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Smoking models

3/01/12 3:55pm

Teen Models Hold Cigarettes on Catwalk

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Not a pretty sight Photo via

Canadian designers Dean and Dan Caten—known as "Dsquared"—have been slammed for showing many of their models holding cigarettes on the runway at Milan’s 2012 Fashion Week. While smoking on the catwalk is nothing new, critics have particularly rounded on this example, as some models were just teenagers. Jen McNeely, Editor-in-Chief of fashion website SheDoesTheCity.com sees the stunt as not only unoriginal but unnecessary. “If you’re doing a fashion show where the objective is... to inspire people to obtain that look and emulate that look and it’s being sold as sort of a cool, glamorous, high style kind of thing—and you’re using smoking—then you’re putting smoking into that category,” she says. “You have to take into account what the responsibility of your actions are. There should be nobody glamorizing smoking.” Ironically Dean and Dane’s fashion show debuted as the Canadian Cancer Society’s launches its March campaign to encourage people to quit smoking. No strangers to controversy, Dsquared also raised eyebrows back in September by placing bottles of Heineken in their models' hands.

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By Valerie Tejeda

Celebrity Rehab

3/01/12 2:40pm

Lindsay Lohan's Sobriety Is Questioned

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Is Lindsay ready for SNL? Photo via

Lindsay Lohan's life has seemed to be on the upswing recently, particularly following a positively-received interview on the Today Show earlier this week. But her sobriety is being questioned by an unlikely antagonist. HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell, who has been vocal about her own battle with alcoholism, says she found it strange that 25-year-old Lohan couldn't recall her exact date of sobriety when asked. "People who are in recovery cherish and brag about their sobriety date," she points out. "There is a phrase in sobriety programs called 'counting the days,' as in counting every single day a person has been sober. The fact that Lindsay does not know how long she has been sober is very strange. Everyone knows the moment they surrender and admit to hitting rock bottom." Velez-Mitchell is also critical of Lohan's upcoming gig hosting SNL this weekend, saying it could be too soon for the actress to begin working. "She needs to go to a sobriety program right now," says 56-year-old Velez-Mitchell. "Working can create undue stress, what she needs to do is take a hiatus right now. In sobriety programs they say, ‘Don’t try to fix life, just work on yourself and your life will get better.’”

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By McCarton Ackerman

War on drugs

3/01/12 1:14pm

Guatemala's Anger Over Drug War Rises

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The war on drugs has brought violence to
Guatemala. Photo via

Amid growing distaste for the US-led war on drugs in Latin America, The Guatemala Times has run a bang-on editorial: "US failed war on drugs is killing Guatemala." The article draws telling parallels between the US funding countries like Colombia and Mexico receive to fight narcotics, and the amount of oil they have to offer the US: "The US considers Mexico a priority: they are neighbors; it is a national security concern and they have a lot of OIL. Colombia is a priority because of the sheer volumes of revenues the narco trade generates that concerns the US, it is an economic concern, and they have a lot of OIL." The editorial contends that when Mexico and Colombia wage war against traffickers, the knock-on effect for countries like Guatemala is disastrous:

"...it is no success for Guatemala and other countries who suffer the consequences. Guatemala is in the middle, Guatemala does not concern the US because we are unimportant to them, we have no OIL. No economic interest, no security interest, no political interest. So the geniuses of the US Drug war give resources to Colombia and Mexico, but very little to Guatemala. Result: Guatemala will soon have more narcos then chickens. But who cares. Geopolitically Guatemala is disposable."

The conclusion is radical, but unlikely to win much support among mainstream US politicians: "We have a better suggestion: take the money away from Mexico and Colombia, have the narcos return to their countries of origin. Make an air bridge and import the drugs legally into the US. Mexico prospers, Colombia prospers, the US takes care of their problem and we are out of this idiotic war on drugs." Washington—most recently in the form of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano—argues instead for more of the same.That's more deaths, more governments destabilized and more black market drugs flooding the US.

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By Tony O'Neill

Drug sentencing

3/01/12 11:58am

Newspaper Heiress Admits Running Drug Den

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Scripps-Carmody has faced drug charges
over the past few years. Photo via

Troubled newspaper heiress Victoria Scripps-Carmody pleaded guilty this week to maintaining an apartment in Burlington, Vermont that she used to distribute heroin and cocaine. After a plea deal, the government agreed to offer Scripps-Carmody a sentence equal to the time she spends in prison awaiting sentencing—which is set for June—plus two months already served. It means she'll avoid a potential 20-year prison term. Scripps-Carmody arrived back in prison last month; she'd been thrown out of a halfway house, in violation probation conditions stemming from an arrest last August. Two further charges will now be dismissed: possession of 193 bags of heroin on August 10, 2011, and conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine base during summer 2011. Altogether, the 21-year-old has had four drug-related arrests in the last three years. She had a six-bag-a-day heroin habit. Scripps-Carmody and her lawyers have argued that her time in prison isn't helping and that she needs treatment—they cite a tragic life including the violent deaths of her parents on New Year's Eve 1993, when her father killed her mother with a claw hammer and then threw himself off the Tappan Zee Bridge. Scripps-Carmody is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Detroit News founder James E. Scripps, and a descendant of the family behind the E.W. Scripps Co., media empire.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Exercise and recovery

3/01/12 11:20am

Addicts and Families Run for Recovery

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Exercise can help recovering addicts stay on
track. Thinkstock

On March 4th in Miami Beach, Florida, recovering addicts and their supporters will hit the ground running to help raise money for addiction treatment programs. The fundraising run is one of many events across the country sponsored by Runwell, a non-profit foundation that helps recovering addicts and their friends and family by encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle. Runwell believes physical fitness can help addicts stay focused and meet their recovery goals, as well as providing their families with a way to get involved and show support. New Yorkers may wish to join Team Runwell for a half-marathon on March 18th. All proceeds raised by Runwell-sponsored events go towards scholarship programs and treatment facilities that embrace a family-involved approach to recovery.

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By May Wilkerson

Sleeping pills

3/01/12 10:54am

Sleeping Pills Associated With Cancer and Death

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A high-risk activity? Photo via

People who take sleeping pills have higher risks of cancer and premature death, says new research. A study published in the BMJ Open journal finds that even low doses of popular sleep aids like Ambien, Restoril, Lunesta and Sonata up your risks significantly. Patients prescribed large amounts of sleep aids—more that 132 pills per year—were 35% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer during the study period compared to those not taking the drugs. Even more alarmingly, those prescribed doses as low as 1-18 pills a year had more than three and a half times more chance of premature death compared with non-users. Researchers from Scripps and the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wyoming tracked 10,531 patients for between three months and four years. The majority took Ambien or Restoril, with 4,117 of the patients taking other sleep aids such as benzodiazepines, barbituates and sedative antihistamines. The authors of the study estimate that in 2010 alone, 320,000-507,000 US deaths may have been associated with sleep-aid use, since 6-10% of Americans use such drugs. Coauthor Dr. Daniel F. Kripke, a professor of psychiatry emeritus at UC San Diego, says he's "very shocked" by the high cancer levels he found in this large population; "I suspect people who work for the manufacturers of these drugs might be shocked too." But the study doesn't determine whether sleeping pills are causing the health risks, or if people who seek sleeping aids are already at higher risk. So more research is needed to interpret these shocking results.

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By Valerie Tejeda

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