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War on drugs

3/22/12 12:30pm

Drug Cartel Threatens Guatemalans

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Authorities remove a Zetas banner praising
Molina's drug legalization proposal. Photo via

An ominous banner hung above a school in the city of Petén, Guatemala, threatening drastic and violent action by the Los Zetas drug cartel if authorities continued to pursue them: "To all civil and military authorities and the population in general stop persecution of the race or we will start killing. We will toss grenades into discos and shopping centers in Petén ... because this is 'Z' territory we don't want a war against the government this is a warning. Z200." The messages—written on bed sheets—are signed by Zeta 200, the head of the cartel, which is based in Mexico. Petén Gov. Henry Amezquita said the threat was "a reprisal" for Monday's arrest of Zetas capo Gustavo Colindres. Just eight days earlier, the Zetas hung banners with a less pointed message supporting President Otto Pérez Molina's drug legalization proposal: "Pérez and (Vice President Roxana) Baldetti, go through with legalizing drugs, and we support fighting the [youth gangs] ... Zeta 200" and "A thousand thanks general Otto Pérez and Roxana Baldetti for legalizing drugs ... Zeta 200." Guatemalan authorities are mindful of the Zetas' large presence throughout the country—the cartel now controls several profitable territories in Latin America—and their capability for severe violence, blaming the Zetas for the May 2011 massacre of 27 peasants at a ranch in Petén province.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Shore Leave

3/22/12 11:17am

"The Situation" Enters Rehab

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Will rehab take care of the situation? Photo via

Cue the obvious opener: We've got a rehab situation on our hands. Though both he and his publicist initially denied it, there's now confirmation that Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is undergoing inpatient rehab for prescription medication at the tony Cirque Lodge in Utah, the same place Demi Moore attended. Sorrentino released a statement saying that his stint in rehab is voluntary and the prescription med problem is the result of "exhaustion." "I have spent the past several weeks getting treatment for this problem and recuperating from my work and appearance schedule," says Sorrentino. "I appreciate my fans support and love you guys." The Situation's father, Frank Sorrentino, said that his son has been in rehab once before, at age 27, before his career took off on the MTV show. However, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that while the Sitch entered that treatment of his own will, "it took a village" of loved ones and Jersey Shore castmates to convince him this time around. MTV is also reportedly insistent that Sorrentino clean up his act before returning for the sixth season of hit show.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Treating Alcoholism

3/22/12 10:02am

Epilepsy Drug Shows Promise For Alcoholics

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A 20 mg Baclofen tablet could help heavy drinkers.

Researchers are testing to see if a drug used to treat seizures can treat alcoholism, according to French doctors. Baclofen, originally manufactured as an epilepsy drug, showed promising results in preliminary testing with a small group of alcoholics. The pretrial study, published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, followed 132 heavy drinkers who were administered high doses of baclofen for over a year. The results showed 80-percent of the group either stopped drinking completely or switched to drinking in moderation. By comparison, other drugs used to treat alcoholism, such as naltrexone and acamprosate, have had  25-percent success rate over the same period. University of Paris-Descartes’ lead researcher Philippe Jaury says the outcome of the pretrial has paved the way for a one-year clinical trail expected to start in May of 2012.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

3/22/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: March 22, 2012

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El Debarge, famous for "Rhythm of the Night,"
was caught in a daylight drug deal. Photo via

By May Wilkerson

TV Drunks

3/21/12 4:35pm

Is Alcoholism Evolving on TV?

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Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm Photo via

Sick, smoldering alcoholic Don Draper returns on Sunday in the long-awaited new season of Mad Men—arguably TV's most groundbreaking portrayal of addiction yet. In a fascinating article, Atlantic writer Scott Meslow observes how small-screen depictions of alcoholism have evolved; once featured mainly as comedic sidekicks, alcoholics are now more often characters with whom we can empathize. Meslow cites Don Draper as the perfect example of a more nuanced TV addict: a complex character with an illness, eliciting compassion despite many flaws. Mad Men's collection of alcoholic leading characters rivals any TV show in history—and while the show's "Cocktail Culture" might glamorize drinking, it doesn't shy away from showing some chaotic and shameful consequences. Ad exec Freddy Rumson is fired after wetting himself during a board meeting, and Don Draper's drinking leaves his personal and professional life in tatters.

Much has changed since the days when TV alcoholics were usually buffoons and the butt of jokes (Otis Campbell, the town drunk in The Andy Griffith Show, was a prime example). But many shows—such as Two and a Half Men and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia—still mine alcoholism for laughs, trivialize it, or avoid addressing it altogether. Other shows, such as FX's Rescue Me, play up the drama of alcoholism by buying into another cliché of the "long-suffering" but functional alcoholic. Meslow does question Mad Men's lack of addicted female characters, as well as issues like the unreasonably slick physical appearance of main characters hitting bottom. But it still signals a change in the way addiction is televised, and the potential to educate viewers about alcoholism and addiction. "They say as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem," said Don Draper at the end of last season—words that may cause some to pause before their next cocktail.

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By May Wilkerson

Rehab Review

3/21/12 3:12pm

The Fix Expands Its Rehab Review

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Cliffside Malibu, one of five new rehabs
in the Review. Photo via

The Fix is proud to announce the first expansion of its Rehab Review, with four new drug-and-alcohol treatment centers—and one sober-living facility—added to its growing list of insider-reviewed rehabs.

The new additions are concentrated in Southern California, and include Cliffside Malibu, SOBA Recovery Center, Las Vegas Recovery Center, Newport AcademyThe Fix’s first reviewed teen rehab—and Malibu Beach Sober Living’s Beach House. Check out the star ratings and insider perspectives on just what getting clean and sober at one of these places is really like. From roommate drama to mixed martial arts, from distracted doctors to compassionate staff—if you are considering rehab for yourself or a loved one, you’ll want to hear about what it’s like from people who’ve been there.

The Rehab Review will continue to expand going forward—so if you represent a drug-or-alcohol treatment program and want to get your facility reviewed, just email Rehab Review Editor Hunter R. Slaton, and we’ll get the wheels in motion. And finally, thanks to all of the rehab alumni who shared their experiences and impressions with The Fix, and made these new reviews possible.

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By Hunter R. Slaton

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Sober Living
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She introduced him to the drug that eventually killed him. It took a long time, but eventually I had to treat her the way my son would have wanted.

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 San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

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

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