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4/11/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: April 11, 2012

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Shock-horror in the classroom Thinkstock

By Bryan Le

Addiction TV

4/10/12 5:02pm

New TV Documentary Series Seeks Addicts

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Calling all addicts Photo via

A TV production company is seeking families with a member suffering from crystal meth, heroin, alcohol or crack cocaine addiction—and offering free rehab for chosen participants. Last year Pioneer Productions produced shows for National Geographic and the BBC on how cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine affects the human body, using computer-generated imagery to help viewers get into users' head and learn about the effects of drugs. This year a documentary series for a major US network is planned, focusing not only on the individual effects of drugs but on how addicts' loved ones are affected too. Each episode will spotlight a different addiction and feature two families. "We want to make a truly honest and open documentary—focused on real people," says the company. "We're looking for families that have a loved one addicted to one of these substances that would be willing to be open and honest on camera." They claim their crew will be sensitive to volunteers' needs and focused on keeping featured families comfortable and happy with the filming. Their last series is already being used educationally in schools, and they hope the same can happen with this one. Anyone interested can email casting@pioneertv.com.

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By Bryan Le

booze cruise

4/10/12 4:22pm

Rude, Nude Students Banned From Ferry

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An unpleasant present for France. Photo via

University students from rival Manchester schools have been banned from a cross-channel ferry after drunkenly fighting and streaking in the ship's bar. The P&O Spirit of France crew refused to take the 200 University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University students back home, stranding them in France, after they raised a ruckus that forced crew members to evacuate other passengers from the area for their own safety. Many of the students were on their way to a ski trip and were visibly drunk even before boarding the ferry, according to crew members. After boarding, several co-eds began shouting, exposing themselves, fighting and dancing on tables naked. "Customers and staff on board the ship were appalled by the students' aggressive and lewd conduct, which should be stamped out by the authorities," said a P&O Ferries spokeswoman, recounting that the company was forced to shelter passengers in a reserved VIP lounge so that they would not be harmed. P&O has since contacted both schools to inform them that the students are banned from riding their ferries and will not be provided with a return trip—and to urge that the students be reprimanded. Students at the University of Manchester are especially notorious for their rowdy, drunken behavior, which has forced the university to intervene. The school is reportedly drafting a clause into its charter to deter unruly behavior off campus.

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By Fionna Agomuoh

Bad sports

4/10/12 3:22pm

Booze Advertisers Exploit Apathetic Athletes

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Nothing rehydrates like a nice beer. Photo via

Most celebrity endorsers never touch the stuff they sell—sports stars included, apparently. The University of Syndey found that of 2000 elite athletes, 91% would not actually support the use of the junk food and alcohol they publicly endorse. The Aussie survey revealed older professional male athletes were most likely to support advertising of unhealthy products while younger amateur female athletes were much less inclined—unfortunate, because other research has shown that superstar athletes have a powerful influence on children, who regularly request the products famous athletes push. Athletes continue hawking the products they would never personally use because of the big ad bucks it brings in. “The perceived need for the sporting industry to be able to continue to earn money from food and alcohol advertising and sponsorship might explain this passive tolerance,” says lead researcher Dr Anne Grunseit. She points out that if athletes could be paid as well to speak out against—rather than endorsing—unhealthy products, their star power could be sourced for more beneficial ends. “In terms of public policy, as with tobacco, the regulation of unhealthy sponsorship or the use of counter-marketing (for example quitting smoking advertisements) to reduce demand for a particular product could be effective,” Grunseit says. “An obvious counter-marketing message would be that some of these products are likely to undermine your sports performance.”

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By Bryan Le

drinking kills

4/10/12 2:31pm

Your Cocktails Are Carcinogenic

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Four or more drinks a day could put you in
the danger zone. Photo via

If you pass on those lunchtime martinis, you could be decreasing your risk of cancer, according to new research. A study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, finds that commercial samples of alcoholic drinks contained above-trace levels of carcinogens including arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde and lead. Ethanol, as expected, was the carcinogen with the highest concentration in alcoholic beverages. "The protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption proven in epidemiology is on cardiovascular disease, and not on cancer," said lead author Dirk Lachenmeier, an epidemiologist at the Dresden University of Technology. “Our intention was to compare the different carcinogenic substances.” As far as how many drinks would be be considered harmful, the study found that light to moderate drinkers should be relatively safe, but those who drink four or more drinks a day are at substantially higher risk. The researchers also stated that one type of alcohol may not be necessarily be better than others—red wine, for example, is thought to be healthier than other alcohols. "We think that the current state of research does not allow concluding that red wine is less carcinogenic than white wine, or any other alcoholic beverage," wrote co-author Jürgen Rehm. Even though there has been evidence of resveratrol—a compound found in red wine—lowering breast cancer risk, Lachenmeier believes more research is needed to substantiate those claims, saying "most studies on such compounds, like resveratrol, are based on in-vitro results, which are not usable for quantitative dose-response analyses as conducted in our study."

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By Valerie Tejeda

Medical Marijuana

4/10/12 1:26pm

Debate Heats Up Over Medical Marijuana in NY

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New York has a "terrible" drug problem, says
Gov. Cuomo. Photo via

The debate continues to blaze over legalizing medical marijuana in New York, despite an overwhelming 71% of the public in favor of it. State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) has announced plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will refuse to sign the legislation if it is passed. 16 states, including Washington DC, have legalized marijuana. Legislators have attempted to pass a marijuana legalization bill three times over the past few years, but this one is a breed apart: if passed, this bill would only allow marijuana to be available through a licensed dispensary—only those who are too poor or live too far away from a dispensary would be allowed to grow their own plants. Medical marijuana would bring in revenue for the state, and Cuomo acknowledges the numerous benefits. However, he feels that the riskssuch as unwanted attention for the state, increased work for law enforcement and possible legal entanglementsoutweigh the benefits, since New York has what he calls a “terrible problem” with drug use.

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By Chrisanne Grise

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