Congressional testimony by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians recently revealed that Americans consume a staggering 80% of the world's painkillers.
According to the BBC, this high percentage translates into more than 110 tons of addictive opiates consumed every year. Although pharmaceutical opiates such as OxyContin and Zohydro are legal with a prescription, they also have proven to be incredibly addictive.
In the 21st century, the number of users of painkillers has increased 600% in the United States. Crimes committed by drug abusers addicted to oxycodone and hydrocodone, the main ingredients in most pharmaceutical opiates, have skyrocketed as well. The prescription painkiller plague has become the gravest drug problem in the country.
Doctors in the United States prescribe more than 259 million prescriptions for painkillers annually. Behind the façade of the American dream, the first-world country seems to be suffering from far more pain and disease than much of the rest of the world. As a result of this flood of painkillers, prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of acute preventable death in United States, exceeding even the death rate from car accidents.
A further problem is prescription drug abuse often becomes a gateway for illegal drug addiction. When addicts can no longer convince doctors to write scripts, they often move on from opiate painkillers to heroin. Without question, if the plague of prescription painkiller abuse in the United States is not effectively addressed, the problem is bound to worsen.
Parents and students in several districts throughout the country have been protesting drug testing in schools, but one school district in Oregon has implemented them at the request of students.
Student-athletes in the South Lane and Junction City school districts, located in Eugene, Ore. will be required to submit to drug tests this year. Both school boards have approved plans to drug test students at least once per season and also administer random tests. Any student who fails three tests will be banned from sports teams. Students in South Lane have even made bracelets in the school’s colors that read, “I am drug free. Test me.”
Students in the district are already required to take a Breathalyzer test before entering a school dance. They had previously tried implementing voluntary drug-testing in the early 90s, but scrapped it after students who were using drugs unsurprisingly didn’t volunteer to be tested.
"This isn't about busting kids," said Cottage Grove High School Principal Iton Udosenata. "It's about helping kids. It's not about infringing on kids' rights. The outcome we want is for more kids to have the opportunity to say 'no.'" Senior Jarrett Reade, the co-chair of the athletes’ council, supported the measure because “it’s an easy way to see who is using and who is not.”
However, some parents and students in the district believe the new policy is misguided and will drive students away from extracurricular activities. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by many across the country. The Perry County school district in Pennsylvania sparked controversy over their mandatory drug testing being administered to pre-teens. Natalie Cassell, 10, was drug tested three times this past year at Susquenita Middle School because she is part of a leadership club.
Her mother, Kristin, said she was upset that she wasn't notified when one of the tests took place. School officials said that a nurse is required to inform parents that their child is being drug tested, but doesn't have to wait for them to respond back.
The son of one of the most feared cartel leaders in Mexico could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges.
Serafin Zambada, 24, is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a leader in Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. The younger Zambaya will face at least 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life behind bars after admitting that he conspired to bring over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 100 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to the U.S. Zambada was arrested last year and has remained in custody ever since.
Serafin was born in Zambada and spent most of his life in the U.S. He attended high school in Phoenix and was on his way there to arrange legal status with his wife with U.S. immigration authorities when he was arrested. His attorney, Saji Vettiyil, said that Serafin “has a family, has a university degree and his involvement was quite limited compared to little people.” He is also hoping that his client’s clean criminal record will lead to a shorter sentence than the 10-year minimum. Somewhat surprisingly, Serafin’s father did not pay for the attorney and provided no legal advice.
Last February, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested after a yearlong investigation between U.S. and Mexican officials. Under Guzman’s leadership, the Sinaloa cartel smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the U.S., including methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. The Chicago Crime Commission even named him their “Public Enemy No. 1” in February 2013 due to his responsibility for narcotics entering the city.
Guzman was able to bribe his way out of a Mexican prison 13 years ago, but authorities have made it clear there is no chance of that happening again. "He's locked up in the most reliable prison we have in Mexico and certainly once bitten twice shy,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico's ambassador to the United States. "We will take our precautions in this case."
"I am just wrapping up another anniversary...and in reflection I can see that my life today...is truly a miracle. The years of chaos and destruction prior to getting sober cost me hundreds and thousands of dollars a month in restitution, repairs...the high cost of low living.
Finally as a young adult myself, after a series of unfortunate events and the right amount of willingness plus desperation, I surrendered to the fact that my life was unmanageable.
I was an emotional and physical mess my first couple of years...grateful to be sober and to have found the rooms. But I could still justify old behaviors like a little lying and stealing...kind of late for work and leave just a few minutes early. A lot of those old justifications and behaviors have subsided but I still have to check in with another fellow if all my ideas are good or just what I want to sound good enough so I can do and get what I want.
As of late, I really get the anonymity thing today...I need to just do good things and contribute positively to the world, for the sake of doing them not because people will approve or like me better. The reward is me liking and approving the man I am today, not how many likes I have on Facebook."
- Snoop Dogg Pledges Concert In Alaska If Voters Legalize Weed [Talking Points Memo]
- Indianapolis Colts Cut Da'Rick Rogers After DUI Arrest [Deadspin]
- Jennifer Lopez And Leah Remini Rear Ended By Drunk Driver [Daily News]
- Pennsylvania Senate Approves Legal Medical Marijuana [Pennsylvania Independent]
- Jamie Donaldson Admits Still Being Drunk Day After Winning Ryder Cup [Bleacher Report]
- Desperate Thief Trades $160,000 In Stolen Diamonds For $20 Bag Of Weed [Gawker Media]
- Connecticut Police Charge Student For Distributing Pot-Laced Lollipops [Journal Inquirer]
- Drunk Boat Operator Sinks Own Vessel In Boston Harbor [BostInno]
The $25 billion record IPO of the Chinese business-to-business retail platform Alibaba has been shadowed by illegal drugs still available for sale on the site. Yes, you literally can buy anything on Alibaba, including the latest synthetic heroin known as MPPP. Could this be one of the reasons why the stock took a nose-dive after the initial public offering?
A recent synthetic version of heroin, MPPP is listed for sale by Nanjing Fujiu Island Chem & Pharm Company. Located in the southeastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, the company advertises a multitude of wares on China's largest business-to-business matchmaker. Although the web site's product listing policy forbids the sale of "psychotropic drugs and narcotics," Nanjing Fujiu Island has found an innovative hack to cover-up its synthetic drugs.
The company chose to list its products by their chemical structure as opposed to their street name, thus appearing to be selling chemicals as opposed to drugs. With under $2.5 million in annual revenue, the company is not a major player on Alibaba or anywhere else in the booming Chinese economy. Still, they have been providing synthetic heroin to drug dealers and users at wholesale prices.
And this is only the beginning. Recent searches of Alibaba.com and its domestically oriented sister site 1688.com turned up 14 companies peddling Schedule I controlled substances, the U.S. designation for drugs that are considered highly addictive and have no recognized medical use or variants, known as analogs, that have undergone minor chemical modifications.
Jim Wang, an investment banker specializing in China, explained the challenge to Alibaba. "They've been really mindful of enforcing the rules they've set for themselves, but suppliers have become increasingly discreet and coy… It's hard for Alibaba to catch them all."
A major problem is the company's keyword list is incomplete: the product policy guide's list of forbidden substances is missing common names for several drugs that have been placed under Schedule I by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration since May 2013, including synthetic marijuana substitute UR-144. Such problems need to be cleared up or the validity of the company will continue to be shadowed by the presence of illegal drugs.