Amy Fisher—the alcoholic turned six-figure salary porn star and Celebrity Rehab graduate—became known as the Long Island Lolita in 1992 when she severely wounded and nearly killed her lover’s wife at the age of 16. Two decades after blasting Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face, and having served seven years in prison for first-degree aggravated assault, it's still perhaps no surprise that Fisher has not yet found an opponent willing to step into the ring and trade punches—it was revealed yesterday that she's signed herself up for Celebrity Boxing. Alki David, president of Filmon.com, will choose Fisher’s opponent for her November 5 bout, and $5,000 is on offer to anyone foolhardy enough to take on the 37-year-old adult entertainer. Fisher might also be looking for a punching bag to vent frustrations about an unappreciated reputation—she recently reached out to fans to refute assertions by Celebrity Rehab that she is an alcoholic: “The producers of Celebrity Rehab are using creative editing to misrepresent [me],” said Fisher, who also told her Twitter followers in July that her Rehab appearance was a sham. Oddly enough, the seemingly sober boxing enthusiast might end up right back where she started if she takes her new occupation too far—repeated beatings to the head leave you vulnerable to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can cause addiction, depression and anxiety. Should she throw in the towel after several rounds of stiff jabs and left hooks, we may once again see the same physically and emotionally fragile Amy Fisher that we watched on the fifth season of Celebrity Rehab.
Stoners may be famed for getting the munchies and setting forth on food-seeking adventures, but a new study by French researchers suggests they are still less likely to be overweight than non-smokers, and are generally on the thinner side. This came as a surprise to the researchers, who believed in the stereotype that pot causes the urge to wolf the entire contents of the fridge. "Cannabis is supposed to increase appetite," study author Dr. Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France, told MSNBC. "We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake." Researchers compiled data from two population surveys of US adults and found obesity rates in people who "just say no" were 22% and 25.3% respectively in the two surveys. But those who smoked pot at least three times a week in those same populations had obesity rates of just 14.3% and 17.2%. However, there is no evidence that weed causes weight loss. Other factors like pot smokers' intense physical activity and diets could have contributed to the finding, said Le Strat. "The take-home message is certainly not 'smoke cannabis, it will help you lose weight,'" he hastened to add. "The possibility that cannabis is associated with a lower risk of obesity remains an interesting hypothesis, but certainly does not counterbalance its negative effects on health and mental health."
You don’t want to get stuck in a drug detention center in Vietnam (though we’re not recommending them elsewhere in Southeast Asia either). Yesterday the international NGO Human Rights Watch released a 121-page report called The Rehab Archipelago that details a litany of abuses in 14 rehab centers around Vietnam. Inmates are used as forced labor, performing hazardous work without pay. Although they enter the centers voluntarily for drug treatment, they're forbidden from leaving and are compelled to work in agricultural production, garment making or construction. Some of the products made in these abusive settings make their way into the supply chains of companies that sell goods to the US and Europe. The report called the drug treatment “ineffective and abusive,” and accused international HIV and AIDS nonprofit organizations—including the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—of facilitating the abuse. Under Vietnamese law, individuals in detention have a right to be released if they are not being provided with appropriate medical care—by providing that care, it's claimed, organizations like PEPFAR deprive exploited inmates of that avenue to freedom. Human Rights Watch said that forced labor is not incidental to a core program of drug treatment in the centers; rather, it is central to how the institutions operate. One inmate who was interviewed said: “If you refused to work, they slapped you. If you refused to work then they sent you to the punishment room. Everyone worked.”
- Linn State Technical College Begins Widespread Drug Tests [Huffington Post]
- City Pays Out $1.3 Million After Heroin Custody Death [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Ecstasy Use Up, Meth Down [New Zealand Herald]
- Addicts "Should Be Sent to Isolated Work Camps" [Calgary Herald]
- AlcoholEdu Provides Students with Short-Term Insight [Daily Texan]
- Should I Start Drinking Again to Get My Benefits Back? [Daily Mirror]
- Ronnie Wood Once Kidnapped and Taken to Rehab [CTV News]
“X-Men: First Class” star Michael Fassbender is tipped for the Venice Film Festival best actor award for a controversial role in Shame, a new picture by British director Steve McQueen about sex addiction. Fassbender stars as a Manhattanite who shakes up his sterile corporate existence—and numbs childhood trauma—by chasing the high of casual sex on subways and in clubs (and by resorting frequently to porn and masturbation at home). The film is drawing rave reviews: Variety rates it as an “uncompromising drama” that “fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body,” adding that the film is “certain to arouse critical acclaim and smart-audience interest wherever it’s shown.” The Guardian calls the film “fluid, rigorous, serious cinema; the best kind of adult movie.” It contains, as The Guardian puts it, “a mighty lot of sex,” which Fassbender seems to have taken as a matter of professional duty in portraying an active addict. “He’s a guy who is trying to feel something and then at the same time can’t involve himself emotionally with anybody,” he said in an interview. “He has this obsession [with] physical encounters that are pretty joyless and definitely non-emotional, and he is abusing himself, he doesn’t like himself. After these acts, there is a lot of shame … and so he goes out and has to do it again, to get rid of that feeling... so there is this horrible cyclical pattern going on.” Bingo. Director McQueen—whose artwork has won the Turner Prize and been featured at the Venice Biennale—said he set the film in New York because it stood for a city with round-the-clock “excess and access.” “It’s about freedom,” he said of the film at a press conference [below]. “How someone’s freedom can actually imprison them, in a way, in order for them to numb a pain … often it’s the case with certain kinds of access—to alcohol, gambling, food, sex, whatever it is.” The film is as yet unrated and many are wondering whether the its subject and treatment will allow for US distribution. "I also find amazing how films get those ratings,” said Fassbender. “You can take a cheese cutter and take somebody's head off or riddle somebody with 50 bullets, but God forbid if you show a penis and fucking on screen… it seems a bit bizarre to me."
A judge from Georgia has provided clinching evidence that addiction strikes every stratum of society. Catoosa County magistrate Anthony Peters' spectacular painkiller- and marijuana-induced meltdown included pointing a gun at himself, kicking down doors, ranting against his boss on TV and being led away from his own courthouse in cuffs. Now he's been banned from the bench for life. Peters made magistrate in 1997, but his life changed dramatically after his father's suicide and a bad ATV accident in 2005. Unsuccessful surgeries and painkiller prescriptions saw him behaving bizarrely by February 2009, when he went to a house to help a relative and ended up kicking two doors in. That spring, he pointed a gun at himself in the courthouse while challenging a fellow judge: "I am not scared. Are you?" Co-worker complaints reached the ears of Chief Magistrate Judge Sonny Caldwell, who initiated an investigation—by then, Peters had shaved his head and eyebrows, talked of suicide, and asked odd questions to defendants about drugs and alcohol. Caldwell's questionable reaction was to try to place his crazed colleague on the night-shift—this led to a fierce dispute that only ended when deputies hauled Peters away in cuffs. Undeterred, he called a local TV talkshow, publicly describing his boss as "spineless" and unmasking a confidential informant on air. He called back the next day, adopting a number of fake accents to conceal his identity—but caller ID instantly betrayed him. He went ahead and pronounced Caldwell a "spineless jelly spine" anyway. He was finally placed on "administrative leave" in June 2010. At a hearing to determine his fate yesterday, he admitted to smoking marijuana "at least" once a week between March and May 2010, but argued he'd already been punished enough. However, his refusal to seek drug treatment didn't impress. "Those judicial officers who cannot give the public... confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary—do not deserve to continue to hold judicial office," stated the court, kicking him off the bench for life in the state of Georgia. Peters' attorney was unsurprised by the verdict. He said that his client has found new work and is now doing "very well."