Acquaintances of the Ottawa gunman who killed a solider and shot up Parliament claim that he was a crack cocaine and heroin addict who tried in vain for years to get clean.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, then attempted to shoot up Parliament before he was killed himself. He reportedly entered a detox in 2012 to kick his drug habit, while those who met him at homeless shelters throughout Canada said he relied on constant prayer as a means of trying to get over his addiction. He carried the Koran around with him as a means of trying to “heal” himself from addiction, but then became withdrawn when he began abusing drugs.
“He was isolating himself. He was always sleeping. For three days he wasn’t talking,” said Abdel Kareem Abubakir, a volunteer at the Ottawa shelter that Zehaf-Bibeau stayed in earlier this month. “His intention was to get a passport and get home. He had to stay away from drugs.”
It also appears that Zehaf-Bibeau had a history of being in trouble with the law as a result of his addiction. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in prison in Quebec for drug possession in 2004, in addition to being sentenced to a day in jail in Vancouver for robbery and uttering threats in 2011.
Prior to his Vancouver trial, he asked to go to jail as a means of trying to overcome his crack addiction and “as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past.” However, psychiatrists did not identify any type of mental disorder in Zehaf-Bibeau.
Susan Bibeau issued a statement last Thursday on behalf of her and her husband, Bulgasem Zehaf, stating they had “no explanation to offer” for the shooting. “I am mad at our son, I don’t understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time,” she said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “I have very little insight to offer. No words can express the sadness we are feeling at this time. We are so sad that a man lost his life. He has lost everything and he leaves behind a family that must feel nothing but pain and sorrow. We send our deepest condolences to them although words seem pretty useless.”
The daughter of prominent porn king Larry Flynt remains in critical condition after a car accident in which she was drunk behind the wheel, but it's still an upgrade from her condition earlier this week.
Lisa Flynt, 47, is being treated at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. She drunkenly crashed into a semitrailer outside of a Dollar General store last Friday, was ejected from her vehicle, and became trapped underneath it. Police later reported that her blood alcohol was double the legal limit.
Dozens of people even held a vigil near the scene of the incident after doctors told Flynt's family that she had limited brain activity and her body was shutting down. "She'll give you the shirt off her back," said Pam Jones, a friend of Lisa's. "She was such a great person, a good loving person." Flynt's husband, Glenn Fugate, appeared optimistic to reporters and said that "for some reason, she's holding on."
Larry and his wife, Althea, notoriously struggled with drug addiction during the late ‘70s and early '80s. After being shot by an unknown attacker, he was given Dialudid to help manage the pain. Althea joined him in his drug use and the pair spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on cocaine, tranquilizer and marijuana, among other substances. The pair were hospitalized four times for drug overdoses and Althea lost 30 pounds from her cocaine use. Larry eventually kicked her out of his house and filed for divorce when she tried to withdraw $250,000 from their joint checking account to buy cocaine.
“It was the only way I knew to save her,” he told People magazine in 1983. “I figured I was already dead.”
After undergoing surgery that resolved his pain issues, Althea entered rehab and Larry quit drugs cold turkey, but the effects of that led to a month-long depression that nearly resulted in suicide. He has remained sober since, but Althea died in June 1987 after passing out from a prescription drug overdose and drowning in their bathtub. Larry later revealed that she was in the advanced stages of AIDS and would have died by the end of the year regardless.
A new nicotine vaccine being developed out of Virginia Tech could inoculate tobacco users against the pleasure associated with smoking, thereby greatly increasing the odds of an addicted person successfully quitting tobacco.
Mike Zhang, a professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the vaccine works by using biodegradable nanoparticles to block nicotine molecules from entering the brain. If the brain is deprived of nicotine, there will be no “high” after using tobacco.
“Nicotine is one of the most dependency inducing drugs out there,” said Zhang. “It’s just as addictive as much harder drugs such as heroin or cocaine. When someone smokes, the brain makes more dopamine in response to receiving the nicotine. Over time your body needs more nicotine just to feel normal and that’s when addiction occurs. By using this vaccine to block the pleasure response, a person addicted to nicotine will be much more likely to quit smoking or consuming tobacco products.”
Approximately 443,000 Americans die from smoking-related deaths every year and nearly 8.6 million more have a serious smoking-related illness. While Zhang’s vaccine is still a ways off from being ready, he hopes that eventually he can help people realize their dream of quitting smoking.
“I had an aunt who was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer,” said Zhang. “It was hard to see her struggle with addiction. Our vaccine will hopefully boost the rates of those who are able to quit smoking once they decide they are ready."
According to a recent report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), methamphetamine use has escalated at an alarming rate in Australia, and appears to have spread into rural areas, where biker gangs have recruited children as young as 11 years old to manufacture and sell “ice,” as meth is known Down Under.
An unidentified teenager interviewed as part of the report claimed that he was tapped by an outlaw motorcycle gang to sell ice at the age of 11. Within a few years, he was not only addicted to the drug, but was also taught to cook by his mid-teens. The young man reported that he worked in labs without the benefit of protective clothing or breathing apparatuses to prevent inhaling the drug’s dangerous fumes, which left him at the age of 19 with early onset arthritis and loose joints, among a host of other health problems.
Methamphetamines has been a problem in Australia since the early 2000s, but it has exploded in recent years, with usage reported across a wide cross-section of age groups. Research conducted in 2013 and 2014 found that 7% of all Australians aged 14 years or older had used methamphetamines one or more times. Meanwhile, wastewater from Melbourne’s western treatment plant was found to have exceptionally high levels of methamphetamine traces; 51.4 doses per 1000 people on a single day, or one out of every 20 residents in the state of Victoria.
Greater levels of purity in Australian ice have most likely accounted for the steady increase in users across the country, as well as a drop in the average age of users; the average age of first-time methamphetamine users is 18.6 years, but 2.9% of 12 to 17-year-olds have also reported using the drug.
A father-son duo became popular in New York City for operating methadone clinics and sober houses throughout the Bronx, but they’re becoming equally well-known for the fraud charges launched against them.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed charges this week against Alan Brand, 64, and his son, Jason, 35, and began an investigation against them for allegedly embezzling Medicaid funds. The documents filed claim that they used their nonprofit, Narco Freedom, in insurance and extortion schemes. The taxpayer-funded treatment empire, which receives $38 million in Medicaid annually and has $6.3 million in state contracts, was also reportedly used to help fund their lavish lifestyle.
The Brands are accused of filing false documents in order to receive a $3.5 million insurance payout to restore their office in Brooklyn, while Alan also reportedly pocketed over $150,000 per year as a kickback from a developer who rented buildings to Narco Freedom. Both men face grand larceny and insurance fraud charges, while Alan also faces charges of bribery and money laundering.
They pleaded not guilty to all charges against them in Bronx Supreme Court, but it remains unclear whether they will be able to receive bail. Meanwhile, both Schneiderman and city investigators are looking to seize properties that they own in Long Island and Florida, in addition to six luxury automobiles.
Narco Freedom released a statement claiming that Alan was removed as director of the company this July. The company is determined to not let the case affect their daily operations and they will continue “to provide its important drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs as well as mental health and primary care services that are so critical to the communities Narco Freedom serves.”
A New Jersey man is currently behind bars for allegedly selling “Ebola,” but it wasn’t a strain of the deadly virus making worldwide headlines.
Barnabas “Hammer” Davis was reportedly selling packets of heroin from a motel room and put the “Ebola” label on the wax folds. A tipster alerted Toms River police to the drug trade and they raided his room at the Ramada Inn after executing a search warrant.
Once inside, officers discovered both the heroin packets and 40 grams of crack. Davis was arrested and charged with multiple drug offenses, including possession of heroin and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. He is currently being held in lieu of $300,000 bond.
“Different dealers have different potencies and products. Many times they are labeled with catchy phrases,” said Officer Ralph Stocco. “In the past we have had Bin Laden, Hello Kitty, D.O.A., Twin Towers, 911, Gumball, Pow, etc.” Toms River police also noted that the motel had no involvement with the drug activity and was fully cooperative in the investigation.
While unconventional drug names aren’t unusual, they have typically been reserved for club drugs. One substance referred to as “Nintendo” has the same name and logo as the video game company stamped onto pills, but contained a large dose of MDMA. Last January, four clubgoers in North Wales went temporarily blind after taking a club drug known as “Brain,” while a 17-year-old girl from Scotland passed away the following month after taking a pill known as “Mortal Kombat."
Scottish police also issued a warning via Twitter last week about a “Pink Superman” pill, which features a Superman logo on one side and a ‘half-score’ line and ® logo on the reverse. The cheap drugs, which cost as little as $6 per pill, have already been responsible for numerous fatalities due to containing para-methoxyamphetamine, which is five times stronger than ecstasy.