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heroin legalization

6/28/13 12:12pm

Barney Frank Says Heroin Should Be Legal

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Frank loves liberty, not heroin Photo via

Barney Frank believes heroin, cocaine and many other drugs should be legalized—but not because he wants to go out and stock up. The former state representative told The Huffington Post that he is against the idea that people "should be locked up for putting anything voluntarily in his or her own mouth," unless the drugs make them "misbehave badly." The Massachusetts Democrat says he has neither tried nor been tempted to experiment with the illegal opioid, but he makes the argument that heroin users' criminal behavior is caused by their need to obtain the drug illegally, but not by the actual drug itself. "What makes people misbehave is the need to steal money to buy heroin," he explains. While there are some drugs that might directly cause people to misbehave, he does "not believe heroin is in that category." And he makes the same argument for cocaine: "There are a lot of very high-functioning people in this society on cocaine. Cocaine is the rich people's drug." The former Congressman has advocated for drug legalization before: he filed legislation to legalize marijuana in 1972 and was among the most vocal proponents for pot legalization in Congress, alongside former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul once argued against the prohibition of heroin at a 2012 Republican presidential debate to applause from a South Carolina audience. In 2011, the "odd couple" introduced legislation to effectively end federal marijuana prohibition.

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By Victoria Kim

sober rappers

6/28/13 10:52am

Eminem Shares His Rock Bottom and Recovery

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"It does get better." Photo via

In the new documentary How To Make Money Selling DrugsEminem speaks in depth about the prescription pill addiction that nearly killed him. "When I took my first Vicodin, it was like this feeling of 'Ahh.' Like everything was not only mellow, but [I] didn't feel any pain," he says. "I don't know at what point exactly it started to be a problem. I just remember liking it more and more." The now-recovering rapper, who has been known to sport 12-step medallions on stage, first opened up about his addiction to prescription drugs on his 2010 album, Recovery. But he resisted getting clean for a long time. "People tried to tell me that I had a problem. I would say 'Get that fucking person outta here. I can't believe they said that shit to me. I'm not out there shooting heroin. I'm not fucking out there putting coke up my nose. I'm not smoking crack,'" he recalls. At the height of his addiction, he was taking up to 20 pills a day: "Xanax, Valium, tomato, tomatoe, it's same thing ... Fuck it, take it." Eventually, a nearly-fatal overdose landed Eminem in the ER. "Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died. My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything," he says. "They didn't think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death."

Eminem, 40, got clean after his brush-with death, but relapsed within a month of getting out of the hospital. Ultimately, it was fatherhood—"looking at my kids and [realizing] 'I need to be here for this'"—that motivated him get sober on his own. After a detox that kept him up all night for three weeks—"not sleeping, not even nodding off for a fucking minute”—he started the process of recovery. "I had to regain motor skills, I had to regain talking skills," he says, "It's been a learning process, I'm growing." Now sober for a few years, he's been able to help other addicts get clean—including rapper Joe Budden. And last year during a tour, he thanked his fans for helping him get through "a dark time." "I couldn't believe that anybody could be naturally happy without being on something," he says in the film, which hits theaters today. "So I would say to anybody 'It does get better.’”

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By Chrisanne Grise

headlines

6/28/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 28, 2013

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Brent was out on bail for intoxication
manslaughter Photo via

By Victoria Kim

workplace drinking

6/27/13 5:28pm

UK's Nuclear Security Officers Drunk on the Job

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Not just a regular babysitting job.
Photo via

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?”

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By Bryan Le

drug war

6/27/13 4:59pm

Mexico Relies on Social Media for Drug War News

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Most newspapers don't tell the whole truth.
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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 violenceMonterrey, 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 citizensspend 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.

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By Victoria Kim

online drugs

6/27/13 3:33pm

Video: Can Atlantis Topple Silk Road?

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Bold move. Photo via

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."

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By Bryan Le

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