- Obama Signs Pharmaceutical Tracking, Compounding Bill Into Law [Reuters]
- Twitter Pic Alleging Python Ate Drunk Guy Deemed a Hoax [Express]
- North Carolina Family Sues Sheriff's Office Over Inmate's Overdose Death [AP]
- Crew Passes Alcohol Tests Following Jersey City Ferry Accident [CBS]
- Restaurant Server Fired After Busting Mom for Drinking While Breastfeeding [Arkansas Matters]
- Belgian Police Find Seven Tons of Pot in Coconut Cargo [Fox News]
- Ohio Health Department Awards $1.5 Million to Help Inmates With Mental Health, Addiction Problems [Bucyrus]
- Forest Acres Police Say Crack Cocaine Involved in Car Winding Up on Roof [WISTV]
Turns out Trey Radel isn’t the only Florida politician embroiled in a drug scandal this month. Mayor Barry Layne Moore of Hampton, FL was arrested this past Monday for selling and possession of oxycodone. The 51-year-old is currently being held in a local jail in lieu of $45,000 bail. The arresting officer, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith, made a not-so-subtle reference to infamous mayor Rob Ford by declaring that “this isn’t Toronto. We will not tolerate illegal drug activity in my jurisdiction by anyone, including our elected officials.”
Local officials have called for Moore to step down from office, but like Ford, he has shown no indication that he plans on doing so. And this isn’t the first time Moore has found himself in legal hot water. In October 2012, he was arrested and charged with battery, and two months later he was booked with a probation violation for the same crime. In 2005, he was arrested but not charged with battery, and in 2011 he had three moving traffic violations with fines totaling $1,000.
Meanwhile, his fellow Floridian Congressman Trey Radel has taken a leave of absence from the House until the end of the year and has entered drug rehab after being arrested for possession of cocaine. Radel was swept up in a federal drug sting last month after buying the drug from an undercover agent in Washington, D.C. The charge is particularly ironic because he had taken public policy stances that included asking welfare recipients to pass a drug test to make them eligible for food stamps. Like Ford and Moore, Radel has given no indication that he will step down, even though his fellow Republicans have started to call for his resignation.
At the age of 14, Edgar "El Ponchis" Jimenez Lugo beheaded four boys in Central Mexico at the age of 14 while working for the Cartel of The South Pacific. The boys' bodies were later hung from a bridge in the town of Cuernavaca. But now that his three-year prison term in Mexico is about to come to an end on Dec. 3, Mexican authorities may end up deporting the teenage killer to the United States.
As Lugo's release date approaches, Mexican authorities have expressed concern that his release could incite violence in Mexico City, where he used to live. Graco Ramirez, governor of the Mexican state Morelos, where Lugo is being held, said that “he is an American citizen” and confirmed that “we have 13 days to see if he can be deported to the United States so that he can be placed in an institution there.”
Lugo was arrested at a Mexican airport for trying to flee authorities and fly to his mother in San Diego. Shortly thereafter, Lugo's mother was arrested on immigration violations and was deported last April.
San Diego criminal defense attorney Guadalupe Valencia said that Lugo can come to the U.S. on his own when he turns 18 in May, claiming that “the U.S. can’t do anything and Mexico can’t do anything. He wasn’t charged with conspiracy in the U.S.” The teenager said he was kidnapped by the cartel at age 11 and forced to work for them, claiming that his four executions were completed while “drugged and under threat that if I didn’t, they would kill me."
With our ever-increasing reliance on pills for just about everything, is it any wonder that someone out there is trying to develop one that will get you drunk?
Dr. David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College of London, plans to create a pill that mimics the effects of being drunk without the nasty hangover the next morning. In development since 2009, Dr. Nutt’s little pill will act as an alcohol surrogate that targets the gamma aminobutyric acid (Gaba) neurotransmitter subsystems. “We know that the main target for alcohol in the brain is…[the Gaba], which keeps the brain calm,” he wrote in an editorial for The Guardian. “Alcohol therefore relaxes users through mimicking and increasing the Gaba function.” Nutt has further claimed to have conducted research where he replaced the ethanol in alcoholic drinks with safer alternatives like benzodiazepine, which he alleged can be “switched off at the end of the night with a ‘sober pill.’” But despite the apparent promise of the pill, Emily Robinson, deputy chief executive of the U.K.-based charity Alcohol Concern, urged caution. “We should focus on what is going wrong in our drinking culture rather than swapping potentially one addictive substance for another,” she told the Telegraph.
Still, the only thing really stopping Nutt from commencing his project is money. “A few contacts within the alcohol industry suggest they are interested but do not need to engage until this new invention becomes a threat to their sales,” Nutt wrote in The Guardian. Perhaps he hasn’t yet heard of Kickstarter?
Betel quids, or "nuts," are relatively unknown in the United States, but they just happen to be the fourth-most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world behind tobacco, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
More than 600 million people chew betel nuts, otherwise known as small parcels of areca nuts, wrapped in a betel leaf and coated with slaked lime. Most of the parcels that are sold throughout southeast Asia contain tobacco, but spices can be added in as well. And while the betel nuts are used as an energy boost among cab drivers and other professions, they also cause severe health issues like reddish-black stained teeth from the dyes, or even oral cancer. "Having one is okay, but the danger increases when you start having the second one. When you reach a certain point, people will get cancer," said Professor Ying-chin Ko, vice president of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. However, the low cost of the betel nut parcels makes them appealing to consumers – a pack of three in Myanmar costs 100 Burmese kyat, or roughly 10 cents American.
Despite the dangers, chewing betel nuts dates back to the Bronze Age, and the practice has long been an important part of cultural and even religious rituals in some parts of Asia. In Taiwan, scantily clad betel nut vendors have even become something of a tourist attraction in certain parts. Women are drawn to selling the parcels because they can make up to $1,900 per month, roughly twice the amount of a recent college graduate's starting salary. The trend of sexy betel nut vendors began in the 1990s, but is so pervasive now that the girls are often forced to dress provocatively if they want to have any chance of selling their product. "In Taiwan, if you want to sell betel nut, you have to take off some clothes," said a taxi driver named Hsu. “If you wear too much, you won’t make any money.” Unfortunately, some of the women have to deal with the hazards of the job. "There are a lot of perverts. They'll try to touch your breasts, or stroke you. Usually we take care of it ourselves. I've slapped customers before," said an anonymous vendor.
Greece has joined an ongoing trend worldwide by setting up its first legal drug consumption center in the city of Athens. Greece’s Organization Against Drugs, known as OKANA, set up the center last month, which allows users to inject their own drugs they bring themselves while under medical supervision. More than 200 addicts have visited the facility since it opened shop last month.
Sakis Papaconstantinou, the head of OKANA, said that “demand is increasing day after day and we believe that very soon we may need more facilities in other parts of the city.” But the 200 addicts who have accessed the center represent less than one percent of the estimated 25,000 drug users in Athens who are homeless and without access to healthcare services. In addition, OKANA statistics show that the number of HIV-infected drug users peaked at the height of the economic crisis last year, while fatal drug overdoses have also increased from previous years.
The drug issue throughout Greece has been exacerbated by the country’s ongoing recession, which has seen unemployment skyrocket to 27 percent. In exchange for funds that are helping Greece stay afloat, the country has agreed to reduce health spending as part of austerity measures prescribed by international lenders.
Meanwhile, more than 90 drug consumption rooms have been set up throughout the world since 1986 and eight nations currently help facilitate them: Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Norway, Canada, and Australia.