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drunk driving

6/29/12 4:28pm

Talking Urinal Cakes Fight Drunk Driving


Bathroom break? Urine for a lecture! Photo via

If you've ever thought, “Gee whiz, there should be more ways to deliver anti-drunk driving PSAs,” you're in luck. Michigan officials have come up with a radical idea to interact with drinkers: talking urinal cakes. Motion-activated, the talking cakes will shower captive audiences with some golden advice: shake off any notion of driving drunk. Authorities plan to deliver 400 of the devices to 200 locations in time for July 4. “Listen up. That’s right, I’m talking to you," the talking urinal cakes begin, in a warm, mellow woman's voice. "Had a few drinks? Maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor: call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands.” The cakes are made by Wizmark, and the Maryland-based company claims to manufacture the first and only interactive items of their kind: some sing and flash lights, others help keep the streets clear of drunk drivers. Authorities aim to drive home their message by making it part of the inevitable final bathroom break that men take right before they leave the bar. The talking urinal cakes also take advantage of bathroom “guy rules,” as the Detroit News points out—by which it's socially mandated that men must only look straight forward or down while at the urinal, never talking or making eye-contact with neighbors. The only sound remaining—almost—will be the speaking urinal cakes. Listen up to a couple of the prototype messages:

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By Bryan Le

Jane Says

6/29/12 3:16pm

Video: Jane Velez-Mitchell Points the Finger on Rx Drugs

Q: Deaths from Rx drug ODs tripled between 2002 and 2008. But US companies still manufacture vastly more mood-altering painkillers than the population needs for medical reasons. What should the government do?

[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

Bad Sports

6/29/12 2:38pm

Pot Costs US Wrestler Her Olympic Dream


Lee won't represent the US in London.
Photo via

American wrestler Stephany Lee has received a one-year suspension from the US Anti-Doping Agency and been forced to give up her spot on the team for next month's London Olympics after marijuana was found in her system. Just months after celebrating both her win at the Olympic trials and marriage to her longtime girlfriend, 27 year-old Lee tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol acid at the April trials. This isn't her first doping violation—weeks after she won the 2009 United States Open, it was announced that she tested positive for a marijuana metabolite she was stripped of her title. Lee, a native of Honolulu, will likely be replaced in the 158-pound class by Ali Bernard, a 2008 Olympian who came second to Lee at the trials in Iowa City; USA Wrestling has nominated her as Lee's replacement. "I apologize to USA Wrestling, my teammates, my coaches and everyone who supported me for my mistake," says Lee in a USA Wrestling news release. "I will continue to train, and hope to be able to represent my country at the 2016 Olympic Games." 

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By Gabrielle Wuhl

Celebrity Rehab

6/29/12 1:04pm

Kelly Osbourne's Drunken Meltdown on Plane


Osbourne's had her fair share of struggles.
Photo via

It's been a rough month for Kelly Osbourne. Her brother Jack Osbourne announced that he has multiple sclerosis and the diagnosis proved to be too much for her to handle. Kelly—who is in recovery from prescription painkiller addiction—got so drunk on a flight to Atlanta that she had to be carried off the plane by a security guard. Although she initially denied the incident, Kelly is now taking full responsibility. She says her drinking was triggered by a fan offering well-wishes for her brother: "A gentleman came up to me and asked me how my brother was doing and told me about his brother having MS and directed me toward a website," she explains. "On the plane I started looking at the website. It described how bad certain cases of MS got, and it made me lose it because I've sat through my mother having breast cancer, my dad almost dying from a bike accident, and now it's my brother who's my best friend." She admits: "I lost it." However, while most recovery programs stress abstinence from all drugs and alcohol, Osbourne has continued drinking socially and has no plans to stop. "The way I live my life after going to rehab is not the way that most people do," she says. "Yes, I still drink and I've always said that. I do have the occasional drink. I'm not using, I haven't. I won't. I'm not going to do that."

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/living/if-youre-in-recovery-from-drug-addiction-is-it-ever-possible-to-continue-using-alcohol-safely/question-2762895/" title="If you're in recovery from drug addiction, is it ever possible to continue using alcohol safely?">If you're in recovery from drug addiction, is it ever possible to continue using alcohol safely?</a>

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By McCarton Ackerman

effects of smoking

6/29/12 12:51pm

Violent Sleep Disorder Linked to Smoking


Sleep fighting: don't let it happen to you.
Photo via

It's common for smokers to become more agitated when they can't have their cigs—now it turns out that such aggression may also appear in their sleep. A new study suggests that a rare sleep disorder in which people violently kick, punch or thrash in their sleep is more common in smokers. The study examined 347 people who suffered from REM sleep behavior disorder and another 347 who didn't. The disorder only affects 0.5% of adults, but those diagnosed are 43% more likely than the average to be smokers, and WebMD reports that 45% of cases are linked to withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives or antidepressants. "Until now, we didn't know much about the risk factors for this disorder, except that it was more common in men and in older people," says study author Dr. Ronald B. Postuma, a sleep researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal. "Because it is a rare disorder, it was difficult to gather information about enough patients for a full study. For this study, we worked with 13 institutions in 10 countries to get a full picture of the disorder." For any sleeping partners of people with the disorder who worry about waking up with a black eye in the morning, possible treatments include muscle relaxers such as Klonopin and changes to the sleep environment, reducing the risk of injury.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Celebrity Roundup

6/29/12 11:26am

Celebrity Roundup: June 29, 2012


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


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