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social media addiction

4/05/12 11:38am

Facebook Addiction Puts Sex Offender in Prison

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Hall's status changed from "on probation" to
"in jail" Photo via

Facebook and Myspace addiction has earned a sex offender from Arizona 10 years in the slammer. William Hall—convicted of “attempted sexual exploitation of a minor” and “surreptitious photographing” in October 2010—was initially sentenced to 10 years' probation. One of his conditions was that he must not use or possess computer equipment, or access the Internet without written approval from a probation officer. Hall—a Web designer—needed to use the internet for work, but was closely supervised through spyware. When he was caught using Facebook and Myspace, his probation officer blocked those sites. But Hall worked around this by using a desktop he hadn't handed over. When his probation officer busted him, the court was alerted to Hall's probation violation and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Social media addiction has gotten a lot of attention lately, with some reports claiming sites like Facebook are just as additive as drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Having to stay offline is becoming a common probation condition for sex offenders, to prevent them from seeking out new prey.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Whitney Houston

4/05/12 10:29am

Final Report on Whitney Houston's Death Released

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More than one addiction Photo via

Whitney Houston may have suffered a seizure brought on by cocaine use, according to the the final autopsy report released yesterday. On March 22, the Los Angeles County coroner initially ruled the singer’s death as accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors. After examining the autopsy report, TV addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky suggests that a cocaine-induced seizure may have been combined with withdrawal from alcohol and Xanax. "To me, a sudden drop off in the Xanax level, a drop off in your alcohol consumption, add cocaine, that's a recipe for a seizure," he says. "Somebody who's now upside down in a bathtub could easily seize and drown." Empty beer bottles as well as an empty bottle of Xanax were found in Houston's room, but the level of sedative found in her blood was low. Also found in her room were "a small spoon with a white crystal like substance in it and a rolled up piece of white paper.” Coroner's investigator Kristy McCracken wrote, "I also collected remnants of a white powdery substance from out of a drawer and from the bottom of a mirror in the same drawer in the bathroom counter." The final coroner's report notes that the 48-year-old had several small scald burns on her face at the time of her death, and drowned face down in a tub of "extremely hot water" about 12 inches deep.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

4/05/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: April 5, 2012

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Feelings run high after recent raids.
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By The Fix staff

Gaming Addiction

4/04/12 4:58pm

Chinese Gaming Addicts "Become Gigolos"

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Gaming addicts flock to internet cafes to get
their fix. Photo via

Despite the Chinese government limiting gaming time and access for its citizens, online gaming addiction is still a serious problem in the nascent superpower. And according to Chinese media, that's leading to an even bigger problem among "second generation farmers"—the children of current rural farmers and countryside workers, who typically migrate to nearby cities. The Chinese newspaper Southern Rural reports that a lack of education and "discipline," coupled with a desire for quick money, causes these young men to turn to prostitution to support their gaming addictions. Male prostitutes—or "ducks" as they're often known in China—can make the equivalent of nearly $250 for an overnight visit. But these second generation farmers are apparently already starting to feel the taxing physical effects of marathon online gaming sessions and frequent "pick-ups." One of them, 20-year-old Xiao Guan, says he fled from his home to nearby Guangzhou after dropping out of school at age 13, and eventually turned to prostitution at age 17. After finishing his work for the night, he heads directly to a net cafe to play online games until the afternoon, before repeating the cycle.

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By McCarton Ackerman

drug laws

4/04/12 3:33pm

NJ Hosts Rival Drug-Offender Treatment Plans

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NJ State Sen. Lesniak agrees in principle
with Gov. Christie. Photo via

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has recently been advocating that non-violent drug offenders get mandatory treatment, rather than jail time. Now another, similar proposal, championed by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D.), is moving through the state legislature. Lesniak—in a riposte to the old joke that a Republican is a Democrat who’s been mugged—actually came to believe in treatment instead of jail time after suffering a home invasion at the hands of two men in 2009. He realized then that it made no sense for his attackers to be sentenced to jail without getting treatment for their addiction—and testified to that effect at the trials of both men, one of whom did end up being remanded to treatment, rather than prison. The bill now proceeding through the state senate differs from Christie’s in a couple key points, most notably scale and roll-out. The governor’s proposal would make treatment mandatory for all non-violent drug offenders in New Jersey, while Lesniak’s bill is more cautious and less costly: it would introduce a pilot program in two counties, while allowing a larger number of offenders statewide to volunteer to participate. “We don't know that mandatory treatment is effective," Lesniak tells the Associated Press. He adds: “We don't want to deny someone who volunteers for treatment because someone else was forced into treatment.”

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By Hunter R. Slaton

hangover cures

4/04/12 2:53pm

Bizarre Hangover Cure Endangers Rhinos

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Rhino horn is a "must-have" in upper class
Vietnam. Photo via

Vietnam's growing "addiction" to rhinoceros horn threatens to wipe out the world's dwindling rhinoceros population. Rhino horns—composed of keratin, a protein found in human hair and fingernails—are considered good luck in the Asian nation, where they're widely used to prevent hangovers and cure a range of physical and spiritual ills. The horns, smuggled illegally from Africa, are often ground up and ingested in liquified form after a night of hard drinking. Authorities say Vietnam's voracious demand drives the rhino horn trade, with the high price perhaps even increasing the appeal: in Asia, the crushed powder fetches up to $55,000 per kilogram ($25,000 per pound)—a price that rivals the US street value of cocaine. Meanwhile, illegal rhino killings in Africa reached record heights in 2011 and are expected to rise again, with 150 rhinos already poached this year. Vietnamese laws around horn trafficking are less than watertight and, despite pledges to curb the problem, government crackdowns are rare. "It's a very dire situation," Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe tells the Associated Press. "We have very little cushion for these populations in the wild."

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By May Wilkerson

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