." And while she's "excited" about a planned future that involves going back to school, for now she's just enjoying "a lot more time" with her son.

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By Will Godfrey

greek tragedy

6/28/12 4:02pm

Cornell Students Acquitted in Fatal Hazing Case

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George Desdunes died from drinking during
a fraternity ritual. Photo via

Three former Cornell University undergraduates and members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity have been found not guilty of hazing George Desdunes—a sophomore who died after being forced to drink vodka during a frat hazing ritual last spring. Max Haskin, Ben Mann and Edward Williams were acquitted of the misdemeanors of hazing in the first degree and unlawfully dealing alcohol to a minor. The fraternity itself, however, was found guilty—it faces a $12,000 fine and its Cornell branch has been shut down. Desdunes, a 19-year-old pre-med student from Brooklyn, was taken to an off-campus house, blindfolded, bound and quizzed about the history of the fraternity by Haskin, Mann and Williams. When he answered a question incorrectly, he was told to drink vodka. After reportedly vomiting and continuing to drink, Desdunes ultimately passed out. An autopsy revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.356—more than four times the legal limit for driving. Andrew Bonavia, the prosecutor in the case, said "regardless of this decision, we hope that people are going to be bringing their friends, their fraternity brothers, to the hospital if they participate in an event that makes them that sick.”

The fatal incident draws attention to a common problem on college campuses across the country in which students are often encouraged to partake in dangerous drinking rituals while being inducted into fraternities and sororities. A rising sophomore from Cornell's Greek community tells The Fix that this hazing incident was not shocking: "I think SAE has had their issues with drinking. The school knows they drink, they know they haze, but it’s nothing jaw-dropping.” As for the future of Cornell's Greek life, she maintains that the environment will be "100% different [but] this one, terrible incident is not an accurate reflection of who we are."

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By Gabrielle Wuhl

nicotine addiction

6/28/12 2:45pm

New Nicotine Vaccine Pacs a Punch

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Antibodies could eat up nicotine like so
many blue ghosts. Photo via

Quitting the habit may be as easy (or hard, depending how you feel about needles) as getting vaccinated. Scientists have found a way to prevent nicotine addiction over a lifetime, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College tested their new anti-smoking vaccine on mice and found that levels of the nicotine chemical in the brain were reduced by 85% after the injection: "As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pac-Man-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect," says the study's lead author, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal. "Our vaccine allows the body to make its own monoclonal antibodies against nicotine, and in that way, develop a workable immunity.” Previous vaccines have produced antibodies to fight nicotine addiction. But this new approach is a gene-therapy vaccine, which uses a genetically-modified virus to produce more, longer-lasting antibodies. Researchers say it could one day be used preventatively for children and young adults: "Just as parents decide to give their children an HPV vaccine, they might decide to use a nicotine vaccine. But that is only theoretically an option at this point," says Dr. Crystal. More research is anticipated, this time on humans, and he and his team are optimistic: "While we have only tested mice to date, we are very hopeful that this kind of vaccine strategy can finally help the millions of smokers who have tried to stop, exhausting all the methods on the market today, but find their nicotine addiction to be strong enough to overcome these current approaches.”

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By Valerie Tejeda

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