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legalizing Marijuana

5/31/12 1:13pm

Most California Voters Oppose Legal Pot

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For medical use only. Photo via

Despite national support being at an all-time high, the majority of California voters don't support the pot legalization—althought they do overwhelmingly agree that patients should be allowed medical marijuana. According to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, 80% of voters in the state approve of doctor-recommended use for terminal and severe illnesses, but only 46% support legalization for general or recreational use and 50% are against it. Those opposed to the measure were adamant about their position as well, with 42% saying they feel "strongly" about keeping it un-recreational, compared to 33% of those who feel "strongly" that marijuana should be legalized. Voter opinions appear to have not changed much since they defeated the legalization initiative Prop. 19 in 2010 by similar margins. These somewhat surprising results are released on the heels of a nationwide survey earlier this month that found support for the legalization of marijuana is at a record high, with 56% of Americans in favor of regulating pot like tobacco and alcohol. USC professor Dan Schnur says the California numbers suggest voters are concerned about the way medical marijuana permits have been carried out, saying, "they like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused."

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By Chrisanne Grise

celebrity rehab

5/31/12 12:22pm

Glen Campbell to Reunite With Addict Son

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Glen hopes to reconnect with Kane before it's
too late. Photo via

Country music legend Glen Campbell has put together nine No. 1 singles and nine Grammy awards throughout a career spanning six decades, but now he's hoping have the same success with his family. The 76-year-old singer, who admitted last year that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, is trying to reunite with his estranged drug addict son Kane Campbell and help him turn his life around. Kane was released from California's Corcoran State Prison last year on vandalism charges and has struggled with addiction for several years. "I've heard my son Kane is out of prison and I would be glad to help him out," said Glen. Kane recently spoke with the National Enquirer and said he is also open to the reunion, hoping to mend fences with his father before his mental condition gets worse. "I don't want my dad to die thinking I was the son who never got his life together," said Kane. "I just want one more chance to tell him that I love him and that I'm sorry—and I want to say goodbye." Let's hope the reunion takes place soon because Glen is heading off to Australia and New Zealand this summer as part of his farewell tour for a series of shows with fellow country legend Kenny Rogers.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Addiction treatment

5/31/12 11:06am

Eye Movement Therapy for Addiction

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Do the eyes have it? Photo via

It’s no secret that traumatic memories and addiction often go hand-in-hand. So what if you could change how you feel about those memories? EMDR therapy—Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing—uses rapid eye movements to "reprocess" negative memories. It may sound far-fetched, but it's backed by a body of psychological research and many say it's changed their lives. Dr. Francine Shapiro, who founded the EMDR Institute in 1990, says she discovered the therapy as she was taking a walk. She observed that moving her eyes from side to side reduced the impact of her negative memories: “I was having disturbing thoughts and noticed that the thoughts disappeared,” she tells The Fix. “I stumbled upon a natural process the brain has to deal with these disturbances by decreasing negative emotion and enhancing a relaxation response.” While some believe that the therapy is only effective for victims of extreme trauma or PTSD, Dr. Shapiro disagrees. “You don't need major trauma to benefit from the therapy,” she says. “Being humiliated, getting pushed away, are all feelings that are at the root of the addiction.” She says the treatment has so far been used to help those suffering from depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, body image disorders and addiction: “There is a connection between addiction, trauma and trying to medicate pain.”

EMDR practitioners say it stands out from other forms of psychotherapy because of its ability to produce rapid results. Its eight-phase approach targets both earlier events and current situations that trigger disturbances, and assesses what's needed for the future. “If it wasn’t for EMDR, I wouldn’t be clean today,” one former heroin user tells The Fix. “I pretty much did drugs to forget about my issues, and this treatment made my horrible thoughts and memories disappear. I’m grateful to have found it.” Dr. Shapiro says EMDR can work in conjunction with a 12-step therapy program and especially benefits those who are too ashamed to talk about their addiction. “12-step can be wonderful, but many people find that can’t work for them because of their earlier life experiences,” said Shapiro. With EMDR, “You don’t have to do any homework, you don’t have to talk about the trauma, and for addicts who are too ashamed, this is very helpful.”

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

5/31/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 31, 2012

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Bynes' mug shot. Photo via

By Gabrielle Wuhl

drug wars

5/30/12 5:32pm

Reborn Shining Path Menaces Peru

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One of the three brothers, Martin Quispe
Palomino Photo via

An offshoot of Peru's notorious Maoist "Shining Path" movement—denounced as a terrorist organization for mass killings of civilians—is reportedly rebuilding itself with cocaine profits, threatening to reignite a drug war that's been relatively latent for two decades. The war between Shining Path and Peru's government claimed 70,000 lives in the '80s and '90s. The last leader of the movement, "Comrade Feliciano" was captured in 1999, but remnants have held on in remote areas since. One band of around 500 rebel fighters has been growing in strength, led by the three Quispe-Palomino brothers: Jorge, the eldest and apparently the "brains" of the operation; Victor, the nominal leader, who has a $5 million bounty on his head; and the youngest brother, Martin, or "Comrade Gabriel," who is believed to have led a recent raid freeing prisoners and shooting down a police helicopter. Heavily armed, they've taken root in a dense jungle valley area where more than half of Peru's cocaine is produced. Extorting local coca producers for profit, the group has bought support from poor locals and gained control over the lucrative region. One witness says the band taxes traffickers up to $3 per kilo of cocaine, and prosecutors claim it also produces its own coca.

According to Peru's drug czar Carmen Masias, the Quispe Palomino band represents a major threat to faltering government efforts to cut the country's coca crop by 30% over the next four years. Many Peruvians fear a return to former levels of violence—since 2008, when the government deployed armed forces to the area, the guerrillas have stepped up attacks on police and soldiers, killing more than 70 with ambushes, sniper attacks and landmines. “The Quispe Palomino band remains a very potent, violent, mobile and resilient force,” says analyst Diego Moya-Ocampos.

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By May Wilkerson

Shopaholism

5/30/12 4:49pm

Could Alzheimer's Pill "Cure" Shopaholics?

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Compulsive buying disorder is no joke.
Thinkstock

Can you remember to leave your credit card at home? Researchers responsible for a new study published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry seem to think so, claiming that a pill used to treat Alzheimer's disease may also help treat shopaholics with "compulsive buying disorder." The pill—Ebixa—was used on nine people between the ages of 19-59 in a clinical trial held at the University of Minnesota. The participants earned over $60,000 a year on average, but were spending 61% of that income on impulsive purchases, and all spent at least 38 hours per week in shops. Not only were they experiencing financial problems as a result, but their spending habits also negatively impacted their careers and social lives. After eight weeks on the Alzheimer's meds, the participants reportedly spent less time shopping, wasted less money on impulse buys and showed improvements in brain functions associated with impulse urges, thoughts and behavior. Researchers say that shopaholics, over 80% of whom are women, generally find it very difficult to avoid compulsively making purchases that they don't need and can't afford. This study—although it was only carried out on a very small scale—could be a breakthrough in the treatment of this condition; psychiatrists have long struggled to find an effective program.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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