Once-revered Latin American Idol winner Martha Heredia may have fallen from grace after being charged with drug smuggling. The 22-year-old singer was arrested on Wednesday, after attempting to board a plane to New York with 2.9 pounds of heroin hidden in the heels of three pairs of shoes in her suitcase. The Dominican Republic native gained massive popularity in her home country after winning the popular TV talent show in 2009. "The politicians are lucky you're not running for president because you would beat them all," said then-president Leonel Fernandez. But in late 2010, Heredia's image was dealt a major blow after she hit and killed a teenage boy with her car. Following the most recent charges, police are investigating whether she is working as a mule for drug traffickers. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to over 10 years in jail. Prosecutor Francisco Dominguez issued a statement saying: "It's very sad that young people who have so much promise, who were bestowed by life with all the grace in the world and an unquestionable talent, because of ambition, bad advice or simply to obtain money see themselves in situations like this."
A prestigious London university has put out a call for volunteers willing to do cocaine as part of a paid scientific study. A professor at King's College sent an e-mail to hundreds of graduate and post-graduate students, looking for "healthy male volunteers, 25–40 years of age, to take part in a clinical study involving nasal administration of cocaine." The email explains that after the drug is "nasally administered" by participants, samples of blood, urine, hair, sweat, and "oral fluid" will be taken to examine how cocaine is metabolized by the human body. The study requires that "potential participants must be fit and well, have no past medical history and not be users of recreational drugs." So far, the University has backed the study. "This is an important scientific study to investigate how cocaine and its metabolites are spread through the human body," says a spokesman from King's College. "All the relevant ethical approvals were received." King's College ensures the study will be "conducted under the highest level of medical supervision."
Leaked FBI reports have revealed some less than intelligent behavior from agency employees. Between 2010-2012, the FBI disciplined 1,045 of their employees and fired 85 of them for a wide range of behaviors—ranging from "sexting" on company phones, to paying for sex, to dating drug dealers. The charges include one woman who was fired for lying about her relationship "with a former boyfriend (now husband) knowing he was a drug user/dealer," as well as several officers who were arrested for DUI charges. Another employee was reportedly subdued by police after a drunken domestic dispute in which they "refused to relinquish their weapon." Other charges include possession of child pornography, paying for sex in massage parlors and a "rash of sexting cases" that involved texting naked photos via company Blackberrys. "We're hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people, as well as their supervisors...you can't do this stuff," says FBI assistant director Candace Will. "When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it's for official use. It's not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry." The incidents were detailed in quarterly emails sent to employees cautioning them to "steer clear of ethical pitfalls and other violations."
- Doctors Debate Telling Patients to Smoke Marijuana [LA Times]
- Georgia Rushes to Carry Out Executions Before Lethal Drug Supply Expires [The Guardian]
- Mexican Drug Cartels Eye Spain as Their New Home [New America Media]
- CNN Finds That Pot Smokers Are Actually Pretty Good Drivers [The Car Connection]
- Crystal Meth Usage Soars in Indonesia [Voice of America]
- Killer Wasps Drive Flies to Medicate Their Kids With Booze [Ars Technica]
- Alcohol Production Drops 30% in One Year [Russia Times]
- Booze Ban! One Direction 'Drank Peppermint Tea Backstage At Brit Awards' [Entertainmentwise]
Volunteers from Israeli organization Learn and Live will be patrolling the streets of Jerusalem during this weekend's Purim festival, intent on rescuing intoxicated women and girls from potential sexual predators. During the festival, young girls often get drunk and use drugs, putting them at greater risk of being lured in to abusive situations, The Jerusalem Post reports. “They are not capable of making a conscious decision, and they follow strange men. They don’t even know who they are with,” says Patty Kupfer, who has been organizing the project for Learn and Live. "All teenagers make mistakes but we don’t want them to do something stupid that would affect them for rest of their lives.”
Learn and Live operates in 32 cities in Israel with the intention to "prevent, rescue and rehabilitate girls from physical and emotional abuse, build their self esteem, provide them with practical vocational skills and strengthen their Jewish identity." This weekend, 25 volunteers from the organization will be driving around looking for women who seem drunk and at-risk. They will then pick up the girls and transport them to two tents set up around the city. In one tent, the girls can rest and have something warm to drink. In the second, they can spend the night and receive breakfast and bus fair home the next morning. Last year, the organization rescued 21 girls from "problematic" situations. “Our job on Purim is to make sure that no abuse is happening and no girl is getting hurt," says Kupfer. "Some of them we literally pick off the ground.”
Pornography addiction deserves a little more respect, because porn affects the brain much like a drug, as illustrated by a new video from AsapScience (below). "The not-so-shocking truth is that pornography has profound consequences for the brain and acts, in many ways, like a drug," says the SFW video. It explains that viewing pornographic images can increase tolerance, while causing loss of control and a compulsive need to get more. Just like drugs, porn can rewire the brain's flow of the feel-good chemical dopamine, reinforcing the behavior until it becomes addictive. Some compulsive viewers may even experience withdrawal when denied their fix. This might explain why porn makes up 25% of all internet searches and is the 4th most common reason people go online, the video points out. Like any addiction, watching too much porn can create problems in "the real world," such as making it "difficult to be turned on by reality.”