An Ohio man is recovering after he tore off part of his own penis during a magic mushroom-fueled craze, authorities report. Washtenaw Country Sheriff's deputies responded to a burglar alarm set off at Ypsilanti Middle School late one night last week when they found the 41-year-old man, naked and screaming on the playground, according to local Sgt. Geoff Fox. The man had reportedly torn off enough tissue to lose a life-threatening amount of blood, and was rushed to the hospital along with his severed body part. "He really wasn't saying much at all—a lot of yelling and screaming," says Fox. "He wasn't making sense. They couldn't really communicate with him in terms of constructive conversation." He later told police that he had consumed some magic mushrooms at a friend's house nearby prior to the incident. Fox says his blood results have been sent to a lab to determine if the mushrooms were laced with anything. The man remains in the hospital, and no comments have been made about the current state of his manhood.
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A newly published 15-year study indicates that Vancouver's progressive efforts in harm reduction have effectively reduced illegal drug use and improved public safety. The report by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS examined drug use from 1996-2011 in the city's impoverished Downtown Eastside, once known as "Ground Zero" for HIV and overdoses. The city then adopted a harm reduction approach that included opening Insite, Canada's first legal supervised injection site, in 2003. Dr. Thomas Kerr, co-author of the report and co-director of the center's Urban Health Research Initiative, says fewer people in the area are using drugs—and out of those who still do, fewer are injecting. Almost 40% of users reported sharing needles in 1996; that number dropped to 1.7% in 2011. The percentage of users who accessed methadone treatment jumped from 12% to 54% during that time period. The study also found fewer new HIV and Hepatitis C infections related to sharing needles. "A public health emergency was declared here because we saw the highest rates of HIV infection ever seen outside of sub-Saharan Africa—in this community," says Kerr. "At the same time, the community was being leveled by an overdose epidemic."
However, Canada's Conservative government still opposes Vancouver's programs. It introduced the Respect for Communities Act earlier this month, which will require applicants to consult with community, provincial and municipal authorities and law enforcement officials before setting up new supervised injection facilities. "We have a federal government that ignores science in favour of ideology, and people are sick and dying as a result," says Kerr. "When we're dealing with matters such as life and death, I think we're obligated to base our decisions on the best available scientific evidence. I think it's unethical to do otherwise." Canada's Supreme Court decided in 2011 that Insite could continue to operate, but the new federal legislation will make it much harder for similar sites to open. There are no legal safe injection sites in the US.
How far would you go to avoid arrest? A California man wanted for felony drug charges went all the way out to sea, finally surrendering on Monday after a seven-hour swim. After police approached John Michael White, 46, on Sunday night, he reportedly stripped off his clothes and made a beeline for the ocean. Authorities say he seemed to be "high on drugs." White spent almost the entire night wading in the salt water surrounded by police officers, lifeguards, the Coast Guard and the Navy Shore Patrol. Apparently unable to nab him from the shore or from their boats, authorities were finally able to subdue and arrest him with the help of a special dive team. He now faces the additional charge of resisting arrest on top of his already-existing felony drug charges.
We’ve long been aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke, but new research suggests that thirdhand smoke can also cause significant damage to our DNA. Thirdhand smoke is the residue left over from cigarettes that clings to clothing, carpets, furniture and virtually all surfaces. The study also found that long-term exposure to this residue is worse than intense, short-term exposure, suggesting that the genetic damage can become worse over time. “Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, some of the chemical compounds in thirdhand smoke, are among the most potent carcinogens there are,” says researcher Lara Gundel, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who was involved in the study. “They stay on surfaces, and when those surfaces are clothing or carpets, the danger to children is especially serious." Humans can be exposed to thirdhand smoke through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. Researchers say that cleaning methods like vacuuming, wiping and ventiliation are not able to completely remove the residue—and past studies have found it can remain in apartments over two months after smokers have moved out. “You can do some things to reduce the odors, but it’s very difficult to really clean it completely,” says Hugo Destaillats, a chemist also involved with the study. “The best solution is to substitute materials, such as change the carpet, or repaint.”
- Ex-Addict Patrick Kennedy Campaigns to Stop Legal Marijuana [Newsmax]
- Harm Reduction More Effective Than War on Drugs, Study Finds [The Province]
- Drug Cartel Reach Extends Into Northwestern US [Mail Tribune]
- US Mayors to Obama: Quit Cracking Down on Marijuana [The Atlantic Cities]
- Veronica Guerin Is Still an Icon in the War on Drugs After 17 Years [Belfast Telegraph]
- Miami Heat Comped $100,000 Booze Tab at Nightclub After NBA Championship Win [Miami New Times]
- Angelina Jolie Bans Brad Pitt's Boozy Mates from Wedding [Entertainmentwise]