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public health

7/18/12 2:13pm

Inactivity Is "as Deadly as Smoking"

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The new face of high-risk behavior.
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If you were looking for a reason to get off the couch, a new study suggests a that lack of exercise kills as many people across the world as smoking. It's recommended that adults take at least 150 minutes of "moderate exercise" a week, which includes activities like walking, biking or gardening. But about a third of adults worldwide don't meet this quota, the report estimates—and the global death toll reaches 5.3 million a year. This encompasses roughly one in ten deaths from heart disease, breast and colon cancer and diabetes. (Comparatively, smoking causes about five million deaths a year.) The report, published in The Lancet medical journal in the lead-up to the Olympics, calls the problem a "pandemic" and hopes to push physical inactivity into the spotlight as a public health issue. Pedro Hallal, one of the lead researchers, says: "The global challenge is clear—make physical activity a public health priority throughout the world to improve health and reduce the burden of disease." However, despite similar death tolls, people should be aware that rates of smoking are much lower than rates of physical activity—so smoking remains more dangerous to individuals. As Dr. Claire Knight of Cancer Research UK says, "When it comes to preventing cancer, stopping smoking is by far the most important thing you can do."

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By May Wilkerson

Celebrity Rehab

7/18/12 12:44pm

Pete Doherty Kicked Out of Thai Rehab

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Better luck next time?
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It seems rehab can't tame Pete Doherty.The troubled singer has been thrown out a posh drug clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand for his disruptive behavior and bad influence on fellow patients. Doherty arrived at the facility three weeks ago, ditching a string of festival gigs in an attempt to kick his long-standing crack cocaine and heroin addiction, which have seen him drop in and out of rehabs since 2004. But he was asked to leave halfway through treatment—almost unheard of at this facility—and is now heading back to London. Program Director Alistair Mordey, who is a recovering addict himself, cites "therapeutic reasons" for discharging Doherty. "It is important to maintain the integrity of the treatment program for the other clients to have a good chance of recovery," says Mordey. "Pete understands this and therefore the reasons behind why we have asked him to leave. We hope some of the things he has learned here will help him in the future and look forward to the day when Pete decides to consider recovery again." Doherty has plenty of company when it comes to famous hell-raisers in rehab: former wrestling champ Matt Hardy was kicked out of court-ordered rehab last year for failing a breathalyzer test. And ex-Miss Russia Anna Malova was caught hoarding and binging on prescription meds earlier this year during her court-ordered rehab stay—at one point her behavior saw her forbidden from speaking with any other patients. 

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By McCarton Ackerman

addiction treatment

7/18/12 11:58am

Can Amino Acid Therapy Help Us Get Sober?

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Can balancing chemicals in the brain
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Eric Lapp—founder and CEO of Raleigh House Treatment Center in Denver, Colorado—knows what it's like to hit rock bottom, having been hooked on meth, cocaine, alcohol and Oxy for years. “I had been in and out of rehab 14 times, lost everything I had, and watched my weight drop from 190 to 135 pounds,” he tells The Fix. “I was depressed and suicidal, but I still couldn’t stop taking drugs.” Lapp is now four years sober—and he believes he owes it to amino acid therapy. “My withdrawals were reduced by 80-90%,” he says. “That was the turning point for me. I finally felt good—without drugs—and have been sober ever since.”

This relatively new form of addiction treatment, which comes in the form of powders that are made into drinks, is being used by a growing number of rehabs—including, of course, Raleigh House. “We use targeted amino acids,” says Lapp, who claims, “We are seeing people on day three and four of withdrawal and feeling great!” The idea behind using amino acids, the body's "building blocks," is that they're responsible for keeping the chemistry in our brain balanced; drugs changes the chemistry in the brain—so using supplements such as L-Tyrosine is meant to help create new neurotransmitters in the brain and redress this imbalance. Lapp says his facility steers clear of maintenance drugs like suboxone and methadone. “You have to remove the drug in its entirety,” he says. “If not that behavior is still there, and there is still that drug-seeking mentality.” In addition to starting his own treatment center, Lapp and his team have developed a recovery supplement called ModeraXL, which contains an amino acid blend to promote healthy brain function. “Using amino acid therapy to treat addiction, in my opinion, is the closest thing to a cure for addiction,” he says. “It makes everything else fall into place a little bit easier.” 

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By Valerie Tejeda

Legalization of Marijuana

7/18/12 10:50am

States' Pot Legalization: The National Impact

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They just may get their wish.
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A panel of drug experts is warning that completely legalizing marijuana in just one state could cause snowballing consequences that government officials may not have adequately prepared for. Oregon, Colorado and Washington are the three states that will vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana; the panel believes that legalization would lead to a sharp decrease in the price of the drug, perhaps dropping to as little as one-quarter of its current value. That would encourage more people to use it, they say, undermining national marijuana laws. In addition, Colorado’s proposition would allow residents to obtain a grower’s license fairly easily, making the state a great home for exporters of pot. “They would be able to provide marijuana to New York state markets at one quarter of the current price,” says Jonathan Caulkins, co-author of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. “The federal government will face some really difficult choices where actions are like double-edged swords.” Obama's administration still opposes legalizing marijuana, and has taken action to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado and California. But some on the panel think a sit-down between federal officials and the governor of Colorado is vital in order to anticipate the problems if the state legalizes pot. "[I would] sit down with the governor of the state and say, 'Look, we can make your life completely miserableand we willunless you figure out a way to avoid the exports,” says sometime Fix contributor Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

7/18/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: July 18, 2012

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Kidd says he "didn't know what happened"
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By May Wilkerson

Drug War

7/17/12 5:41pm

Google Searches for an End to the Drug War

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Will Google's summit yield results?
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Who better to adopt the roll of cyber-age superhero and fight crime globally than Google? The company's "think/do tank"—"Google Ideas"—was formed several years ago as part of an ongoing effort to "explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges." Starting today in Los Angeles, Google Ideas is hosting a two-day summit called "Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition." The search giant says in a statement: "We vowed to avoid the safe route," when it comes to finding a solution to global violence. "Given that technology has demonstrated it can be part of every problem, we want to make sure it is part of every solution. We hope to tackle the thorniest of issues." That includes the drug war that rages below the US/Mexico border, which has claimed more than 50,000 lives in six years. The summit's speakers will include longtime drug war analyst Sylvia Longmire, who says drug cartels often use technology to aid their efforts. As the world's most powerful search engine, she believes that Google could be a strong force in the fight to expose and stop drug cartels. "To me the idea [of a summit] was totally out there," she says. But: "The more I thought about it I thought, 'You know this could be pretty special.' It’s not that far-fetched to think Google would have an interest in helping technology disrupt these networks.”

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By Gabrielle Wuhl

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The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

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This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

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Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

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What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

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