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CNN NEWSROOM

NATO Troops Burned Islamic Holy Book; Addiction in America; Christie: Romney "A Reserved Guy;" From Runway Star to Rehabbing Addicts; Elephant Slaughter in Cameroon

Aired February 21, 2012 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And we continue along here. Top of the hour. Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

A couple stories here. You better check your accounts. The Dow hits a big milestone today. And protesters shout death to America in the streets.

Time to play "Reporter Roulette."

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

BALDWIN: Next on "Reporter Roulette," huge crowds of people protesting outs of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan after NATO officials have now admitted to troops burning Korans and other Islamic religious materials.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is on this one for us from the Pentagon.

You're talking to military officials. What are they saying about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, what they're saying is they gathered up these religious materials for disposal. That was planned. But what happened next was not.

Apparently, much of this religious material was put into some kind of a situation where it was burned for disposal, and that was inappropriate. That led to the demonstrations outside the Bagram Air Base, hundreds if not thousands of Afghans very much protesting the desecration of their holy book, the Koran.

But there's more to this story we have learned late in the day. Apparently, what U.S. officials found, when they looked at a library that detainees were using at a detention facility at Bagram, they found some of this literature had extremist sayings in it written into it, some extremist messages in it, and extremist literature that had made its way into the detention facility at Bagram, a security breach by all accounts.

That is the material that they gathered up for disposal. So we have two things going on here, material that was a security breach gathered for disposal, and when it was disposed of, disposed of inappropriately, which led to this situation, Brooke. BALDWIN: OK, so two points, and your sources are then agreeing with NATO officials saying the actual burning, that was a mistake, yes?

STARR: Absolutely.

General John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, issued an apology. The secretary of defense, the State Department, another very, you know, concerning incident to them after so many when things in Afghanistan were not handled appropriately. Troops now will be trained in the proper disposition of Islamic religious material, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And then back to your point how these detainees used this library and there were scribblings of the extremist sayings, is that how some of these detainees were able to communicate with one another? Do we know any more about that?

STARR: It's very interesting you ask that. That's what the suspicion is right now, that maybe this was some form of, as one official said, clandestine communications. They're not really sure. They're looking into all of that. They may know a good deal more than they're telling us right now. Because it is a security breach, this is something that's very concerning to them.

The most we know at this point is the materials that they gathered up, as you quite correctly point out, had these extremist scribblings in them right inside the library that detainees were using inside Bagram Air Base. How it got there, they're not saying.

BALDWIN: Wow. Barbara Starr, thank you so much at the Pentagon for us tonight.

STARR: Sure.

BALDWIN: That's "Reporter Roulette" for us on this Tuesday.

Coming up next: Stephen Colbert, he is back. He addresses the mystery about why his show suddenly stopped production last week. You will hear his message in a rare moment.

Plus, at least 23 million Americans are said to be addicted to booze, drugs, prescription medication, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta is about to explain why it really is all in their heads, and why quitting is harder than most think.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BALDWIN: If it is interesting and happening right now, you're about to see it, "Rapid Fire." Let's go.

Beginning in California, a teacher involved in a child sex abuse appears in court. Mark Berndt pleaded not guilty today to 23 counts involving lewd acts involving a child. He was arrested last month after Miramonte Elementary School officials discovered just about 600 very graphic photos of students, some of them just too disturbing to describe.

President Obama today giving Americans a pat on the back for helping push the payroll tax cut extension through Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here because of you. This got done because of you. Because you called, you e-mailed, you tweeted, your representatives and you demanded action. You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington. And because you did, no working American is going to see their taxes go up this year. That's good news.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The president urged Congress to pass more help for the middle class. And just to give you an example here, the payroll tax break is worth more than $80 a month for someone making $50,000 a year.

The Supreme Court will revisit a controversial subject, that being affirmative action. The court agreed today to hear today the case of this young woman who said she was denied admission to the University of Texas because she is white. The school has defended its admission policy, saying race is only one of many factors used to determine acceptance. The case will be argued this fall at the height of the presidential campaign season.

Now this. That is not the sound you want to hear as hail is pelting your car. This crazy storm blew through parts of Kansas, causing all kinds of damage. Hail the size of nickels pelted cars. High winds blew trees down, sent a roof flying at a community college. That same storm system is now moving east.

And move over, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Cuba. The cable world getting a little bit more crowded. Comcast has announced that NBA legend Magic Johnson will launch Aspire. It's an inspirational channel for African-American families. And also getting in on the action here Sean "Diddy" Combs, starting Revolt, a music network. We're told the new channels will launch over the next couple of years.

And comedian Stephen Colbert is back on set after abruptly canceling shows last week. Reports say Colbert took time off to be with his ailing 91-year-old mother. There has been no comment from Comedy Central or Colbert himself. Last night, though, in true Colbert fashion, he kept everyone guessing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": I just want to address my recent absence from the national conversation. As the hub upon which the republic turns, I can understand why the machinery of this great nation ground to a halt last week when you were denied this.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: Evidently, having 11 children makes you tough as nails. Confidential to a lovely lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Did you know he had that many siblings? Colbert joked that some of the rumors he heard during his absence included being sent to rehab -- really? -- and getting plastic surgery.

Whitney Houston was laid to rest over the weekend, but what caused the superstar's sudden death is still not known. Investigators are looking into whether her battle with drug addiction played a part at all.

So all this week, CNN is committing to going in-depth on addiction in America. And part of that now, new research reveals that substance abuse causes lasting changes in the way your brain works, resulting in cravings as significant as thirst or hunger.

And joining me now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who knows a little thing or two about the brain.

I'm disappointed you don't have the brain model with you today.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I try and take my brain wherever I go.

BALDWIN: And you do it so well.

Let's just begin with what exactly does the brain of an addict look like?

GUPTA: Well, it's interesting because this is objective evidence now. For a long time, it was sort of anecdotal, but this idea that the brain of an addict is somehow different I think is pretty well proven.

First of all, everyone has sort of an anticipatory response, meaning you crave something, you want something. But then what happens after that I think is sort of interesting. Take a look at the animation here specifically. Someone has a substance they're exposed to, maybe a drug, may even be certain parts of food. Those white particles, dopamine, the feel-good hormone in the brain, lights up.

That's what you want to see. That's what you expect, that sense of euphoria, so to speak. Now take a look at these images over here. On the left, that's what a normal brain should look like. It stays lit up. But on the right, the addict brain, it starts to get a little dimmer again.

Why is that important? They don't have the sense of euphoria for that long after they take a substance. The result? You take more and more of the substance to try and get that sense of well-being. It's a little bit simplistic in terms of how you look at addiction, but that is what it looks like in the brain.

BALDWIN: So I guess looking at the two different brains, it makes me think someone would maybe have a predisposition? One would, from birth on, look like that?

GUPTA: There are certain people who will be more likely to have that. It's unclear whether they were born like that or whether the exposure to substances changed their brain.

But, for example, genetics, if you're the son or daughter of alcoholics, you're seven times more likely to become an alcoholic yourself. The conditions, if you're exposed to substances a lot, that can make you more likely to become an addict.

And finally just the -- if you have some sort of mental illness, be it depression, anxiety, that also predisposes you as well to addiction.

BALDWIN: With all these different changes, seeing the brain on the right-hand side vs. left, are the changes, the grooves, or however you want to say it, is that permanent?

GUPTA: That question has a bit of a controversial answer, because some people say it is not permanent. With time, the brain can sort of rewire itself, if you will, and have natural pleasure, normal pleasure to substances, not have that sort of tamped down like you see there in the addict's brain.

What I have heard is sort of rule the threes. Three days of acute withdrawal, it's painful after leaving a substance, three months where you're really, really vulnerable to another relapse, and three years before you have the brain sort of rewire itself.

But I will say that the brain doesn't forget addiction. Let's say you're a smoker. Stop smoking for 10 years. Pick up a cigarette. You're much more likely to go to addict phase than someone who has never smoked before. So the brain is more vulnerable and it doesn't forget.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Is there any kind of parallel, I guess, looking at an addict's brain vs. anyone else suffering any other kind of disease?

(CROSSTALK)

GUPTA: Well, first of all, disease is the right word, because addiction is a brain disease. There are lots of other chronic diseases which have similar sort of patterns. You have the disease, you can have relapse rates that are similar to addiction, and you can compare it to even things like asthma, to diabetes, to chronic heart disease.

Take a look there, relapse rates very similar with those sort of chronic diseases as they are with addiction. This is a brain disease. And I think most of the scientific community sort of agrees on that point. They don't always agree on the origins of it exactly, and they don't always agree on the treatments, but the fact they call it a disease collectively changes the perception of it altogether, I think.

BALDWIN: You're coming back already this week, I hear.

GUPTA: Yes. Let's keep talking about this.

BALDWIN: OK. It's so, so important.

So many people, either whether it's yourself or someone else you know, has been touched by addiction.

GUPTA: Yes, one in 10. Really amazing.

BALDWIN: Wow. Dr. Gupta, thank you. Good to see you.

GUPTA: Thanks, Brooke. You got it.

BALDWIN: Now this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even an operation like this one, bringing in these basic supplies that residents here so desperately need has to happen under cover of darkness. And it also has to be as fast as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: As the government murders its own people, families and children, they are running out of food, they're running out of baby diapers. Arwa Damon with an inside look as to how they survive in secret. It's something you will not see anywhere else.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We do have some new word out of Syria today. Opposition sources are telling us now that 55 people have been killed today in the Syria city of Idlib, 55 dead in Idlib. That is a scene of fierce clashes between government troops and the armed opposition.

And today's deaths in Idlib eclipsed the numbers in Homs, where at least at last word 40 people have been killed. Homs remains under relentless government shelling.

By now, as you may be aware, CNN's Arwa Damon was able to sneak into Homs without a government visa, and her reports from the front lines have shown a harrowing light on the suffering there day in and day out

And she shows us now the people of Homs are beginning to fear that they will starve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAMON (voice-over): The men call out names, carefully counting out and distributing baby diapers to families huddled in a bunker. Everything here is carefully rationed including food, which is running short.

Sheik Ayman (ph), who leads the humanitarian effort in Baba Amr tells us that in the last two weeks, nothing has come into the neighborhood. Some of what they have gathered comes from stocks and homes or salvaged from stores hit by artillery.

"We take the products to distribute so they don't go to waste," Sheik Ayman (ph) explains."We keep track of everything we took to reimburse the owners." Moving the staples is an elaborate process.

(on camera): Even an operation like this one, bringing in these basic supplies that residents here so desperately need, has to happen under cover of darkness. And they also have to be as fast as possible.

they have been quickly calculating exactly what it is that they need to take out for the time being, and they have been loading things like babies' diapers, cracked wheat, lentils. But then someone called out saying, "Oh, should we put cooking oil on the truck?" Well, they have run out of cooking oil. In fact, this is pretty much all that they have left.

(voice-over): All they have left for the thousands trapped in Baba Amr." There is no food, there is only cracked wheat and rice," this woman at a bunker laments, showing us what bread she has left.

"Look at it. Look at what we are eating!" she cries.

The shortages are not just confined to Baba Amr. On the outskirts of Homs, there are entire networks in place just to deliver bread and fuel. War brings out the worst in people, but also the best.

(on camera): Abu Fadi (ph) here is one of the many people who is trying to help others out by making runs to Damascus to get things like bread, gasoline, cooking oil.

(voice-over): But even that takes lengthy planning and great risks, he tells us."We have people there that we are working with to gather the products," he says, "but it takes time, and the road is very tough. We have to go through the farmlands, getting shot at, just for a bite of bread and a bit of fuel."

Local bread factories lie idle.

(on camera): There is still hardened dough covering these machines, although this particular bread factory has not produced a single loaf for around a week now, even though there is yeast in the refrigerator and there are bags of salt. However, there is no flour, and that is because flour is subsidized by the government.

Its distribution, well, that is fully under the control of the regime. And the regime is not sending supplies out here anymore. (voice-over): Ahlam (ph) lives in a bunker in Baba Amr after her home was destroyed by artillery. By day, she volunteers at the medical clinic in Baba Amr and then comes back to this."Today, I just had a cup of coffee and two cigarettes," she tells us, "and nothing the last two days before that. I can guarantee you this -- people will starve to death."

If the shelling doesn't kill them, maybe hunger will.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Homs, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Arwa Damon, thank you.

Back here in the U.S., a dad is murdered in front of his son's day care in what police call a deadly love triangle. But the man accused of pulling the trigger will use Barry White and Olivia Newton- John in his defense. Sunny Hostin is "On the Case." She's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We heard opening statements today in the murder trial of Hemy Neuman, a successful engineer with no prior criminal record. He is charged with murdering this young father outside his son's day care in an Atlanta suburb in 2010.

Police say Neuman was having a workplace affair with Rusty Sneiderman's wife. He has pleaded not guilty by reasons of insanity. But stay with me here, because the defense says a demon with the voice of Barry White and an angel that looked like Olivia Newton-John commanded him to pull the trigger.

Sunny Hostin "On the case."

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: I Know, I hear your -- right, right, I'm thinking the same thing. On that note, let's talk about the insanity defense. What is the defense trying to prove?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in this case, Brooke, in Georgia, they have got to prove that, bottom line, he didn't really understand the difference between right and wrong, that he was operating under this mental disease or defect, that he just couldn't tell what he was doing at the time that he committed this crime was wrong.

It's a really difficult defense to prove, and we have talked about this, Brooke, right? It's probably one of the most, if not the most, controversial defense strategies in our system, and it's rarely, rarely successful.

But they have told us from the very beginning that this is what they intend to prove, and we heard about that defense in opening statements today. BALDWIN: I want to play a little bit of the sound. This is what the victim's widow said when the prosecution asked her about Neuman's alleged visions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the defendant ever tell you that he saw or talked to a demon?

ANDREW SNEIDERMAN, WIDOW OF VICTIM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the defendant ever tell you that he saw or talked to an angel figure?

SNEIDERMAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever see the defendant prior to November 18, 2010, act illogical or irrational?

SNEIDERMAN: Never.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So you heard the line of questioning. What is the prosecutor trying to do there?

HOSTIN: Well, the prosecutor is certainly trying to show that he knew the difference between right and wrong, that this was a planned, well-executed murder.

And there is some evidence to support that. We know that he went there in disguise, Brooke, full disguise. He rented a car for it so that no one would recognize his car. He also left his cell phone at his place of employment, GE, for an alibi, and we also know that after the murder, after the execution-style murder, he jumped into that rental car and sped off into morning traffic, and that when he returned back to GE, nothing seemed amiss. He acted very rationally.

And he was a supervisor there. So there I think is a lot of evidence for the prosecution to show that this is a person not only who planned this, but certainly knew that it was wrong because he tried to cover up his actions. And I think that's a pretty good rebuttal of an insanity defense.

BALDWIN: OK. On the side of the defense, though, they're also saying Neuman was abused by his father, who's a Holocaust survivor. How would a history of abuse -- how might that affect the case?

HOSTIN: Well, it certainly could, if that led him to have a sort of mental disease and defect.

And I will say this. Apparently, there will be some psychiatrists called to the stand by the defense that indicate that this defendant, Hemy Neuman, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He apparently was also diagnosed with mania and delusional disorder. And so there is some science to this. But remember an insanity defense is a legal concept, not a clinical concept and very, very difficult to prove because the onus is on the defendant to prove that he was insane at the time that the murder was committed.

BALDWIN: So he faces life in prison if convicted. You mentioned the defense. They say, you know, he's been diagnosed with delusional disorder, mania, psychosis. If he is acquitted, could he go to an asylum?

HOSTIN: That's right. If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could spend the rest of his life at the state mental institution. And that is something that it's just been so controversial from the very beginning especially after the Hinckley acquittal. I think people feel very uncomfortable with the insanity defense, but that certainly would happen if he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He may spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

BALDWIN: "On the Case" for us, as always, Sunny Hostin. Thank you very much.

Just in to us here at Piers Morgan just sat down with the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. You're going to hear why Christie says the Republican party isn't in love with the guy he endorsed. Mitt Romney. That sound is just in. We'll play it for you -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Hours to go until tomorrow night's CNN debate in Arizona. And campaign cash is flowing and the cupper is Republican Rick Santorum. How is this for a hall? Santorum collected twice as much money last month alone, last month, than he had the entire campaign, $4.5 million. According to figures released by the FEC, that's the Federal Elections Commission, Mitt Romney, on the other hand, he took in more than 6.5 million, and his cash on hand dwarfs Santorum 5-1.

So money aside, Mitt Romney has got some heavy-hitting endorsements, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who just sat down with our own Piers Morgan for an interview that's going to air tonight at 9:00 Eastern on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." Here's just part of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why associate members of his own party properly in love with Mitt Romney?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, I think there's two things at play here. The first is that he's a very reserved guy. And so in the time that we're in right now, which is very tumultuous, angry, emotional time, at the moment reserved is not necessarily what the primary of electorate seems to want. And so I think that's one part of it. I think it, by the way, will be a real asset to him in the general election as times are tumultuous and people are looking for a president, not just a nominee.

But I think secondly, too, it is the nature of our Republican elector right now that they're very angry with the president, the direction the president has taken us in, and they want someone who they believe will fight the president.

Now, I think Governor Romney will do that on the issues. They seem to want something more motive at the moment. I think that kind of ebbs and flows, and I think, you know, eventually come back his way as we look at this conference that are coming up at the end of this month and then on to Super Tuesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: But before Super Tuesday, one more stop on the CNN stage. Huge debate tomorrow night, Mesa, Arizona hosted by John King. "LIVE ARIZONA," 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. I will be tweeting about it. I hope you join all of us in tweeting.

Meantime, thinking of tweets, yes, my Twitter feed has been blowing up because of my next guest. She is the star of "Silver House." She is a former runway model and a person Dr. Drew once predicted would die because of her addiction. She is Jennifer Jimenez. She is good enough to join me live today to talk about her story, her life in rehab, which even included time in a psych ward and what kept her alive. Don't miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Right now more than 23 million Americans are fighting an alcohol or drug. This is according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. And Jennifer Gimenez, she was one of them. She is a beautiful actress, model, who was also a house manager on the reality TV show called "Sober House," which profile celebrities right after a spend in rehab.

And in this clip, Gimenez is trying to track down a house member who has relapsed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER GIMENEZ, MODEL: Hello? Hi. I'm not in a position right now to go out searching for Seth. So the next best thing to do is call one of the people that love him the most to go find him. Here's the deal. He said, I'm okay, although he's high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like he has a loft there.

GIMENEZ: It's a loft. Like a hotel. Do you know if that's his hangout? Like, you know, what I mean? It's his dealer's house.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: And Gimenez has a lot of experience for the job because she has been fighting addiction herself. While a model in her teens, she attempted suicide, fighting her need for alcohol and drugs. And I want to welcome her to the show.

Jennifer Gimenez, good enough to join me from Los Angeles. Good to see you. In fact, I just read, Jen, you marked your sixth year of sobriety. Congratulations.

GIMENEZ: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me on the show. Yes, January 15 is my sober birthday. I just celebrated. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's seriously the biggest fight I've ever done in my life.

BALDWIN: Let me back you up because I just want to start at the beginning, the back story, because I know starting from your supermodel days, you know, in your late teens to when you used cocaine for the very first time. Just take me back to then.

GIMENEZ: Well, you know, I took my first drink when I was 12 years old, and I just wanted to feel -- my family is from Argentina, and I just remember everyone always celebrating and having a good time. And the wine was always in the bottom, on the floor. I just wanted to feel that happy.

And when I moved back to America and to L.A., you know, there was a lot of things going on in my personal life with my family and whatnot, and I just wanted to escape, you know. And what happened is now that I understand it is, I have always felt myself so uniquely different, and I never felt like i fit in. And it helped me cope.

You know, I took that first drink at 12, and around 14 or so, I started experimenting with, like pot and this and that, and at close to 18, I took my first line of cocaine. And seriously, that was what the greatest love I have had. You know, and I've had to, you know --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: How so? Doing, I don't know how many lines of cocaine, what did that high do for you? What did it feel like?

GIMENEZ: You know, it was that one first line that is the thing that I've been chasing ever since. It just -- it shut everything up in my head and it made everything quiet and OK for just a minute. And I've been seeking it ever since, you know.

And it's like, they say one is too many and 1,000 is never enough. I ended up doing like an eight ball in one night. I mean, that's how my drug addiction took its toll. And I went -- you know, I blew everything, not only on the outside. You know, on the outside my life still looked OK.

I was really great at pretending and acting as if, and making you think I was OK until it just got really dark and really ugly. And, you know, it was really painful. BALDWIN: At the dark place, you end up in this psych ward, and I understand, Jen, you tried to take your own life. I mean, what's the last thing you remember about that moment?

GIMENEZ: You know, I have been struggling with sobriety. I've been fighting for the last 14 years. I've been in and out of a 12- step program of sobriety. I've had stints of a lot of three days, 30 days, six months. I think the longest I had was about a year and a half, and I relapsed on Ambien because I couldn't sleep and my doctor gave me an Ambien prescription, and then it just stopped working. And he said, you know, go ahead and take 15 milligrams instead of the 10, and that would make me go into a blackout. And I would take the whole bottle. That was 300 milligrams of Ambien. And pretty much your body just shuts down. You go into like a coma state.

BALDWIN: Are you angry at your doctor for giving you those drugs? I mean, do you, are you at all frustrated --

(CROSSTALK)

GIMENEZ: I'm very angry at the doctors. I'm very angry today at the doctors, especially with everyone. You know, prescription drug addiction is so huge right now. It's an epidemic. Drug addiction and alcoholism, it's an epidemic going on right now, and people, there's people out there that don't even know that they have the disease and that they're dying. And I'm really angry.

And I told him that I was sober at the time. And what Dr. Drew has taught me is that it wakes a beast. You know, I can't take that kind of stuff. And that there's other sources out there of things you can take, like a non-narcotic.

But, you know, what happened was, I ended up going to the drug, you know, you cross the deck and I went back to drinking and then I went into cocaine again. And I went into treatment with Dr. Drew. I went for five days just to shut my girlfriend Brandy up and my mom up, and I ended up staying nine and a half months. But I last in there in a relapse.

I relapsed in treatment. And my dealer at that point had hooked me -- I thought I was buying cocaine, but he hooked me on heroin, speed, horse tranquilizer, rat poison.

BALDWIN: Horse tranquilizer and rat poison. Were you aware of what you were taking when you were buying the drugs?

GIMENEZ: No. I mean, that's the thing with buying drugs and drugs today in general, is that you had no idea what you're getting, you know. And I get a little teary-eyed talking about it because I just wanted to escape, and at that point, I was in such a dark place, and I was so spiritually sick and I was so physically sick.

And I didn't understand why I was, like, nodding out and why, you know, I was bleeding more through my nose and why it wasn't working anymore. And I just remember being -- I kept hearing Bob Forrest's group or Dr. Drew. And it like it wasn't shutting them up at that point, you know. So the drugs stop working.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: So what did, though? What clicked? How did you change your life?

GIMENEZ: My mom and my family. You know, I just knew that I couldn't get sober again. And I felt like, wow, I'm not even dying quick enough. So I went back to Lost and Seen, that's where I got sober at my treatment facility. And my doctor, the other doctor, not Dr. Drew, said to me, you're hooked on opiates. And I said, what are you talking about?

And they tested me and they said, you know, we're going to have to take you into the psych ward before you can go to the chemical dependency unit. And I thought, all right, you know.

And my mom, this is really hard to talk about, but my mom and I were talking about it the other day. She said, I just remember six years ago like you were kicking the windshield, like I tried to, I was like screaming, like, my mom, please, just take me to go get one more hit. And I had never asked my mom to do that. And that was pretty low. You know, it's pretty low. But she didn't do that, thank God.

And I went to Lost and Seen, and they put me into the psych ward. And when I walked in there, I thought, man, this is really dark. And they forgot to take my spike. And so I thought, I'm just going to end it. And when I came to, I was strapped up. Thank God it didn't work.

BALDWIN: Thank goodness also for moms. And, Jen, wow. My final question, and I thank you so much for just being speaking from your heart and being honest.

If you were to see the Jen who was sick many years ago, what would you say to her?

GIMENEZ: That she's loved. And that she deserves to give herself a break and that it's OK and it's not all her fault.

BALDWIN: Jennifer Gimenez, I thank you so much. And truly, truly, the best to you.

GIMENEZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

GIMENEZ: Thank you. Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: We are back in 80 seconds with important advice about your savings and your mortgage. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Time now for the "Help Desk," where we get answers to your financial questions. And joining me this hour, John Ulzheimer, the president of Consumer Education with SmartCredit.com.

And Lynnette Khalfani Cox, is the personal finance author and founder of the financial advice blog, AskTheMoneyCoach.com. Guys, thank you for coming in.

John, your question today comes from Brandy in Kansas. Brandy wrote in, "My husband and I have enough in savings to buy our first home as a cash purchase, but the property we like will likely need some work before we move in. Should we finance the home purchase or take out a loan for repairs?"

JOHN ULZHEIMER, PRESIDENT OF CONSUMER EDUCATION, SMARTCREDIT.COM: I love the position they're in. Having a house free and clear of any loan is a nice place to be right now.

I like the idea of going ahead and buying the home with cash as they had planned, and taking out what's called a HELOC or home equity line of credit. A small enough HELOC, that it's not over bearing, but large enough to cover the cost of the repairs.

The good news is the interest on HELOCs is generally tax deductible and not bad for your credit score and you can pay it off and the interest is usually about 3 percent or 4 percent. Very, very good rates right now.

HARLOW: Good advice.

All right, Lynnette, your question comes from Michelle in Michigan. Michelle said, "We're underwater on our mortgage, we do not have a government-backed loan. We have a VA loan guarantee available if we refinance. What should we do?"

LYNNETTE KHALFANI COX, FOUNDER, ASKTHEMONEYCOACH.COM: Well, the VA prospect is a good option to consider, however, since they said that they don't have a government backed loan, they may have a loan from one of the five lenders like Citi or Chase, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, et cetera, B of A.

Those lenders as we know just signed an agreement with attorneys generals around the country.

HARLOW: Right.

KHALFANI COX: And this is going to allow homeowners that are underwater, that have a loan held by one of those five institutions to refinance.

So this is going to be a really big thing in the months and really years to come. I would definitely look into that. Those provisions are that if your loan is above 5.25 percent, they're really going to try to get you in at current rates today.

HSH.com is a good web site they can go to shop around for that, for the mortgage rate side. But really, I would look into it. And don't be locked into thinking, I have to get a VA loan in order to get a low-rate loan. HARLOW: Right. Right, especially with the settlement.

KHALFANI-COX: That's right.

HARLOW: Thank you guys, both, very much.

And, folks, if you have a question you want answered, just send us an e-mail any time to cnnhelpdesk@cnn.com.

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BALDWIN: "THE SITUATION ROOM" minutes away. Wolf Blitzer live from Mesa, Arizona, the site of the big debate come tomorrow night. But let's talk, sir, about some big poll numbers coming out. We're releasing them in eight minutes.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Correct. That is correct.

Take a look at this, Brooke. This is it.

BALDWIN: In your right hand.

BLITZER: This is the new CNN-Time-ORC Poll. In my hand, I know, you don't yet, but I do know the answer to this question, that registered Republicans here in the state of Arizona, do they support Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney? What's going on? And I have the answers at the top of the hour. I can't do it before, but at the top of the hour, I'm going to release these poll numbers, a CNN-Time-ORC Poll.

I think, and I could be wrong, I think some folks out there will be pretty surprised when they see what's going on in Arizona. We've seen some other polls about what's going on in Michigan one week from today, Arizona and Michigan, the Republicans in both of those states, they go to the polls and they vote.

A lot could happen obviously between now and next Tuesday, but this is good stuff. If you're a political news junkie, like I am, and I know you are, this is going to be good stuff.

BALDWIN: Yes, I might have already --

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BLITZER: Am I getting them excited?

BALDWIN: I think you are. Let me just add to that excitement. I might have snuck a peek at it in an email from a certain Paul Steinhauser person. So I may know the answers as well. It's compelling so people have to stick around for that.

You're also blogging about turning tables here. How many times the tables can turn before the November election. So we want to push people to your blog as well.

Are you having fun out there, by the way? Before I let you go? BLITZER: You know, I'm -- on top of everything else, I went to see the Washington Wizards play the Phoenix Suns last night here in Arizona.

BALDWIN: Of course, you did.

BLITZER: You know what, the Wizards unfortunately lost, but it was a good solid game. Always fun to go see an NBA basketball game. You know where I'm going to be this weekend?

BALDWIN: This weekend? Atlanta?

BLITZER: No.

BALDWIN: No.

BLITZER: This weekend I'll be in Orlando for the nba all-star weekend.

BALDWIN: Of course. Tell Jeremy Lin we say, hi.

BLITZER: Some Linsanity going on. My good friend Jeremy Lin and I, we're going to be hanging out in Orlando at the NBA all-star weekend. It's going to be a lot of fun.

BALDWIN: Give him and the rest of the guys our best. Wolf Blitzer, thank you so much. Always into something.

Coming up next here before I let you go, we want to talk about elephants. This is incredibly tragic. 300 elephants are dead after poachers kill them for their tusks. We are seeing the evidence as fears grow their babies may soon die of hunger or thirst. I'm going to speak live with someone from the elephant sanctuary in Nashville. Put this in perspective -- next.

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BALDWIN: We want to share with you this harrowing story out of West Africa. The government of Cameroon has confirmed that poachers over the last month have slaughtered nearly 300 threatened elephants. And the killings happened in this national park which was entered by Sudanese poachers from neighboring Chad. In a moment, just want to warn you, we're going to air some pretty disturbing pictures so just fair warning right now.

I want to bring in Rob Atkinson. He's the former head of Wildlife for United Kingdom's Royale Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He is currently CEO of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hewinwald, Tennessee.

Rob, when you learned of this elephant slaughter in Cameroon, what was your first reaction?

ROB ATKINSON, CEO, THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY: It's horrific. Poaching is increasing in Africa. It's as a consequence of lifting a ban on international trade in ivory in 1989. And since then poaching is widespread. They're losing in Africa, losing about 8 percent of the population every year. And the slaughter is brutal and it orphans lots of calves. It's carried out using machine guns, which are often also used in warfare.

BALDWIN: And in terms of the numbers here, one wildlife official is quoted as saying this particular slaughter dwarfs previous similar killings. Can you see any reason why this would happen on such a scale?

ATKINSON: Well, there's war going on in Sudan. And people there, the guerrillas are looking for money. And this is a cheap and easy way of getting money. But the main cause is the demand. It's the market for ivory throughout the world, but particularly in the east. So as long as there are ivory markets that are open, that are legal, then poaching is going to carry on just the way it is.

I understand that the guards in these parks are massively outgun by the poachers. You know, 45 seconds, what's the solution?

ATKINSON: The solution is to ban the international trade in ivory. It's quite simple. If people can contact their representatives and get the United States to oppose any attempt to have legal sales of ivory. If you can close down the legal market in ivory, you close down the illegal market in ivory. And that's the best way of dealing with it, as well as increasing money to these countries through donations for anti-poaching patrols.

BALDWIN: Is it conceivable that poaching, given the demand that you talk about could entirely wipe out a country's entire elephant population?

ATKINSON: It's already unsustainable. Losing eight percent of the population every year can't be sustained. And there simply, isn't the resources to combat it. So, yes, and there already have been local extinctions. Sierra Leone lost its last elephant in 2009 already so there are already local extinctions going on.

BALDWIN: Rob Atkinson, thank you so much from the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. We appreciate you coming on. And that's it for me.

I'm Brooke Baldwin here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Now we take you to Mesa, Arizona, and Mr. Wolf Blitzer. "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts now.

BLITZER: Brooke, thanks very much.