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7/11/14 7:30pm

Drug Treatment Worker Arrested for Driving Client to Score Drugs

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The assistant director of a drug treatment center in Connecticut has been arrested after driving a client to score drugs and supplying them with money.

Emille Jones, 30, is the assistant director of Connecticut Renaissance, which has its headquarters in the city of Bridgeport and several outpatient centers throughout the state. Jones admitted to driving 31-year-old client Ryan Smith to the deal site and supplying her with money to buy crack cocaine. Smith later told police that Jones gave her the money in exchange for sex and she felt she had to do it “in order to get better treatment for her drug addiction.”

The Bridgeport Police Department’s Tactical Narcotics Team was already conducting a surveillance on the street where the deal took place after numerous complaints over separate incidents. Jones was arrested and charged on Monday with conspiracy to possess narcotics, but has since been released after posting $5,000 bond.

Of course, this isn’t the first sketchy drug incident that Bridgeport has found itself in. Kevin Wallin, a former pastor at St. Augustine Parish, was given the unflattering nickname of “Monsignor Meth” after being arrested in 2012 and admitting to selling large quantities of the drug out of his home. His priesthood powers were indefinitely revoked and he is now facing anywhere from 11 to 14 years in prison.

Chad McCluskey, 44, was sentenced last month to five years in jail on drug conspiracy charges related to the operation. He and girlfriend Kristen Laschober supplied nearly 10 pounds of meth to the Monsignor for his business. Blaming his own drug problem, McCluskey said at the sentencing that “my addiction got so heavy that my judgment was clouded…I never set out to be a drug dealer.”

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By McCarton Ackerman

sudden spike

7/11/14 5:30pm

U.S. Mayors Shocked by Spike in Heroin Use

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The attendees at the 2014 U.S. Conference of Mayors received a stark warning about the dramatic spike in heroin use nationwide since 2007. Driven by plentiful supply smuggled into the country from South America and a simultaneous crackdown on illegally sold prescription painkillers, heroin use increased more than 80% from 2007 to 2012.

The mayors and policy leaders in Dallas were also informed that doctors currently prescribe enough prescription narcotics to medicate everyone in the country 24 hours a day for a month. According to surveys from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of heroin users incredibly jumped from about 373,000 to 669,000 in 2012 alone. Mayor Ashley Swearengin of Fresno said the increase is “fueled by a growing supply from South America and the crackdown on prescription drug narcotics that has pushed addicts to seek old-fashioned alternatives.”

Michael Botticelli, acting director of National Drug Control Policy for the White House, informed the mayors that 80% of heroin users actually begin the dark spiral into addiction with prescription drugs. He recommended that community leaders and law enforcement agencies work with the public health sector and insurance companies to treat addicts. Although the public desire may still be to punish and imprison, Botticelli explained that “[w]e cannot arrest, prosecute or incarcerate addiction out of people."

Botticelli detailed the Obama administration’s response to the problem as an amalgamation of education, improved prescription drug monitoring, proper medication disposal, and the above mentioned enforcement. Ronald Davis, director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in the Justice Department, believes education is the solution for law enforcement as well.

Davis explained the necessity of a measured response to the crisis. “We can’t arrest our way out of it, but there also has to be an accountability measure," he said. "So we can’t avoid that road and we should not. But it should be fair. It should be balanced.”

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By John Lavitt

recovering celebs

7/11/14 3:30pm

Frank Stallone To Enter Rehab

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According to a report first published in PEOPLE magazine, Frank Stallone entered rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic over the weekend to treat an addiction to alcohol.

Stallone's manager, Randi Siegel, first revealed the decision to the magazine. "With the support of his friends and family, Frank is taking a much needed break from his professional activities to regroup and focus on his health and well-being," Siegel said in a statement. "This opportunity will enable him to move forward in his career from a solid foundation."

The younger brother of the more famous Sly, Stallone made his bones as an actor and a singer-songwriter who earned both Grammy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his song "Far From Over" on the soundtrack for Staying Alive (1983). He also had a small role in the film as a guitarist named Carl.

Stallone was also a running gag on the "Saturday Night Live" skit, Weekend Update, where fake news anchor Norm MacDonald would attribute the cause of random national events to the actor with the tagline, "You guessed it—Frank Stallone."

He most recently appeared onscreen alongside his brother in the upcoming comedy-drama, "Reach Me" (2014), which will also star Kyra Sedgwick, Thomas Jane, and Tom Berenger.

His decision to enter Betty Ford has been fully supported by brother Sly. "Sylvester Stallone supports his brother's decision and this process," his rep said.

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By Shawn Dwyer

blurring the lines

7/11/14 1:00pm

Expert Refutes Tabloid's Claim That Gaming Is As Addictive As Heroin

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An article published Tuesday by the British tabloid The Sun with the headline “Gaming as addictive as heroin” claimed Britain “is in the grip of a gaming addiction which poses as big a health risk as alcohol and drug abuse.” But Dr. Mark Griffiths, Director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University and an expert who contributed to the Sun piece, staunchly refuted the paper’s position.

“I’ve spent well over 25 years studying video game addiction,” Griffiths told Eurogamer. “If we’re going to use the word addiction we have to use the same concepts, signs and symptoms we find in other more traditional addictions, like withdrawal and tolerance. By doing that, the number of people who end up being addicted by my criteria are actually few and far between.”

The Sun article quoted Dr. Aric Sigman, who said that games produce dopamine in players’ brains in a process similar to the release of chemicals triggered by heroin use, adding that “violent games have been found to make young people more likely to cheat, be impulsive and unable to control their emotions.” Steven Noel-Hill, a therapist at The Alchemy Clinic, which treats addicted gamers, was quoted as saying that video games are “the scourge of our generation,” and that Call of Duty has been “linked” to three or four suicides.

Despite The Sun’s claim that the country is “in the grip” of a dangerous gaming addiction, Griffiths had a different view. “There is no evidence the country is in ‘the grip of addiction.’ Yes, we have various studies showing a small minority have problematic gaming. But problematic gaming doesn’t necessarily mean gaming addiction. They’re two very separate things. Yet the media seem to put them as the same.”

“It’s quite clear that some, whether it’s kids or young adults, have some problems around the fact they seem to be unable to control the amount of time they spend gaming, and maybe it’s impacting other areas of their life," Griffiths added. "But just because there are some addictive-like components there it doesn’t mean they’re genuinely addicted.”

This is not to say that gaming addiction does not exist, Griffiths stressed. However, these cases are few and “most kids can afford to play three hours a day without it impacting on their education, their physical education and their social networks.”

“Yes, I believe video game addiction exists, and if it is a genuine addiction it may well be as addictive as other more traditional things in terms of signs, symptoms and components," Griffiths said. "But the good news is it is a very tiny minority who are genuinely addicted to video games.”

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By Victoria Kim

inspiration or glorification?

7/11/14 10:30am

Lana Del Rey Glorifies Miami Drug Scene In 'Florida Kilos'

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Lana Del Rey’s new Ultraviolence album includes a bonus track called “Florida Kilos,” which romanticizes cocaine dealing and the drug scene in South Florida.

Inspired by legendary drug documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, which was produced by the Miami-based media studio Rakontur, the lyrics to the song read like a celebration of cocaine. Although the original documentary explored the cocaine-fueled crime epidemic that ripped Miami apart in the 1970s and the 1980s, Del Rey's track reflects only a glorified nostalgia for those dark days.

The song was co-written by Harmony Korine, the infamous scribe of Kids and the director of Spring Breakers, and has been designed as the theme song for the planned Spring Breakers sequel. In an interview, Del Rey claimed to have written the lyrics on her own after watching the documentary. “I was inspired by a documentary called Cocaine Cowboys speaking of traffickers in Miami in the 70s," she said. "I attract those who use illegal methods to get what they want. When I was a kid I thought I had the right to have whatever I wanted at any cost. I like the idea of getting to the top with your method, it is legal or illegal.”

On YouTube, the song can be heard with the lyrics rolling over a murky picture of cocaine being cut on a mirror, revealing a romanticized story of cooking crack and snorting lines of coke, among other criminal exploits:

White lines, pretty baby, tattoos,
Don't know what they mean,
They're special, just for you.
White palms, baking powder on the stove,
Cookin' up a dream,
Turnin' diamonds into snow.

Combining such lyrics with the infantilized sexualization of Del Rey’s vocals, the song is bound to raise a storm once released as a single. Of course, Del Rey is no stranger to controversy. Recently, she caused a stir for saying "I wish I was dead already" in talking about musical heroes Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain in an interview with The Guardian. Cobain's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, tweeted a response to Del Rey, saying "the death of young musicians isn't something to romanticize...I'll never know my father because he died young, and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it's 'cool.' Well, it's f**king not."

Here is the YouTube video of "Florida Kilos":

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By John Lavitt

going once...

7/11/14 8:30am

Detroit Launching Program To Seize Auction Drug Houses

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The urban wasteland of Detroit. Shutterstock

Showing continued commitment to get itself out of the bankruptcy declared last summer, Detroit has announced a program to seize known drug houses throughout the city and auction them off.

The proposal is essentially a piggyback of an already existing home auction program of fixable abandoned homes, which has netted Detroit over $1 million in sales. The city will notify property owners of homes that police have raided and found drugs in that if it happens again, a lawsuit will be filed to take the houses under nuisance laws and threats to public safety.

Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig have already notified 339 drug houses since the beginning of the year. Craig revealed in a news conference this week that his department will also increase the number of raids on suspected drug houses throughout the city. He believes that “we have too many neighborhoods in this city where people are afraid to go out in front of their homes or let children play in front of their homes because there is a drug house operating on the block.”

Neighbors within two blocks of a raided home will also receive a postcard alerting them about the drug bust, in addition to the number of a confidential hotline to report any suspicious drug activity. Craig said that he believes targeting drug houses will help reduce violent crime throughout the city, but also wants to implement an initial warning because landlords are often absentee and unaware that their properties have become drug dens.

The problem with drugs even extends to teenagers through Detroit. City schools faced a major problem in 2011 when “boozy bears,” or gummy bears soaked overnight in vodka, routinely made their way into classrooms.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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