- Drug Overdose Deaths Up For 11th Consecutive Year [ABC News]
- $17 Million Worth Of Cocaine Intercepted At Sea [CBS]
- Female Smokers Face Greater Cancer Risk Than Male Smokers [The New York Times]
- Arizona Lawmakers Target Synthetic Marijuana Drugs [Bloomberg]
- Kate Middleton Visits Female Addicts [USA Today]
- The Genetics of Alcoholism in Women Studied for the First Time [Medical Xpress]
- Hard Drinking News Anchor Arrested for Choking his Wife [New York Daily News]
If a dog sniffs out drugs, it can result in arrest for possession—but what if the dog is mistaken, and instead finds the raw ingredients for meth which aren't, technically, drugs? This was the case heard by the Supreme Court, today, who ruled unanimously in favor of a Florida cop's use of a drug-detection dog, who did a little work outside of his job description during a routine traffic stop. The officer, William Wheetley, had pulled over a nervous driver who had an open beer when Aldo, a retired drug detection dog, alerted him to the presence of drugs. "The record in this case amply supported the trial court's determination that Aldo's alert gave Wheetley probable cause to search the truck," wrote Justice Elena Kagan. The search did not turn up any drugs—revealing the dog's mistake—but Wheetley did find the raw ingredients for manufacturing meth (which can not be sniffed), and arrested the driver. Florida's Supreme Court demanded Aldo's hit/miss record to be released to determine whether the search was warranted, but the US Supreme court overturned this ruling, with Justice Kagan writing that the search was justified given "the totality of the circumstances." Aldo was not present at the hearing.
The ex-boyfriend of country singer Mindy McCready, who committed suicide last Sunday at her Arkansas home, says her death might have been prevented if she had remained in rehab. McCready was found dead on Monday, just days after leaving rehab, where she was involuntarily admitted a week before. Although the singer had threatened suicide earlier this month after her fiancé David Wilson took his own life and she lost custody of her two sons, she was allowed to leave the program after less than a day, says her ex Billy McKnight. "That was a big mistake on the part of whoever released her," says McKnight, who is father to their eldest child Zander. "She was in a terrible state of mind. She doesn't perform anymore. She wasn't working. She has two kids and her fiancé was just killed," he says. "There's no way she should be out by herself in a lonely house with nothing but booze and pills. That was a really, really bad mistake, and the end result is tragic."
McCready, whose 1996 debut album Ten Thousand Angels sold over two million copies, was a former cast member on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Dr. Drew Pinsky said in a statement that he was "deeply saddened" by her death, and that he had urged her to get help. "When I heard she was struggling, I did reach out to her and urged her to go to take care of herself, get in a facility if she felt she needed," he said. "Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself. And this to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn't have to go down like this." McCready is the fifth Celebrity Rehab alumni to pass away from causes related to substance abuse, following former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, Real World cast member Joey Kovar, Rodney King, and TV star Jeff Conaway.
Misuse of prescription drugs, drunkenness and bullying were cited among the reasons for the Australian swim team's unusually subpar performance at the 2012 London Olympics, according to a report released today. "Standards, discipline and accountabilities for the swim team at the London Olympics were too loose," says the report, which accuses the team coaches of being lenient towards bad behavior. "There were enough culturally toxic incidents across enough team members that breached agreements (such as getting drunk, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit, bullying) to warrant a strong, collective leadership response that included coaches, staff and the swimmers," it reads, "No such collective action was taken." The report also claims the team's irresponsible use of social media exacerbated the problem. During the games, Emily Seebohm blamed her loss on her "Twitter addiction," and Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk were banned from social media after posting a photo of themselves online holding guns.
London 2012 was the first time Australia failed to win more than one swimming gold medal since 1992. Barclay Nettlefold, President of Swimming Australia, says the organization has already created a 100-day plan to address issues of team morale and behavior. "Swimming has a proud history in this country and everyone in the sport wants to maintain and improve on the credibility and integrity which has developed over more than a century of success," he said. "Before we look at winning gold medals, we want to win back the admiration of the nation." This is the second major blow this year to Australia's reputation for athletic excellence. Earlier this month, the government released a report accusing the nation's athletes of "widespread use" of performance enhancing drugs.
Humankind has been hitting the sauce since back when we were apes, new research suggests. Scientists at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Florida have traced the DNA evolution of an alcohol-metabolyzing enzyme, ADH4, back to our primate ancestors—suggesting that apes were able to metabolize ethanol (the main ingredient in booze) roughly 10 million years ago. The researchers hypothesize that once our ancestors first came down from the trees to live on the ground, they had to adapt to eating food from the ground—including fruit that had fermented after falling from trees. The primates who developed the ability to break down ethanol in the alcoholic fruit would have survived better than those who couldn’t. This history also explains why tree-dwelling primates, like orangutans, are generally unable to metabolize ethanol. The theory is difficult to prove, but scientists hope more will be revealed. “There’s very little fossil evidence from the general time period when humans, gorillas and chimpanzees last shared a common ancestor,” says Jeremy DeSilva, a biological anthropologist at Boston University. “This is cool work—we’ll be able to evaluate it with better evidence as we find more fossils from that time period.”
Police are now investigating whether double amputee track star Oscar Pistorius was under the influence of "roid rage" when he allegedly murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14. Investigators found banned steroids while searching his home and are currently testing his blood for the drugs. A source close to the investigation also said there was "evidence of heavy drinking" the night of the murder. Steenkamp was allegedly killed by 9mm pistols shot through a locked bathroom door on Valentine's Day, but police now believe the first shot was fired at her in the master bedroom. A blood-stained cricket bat was also found at the home and Steenkamp and appeared to have "skull crush" injuries. Pistorius has denied the charges of premeditated murder, saying he did not know she was on the other side of the bathroom door and thought he was shooting at an intruder. “I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated,” he said in an affidavit read to the packed courtroom by his defense lawyer, Barry Roux, “I had no intention to kill my girlfriend.”