An outbreak of gang violence in Chicago has local officials concerned that the city has become a hub for drug trafficking cartels from Mexico. After eight shootings last night, two of them fatal, 351 people have died from gun violence in Chicago in 2012 so far—a 30% increase from last year. According to the DEA, the city's geographic location and wide variety of transportation have beckoned at least three of Mexico's biggest drug crime organizations—including the notorious Zetas and Sinaloa cartels—who are now battling over turf and distribution, and turning the Illinois city into a "Mexican border town." "You've got to look at Chicago from really a perspective of logistics, of business logistics. It's an ideal spot to set up shop," says local DEA officer Jack Riley. "We know that the majority of the drugs here in Chicago, cartels are responsible for. We know that the majority of the murders are gang related. So it is very clear to see the connection and the role." The problem isn't confined to Chicago—other midwestern cities, like Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit, also have reported cartel activity and violence.
Rumors of Britney Spears’ drug use and reported bipolar disorder have been extensive. But now there’s a new wrinkle in the ongoing saga of her mental health: reports surfaced today via court documents that the singer's ongoing conservatorship may be the result of a medical issue—in this case, a personality disorder. If that’s the case, she’s in good company on the judging panel of The X-Factor.
The exact circumstances of the June 17 death of Celebrity Rehab alum Rodney King, whose police brutality incident spurred the 1991 Los Angeles riots, have remained mysterious. But his autopsy report clears one thing up: King was under the influence at the time of his death, with PCP, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol found in his system.
- Teen Mom Jenelle Evans Quits Smoking [Gather]
The stars of MTV’s hit reality series Teen Mom are well known for their bad habits, but one Teen Mom is cleaning up her act. Troubled Jenelle Evans has dropped her nicotine habit and—in true reality star form—announced it to the world via Twitter: “So I have officially stopped smoking ciggs! :) GO MEEEE!"
- Machine Gun Kelly Spits Vodka Into a Fan’s Mouth [Miami New Times]
Rapper Machine Gun Kelly (known professionally as MGK) has seen his profile rise dramatically in recent months. It appears that stardom may have gone to his head—unless he was always prone to giving his lady-friends the “baby bird.” That’s what he did at a recent club appearance, when he spat vodka into a female fan’s mouth. The incident was captured on video. (Disclaimer: It’s not for those with weak stomachs.)
- Eli Roth: Quentin Tarantino Saved Me From Being Roofied [San Francisco Chronicle]
The actor and director Eli Roth narrowly avoided an ugly scene a few years ago when he was nearly roofied by women he met in Las Vegas. The unlikely hero who kept him from an unfortunate end, was none other than the iconic Quentin Tarantino. The Pulp Fiction legend apparently swooped in to help Roth escape the clutches of a pair of con artists, posing as a mother and daughter, who drugged him at a Sin City after-party.
Is sugar addiction more serious than we realize? Terms like “chocoholic” and “sugar addict” get thrown around, and we sometimes hear of celebrities like the Spice Girls' Gerri Halliwell quitting the sweet stuff, or Nancy Pelosi's chocoholism. But more people than we think are true sugar addicts, according to Ann Hull. She's the founder and president of The Hull Institute—an eating disorder treatment center in Ohio. “I see a number of patients who are bulimics who crave sugar,” she tells The Fix. “I’ve never seen anyone who binges on broccoli! It’s always sugar and white flour, which metabolizes as sugar.” Due to growing awareness of the problem, she says, many rehabs are adopting sugar-free meal plans, hoping to stop another addiction from starting in recovery. “Some people cannot stop,” says Hull. “There are some people presenting themselves to weight loss clinics who have an addiction to sugar. They talk about this intense need for sugar, and binging secretly.” She adds, “Sugar is not a food group. You can chose to stop eating sugar, and if you can, you can chose to ask for help. I treat it like I would any other addiction.”
Mary Wilcox from Texas, battled sugar addiction as teen, but didn’t recognize it until she was an adult. “I was so addicted to sugar that it was all I thought about all day long,” she tells us. “I couldn’t go an hour without having something sweet; it just consumed me.” After seeing a therapist, she realized that her craving was more than just a sweet tooth, “Sugar made me feel a ‘high’ and I couldn’t make it through the day with out it,” she explains. “I haven’t had sugar for two years now, but I still crave it, and it’s hard because it’s everywhere.”
Sugar can be a temptation in different ways to other substances of addiction may not. “You can quit using drugs and you can quit alcohol but you are going to have to eat everyday so it’s difficult,” Hull points out. “Sugar addiction is a processed addiction, like sex addiction, so you have to learn how to do them normally. It can be difficult to follow a strict diet and not eat sugar when they're presented with it everyday. It’s difficult to treat.” While there still isn’t much research conducted into sugar addiction, Hull believes this will change: “My prediction is that in the next five to ten years, sugar addition will be a full-blown thing,” she says. “We may even see it in the DSM.”
Cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially given up his fight against the longstanding doping charges brought against him by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He claims it's so he can focus on working for Livestrong, the foundation he started for cancer patients. And while Armstrong has not and will not make any admission of guilt, claiming to the end that "I played by the rules," the decision will result in the USADA stripping all of his results since 1998—including his seven Tour de France titles. "I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances…" announced Armstrong in a two-page statement. "We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause."
Armstrong will also be banned for life from competing in any sport or event sanctioned by a sporting body that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency code—including the World Triathlon Corporation, which Lance has signed a $1 million deal to compete for, with the money going to his foundation. However he doesn't accept the USADA's sanctions and threatens a lawsuit if the organization proceeds with them, calling the process "unfair and one-sided" and the claims against him "outlandish and heinous" with "zero physical evidence." US District Judge Sam Sparks rejected Armstrong's suit challenging the USADA's authority last Monday. "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," says USADA CEO Travis Tygart. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition." Despite reportedly completing over 100 doping tests, Armstrong has yet to test positive for any illicit performance-enhancing substance.
- Tobacco Companies Broke Law by Selling Untaxed Cigarettes, Judge Rules [New York Times]
- Denver Bans Outdoor Marijuana Advertisements [ABC]
- Are Athletes Primed for Prescription Drug Addiction? [PsychCentral]
- NC Program Slashes Opioid Overdoses [Medpage Today]
- 'Skateboard Rabbi' Gets Drunk, Takes Shrooms and Goes On The Price is Right [Gawker]
- How Alcohol Causes Cancer—And is Particularly Lethal to Those of Asian Descent [Daily Mail]
- Rodney King on Cocaine, PCP Before Drowning, Coroner Finds [Los Angeles Times]
The new season of Celebrity Rehab will premiere on VH1 on September 16—and hawk-eyed viewers will note a difference between this and previous seasons: no celebrities. "Over the course of the five seasons of Celeb Rehab, we were flooded with calls, emails and letters from viewers asking if we could do a show featuring non-celebs, so that is what we did," host and creator Dr. Drew Pinsky exclusively tells The Fix. "Treating non-celebrities is what I've been doing for the past 30 years in my day-to-day life." About this season's addicts, Pinsky says, "It's the most intense group I've treated, either on TV or off, and this is the most powerful and moving season to date. I hope viewers will tune in and get the message I have so desperately been trying to get across: addiction is a deadly disease but with treatment there is hope." The new season will focus on eight of Pinsky's "most challenging patients to date" and will include his standard Rehab support team: Bob Forrest, Shelly Sprague, Dr. John Sharp and Jennifer Gimenez. A sneak peek of the show is can be viewed on VH1.