- Cocaine Addiction May Be Cured by Ritalin [CBS News]
- Crackdown on Online Pharmacies Nets $41 Million in Drugs [Bloomberg]
- Many 8-Year-Olds in US Have Tasted Alcohol: Study [US News]
- Italy Bans Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors [Raw Story]
- Bath Salts and Synthetic Drugs Make "Millions" for Terrorists [ABC]
- Guns N' Roses' DJ Ashba Blames E-Cigarettes for Near Death Experience [Ultimate Classic Rock]
- Eminem Details Depths of Drug Addiction: 'My Bottom Was Gonna Be Death' [MTV]
- Cowboys' Josh Brent Sent Back to Jail [ESPN]
Many Brits are understandably in a tizzy over new reports of on-the-job booze and drug use by the "elite" police force responsible for safeguarding the country's nuclear power plants. Various members of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) have been caught drunk and tested positive for drugs on the job, according to papers released via the Freedom of Information Act. The records also show incidents of officers accidentally shooting off guns and lying about it, as well as making “unwanted and inappropriate advances towards an officer of the opposite sex.” One officer tested positive for marijuana at work, while another "attended a training course smelling of alcohol." The CNC, which stands 1,000 strong, is responsible not only for safeguarding these nuclear plants but also for overseeing radioactive materials in transit. CNC reportedly dismissed the offending officers or gave them warnings, and also issued warnings to a number of officers who were busted for off-duty offenses, including public intoxication. “This deeply worrying catalogue of misdemeanors is a reminder that nuclear reactors will always be vulnerable to human mistakes and irresponsibility,” says Robin Oakley, Campaigns Director of Greenpeace UK. “If the people supposed to protect us from probably the highest level of nuclear risk don’t take safety seriously, what confidence can we have in the rest of the nuclear industry’s operations?”
With most mainstream media sources silenced by fear of the drug cartels, social media has become a safer way for Mexicans to stay informed about the drug war-related violence continuing to rage throughout the country. "They are killing like crazy! There's a shootout in the Lazaro Cardenas neighborhood. Steer clear of that area," reads a tweet out of Monterrey, a city plagued by cartel violence. Microsoft.com analysts followed 16 months of Twitter activity by residents of four cities heavily affected by cartel violence—Monterrey, Reynosa, Saltillo, and Veracruz. In a report, they noted a prevalence of terms like "bomb blasts" and "gunshots" during this time period, and identified at least half a dozen Twitter accounts dedicated to posting drug war updates. Of the one-third of Mexicans with Internet access, only 20% regularly use Twitter. But in these four cities, there are “twice as many retweets” than in US cities like Seattle, said the study's lead researcher Monroy Hernandez. These "social media curators"—most of them ordinary citizens—spend up to 15 hours a day gathering information, and mostly do it for "altruistic reasons." Says Hernandez: “They have a lot of visibility in these cities but they try to stay anonymous.”
The drug war has claimed more than 70,000 lives in Mexico since 2006. Since 2000, 86 reporters have been killed and 18 have gone missing, according to Mexico's Human Rights Commission. Even anonymous bloggers have been victims of violence, as the cartels often find ways to determine their identities by hacking the system. In 2011, three bloggers were killed—two of them left hanging from a bridge as a warning. Even "Lucy"—the famously fearless anonymous blogger whose widely-read site El Blog del Narco publishes stories, graphic photos and videos of daily violence—has fled to Spain out of fear for her life.
Silk Road—the "amazon of drugs"—has dominated the illegal online market since 2011. But now there's a rival on the block: Atlantis—a new drug-selling site armed with a flashy ad campaign and a cute commercial. Silk Road, in contrast, has always relied on word-of-mouth. Billing itself as the "world's best anonymous online drug marketplace," Atlantis has just kicked off its social media campaign with a cartoon ad, in the style of a Silicon Valley startup. The video (below), features Charlie, a stoner who recently moved and "can't get any dank buds” in his new city. Cue Atlantis—which swoops to deliver him weed within 24 hours, and gets him “high as a kite” for “no fees for purchases.” The site accepts the online currency Bitcoin as well as lesser-known "Litecoin," and boasts lower prices. It's reportedly been pitching journalists and attempting to lure Silk Road sellers with discount offers.
But why would a site that sells illegal drugs opt for such an open marketing strategy? “We want to bring attention to the site and bring our vendors more buyers,” Atlantis's CEO explains on Reddit. “Law enforcement is going to be aware of us (and probably already is) regardless of the way we choose to put our product out there.” Some Reddit users say they already prefer Atlantis to Silk Road because of its friendlier interface and less shady atmosphere. But many have reservations—and many more believe Silk Road has too much heft to go down without a fight. “Going to take more than a day in [Adobe] after effects, one would assume, to pry customers from trusted [SilkRoad] vendors,” comments one Reddit user. “Even with the price lowered, reputation is everything in this business.” Others fear that Atlantis's marketing campaign will attract the "wrong kinds" of people. “The advert pissed me off a bit, I think it will attract an irresponsible audience," says another Reddit user. “[I] Just think this advert makes it look too flowery and 13 year olds are gunna be ordering weed through the post to impress their mates.” Others suspect that the whole site and campaign is a narc-driven ploy—or, as one user puts it: "the biggest fucking honeypot sting ever."
Thanks For Sharing is no Shame. Both are big screen films exploring sex addiction—but while 2011's Shame was a sultry drama starring Michael Fassbender as an active addict in downward spiral, Thank You For Sharing looks to be more of a light-hearted recovery-themed romp. The film, set in NYC, stars Mark Ruffalo as a recovering sex addict, and his 12-step fellows, played by Josh Gad and pop star Pink, as they attend meetings and work the steps (and, presumably, look for love). Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow plays the romantic lead, who believes sex addiction is "something that guys just say when they get caught cheating." But her mind may change after she stumbles upon a 12-step medallion belonging to her new boyfriend (played by Ruffalo) and he reveals he has been in recovery for five years. It's a big screen debut for rocker Pink, who calls the 12-step meetings a "sausage fest" and tells Gad's character "Damn, dude, you just got all Jack Bauer on me!" when he tries to stop her from relapsing with an ex. Will the film break taboos about sex addiction, or fuel stereotypes? We won't know for sure until it hits theaters in September—but you can check out the trailer below:
Today The Fix adds four brand-new reviews to its unique-in-the-industry Rehab Review, which surveys alumni of addiction treatment centers around the country—and the world—about what getting sober at their facility was like. Three of the new centers are in the treatment nexus of California, but each is unique: Summit Malibu is a very exclusive, seven-resident rehab perched above the Pacific Ocean, while AToN Center, in San Diego, encourages its clients to attend both AA and SMART Recovery meetings. The third Golden State center, Sober College, is for young people who want to continue in their studies while breaking free of their addiction. It also can address problem Internet or video-game usage. Finally, the fourth new facility to be reviewed is the far-flung Cabin Chiang Mai, a luxury rehab center in Thailand where British rocker Pete Doherty and American beauty blogger Cat Marnell have attended (some more successfully than others).