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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

drunk flying

2/05/13 1:17pm

Russia May Ban Duty-Free Booze

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These bottles may be no longer fit to fly.
Photo via

There are plenty of reasons not to drink and fly, but Russians may soon lose the privilege of bringing bottles on airplanes altogether. After a few too many of the nation's travelers have caused a public ruckus in the sky, the Russian government is considering a new bill to ban duty-free booze from airplanes. To shore up support for the bill, state television is broadcasting amateur footage from a recent flight from Russia to Thailand that was forced to land after a Russian man attacked other passengers. The ads also include footage of a man head butting a steward during a flight, a brawl among passengers in line for the bathroom, and the now-famous incident of a passenger who was so belligerent, he got tied to his seat with his mouth taped shut. "Changes are needed to end such uproar on planes," says Vitaly Yefimov, of Russian parliament's transport committee. "It's a direct threat to flight security." Russia has the fourth highest per-capita alcohol consumption in the world, according to a 2011 World Health organization report.

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By Ben Feuerherd

drug war

2/05/13 12:13pm

US–Mexico Drug War Relations Remain Tense

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General Ocho (far left) was thwarted from
rising to defense minister of Mexico.

Although the US has pledged to work together with Mexico towards a solution to the country's ongoing drug war, relations between the countries remain strained, the New York Times reports. Recently, the US stepped in to intervene over the possible promotion of Gen. Moisés García Ocho, who was poised last fall become Mexico's next minister of defense. The Obama administration was concerned over unconfirmed suspicions from the DEA and the Pentagon that the general was tied to drug traffickers, and that he had misused military supplies and skimmed money from multimillion-dollar defense contracts. So in the lead-up to Mexico's Presidential inauguration on Dec. 1, the US ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne, met with senior aides to new President Enrique Peña Nieto and expressed concerns over Ocho's rise to power. The general ultimately was not promoted, but the intervention highlights a lingering mistrust between the two countries, even as they proclaim their partnership. “When it comes to Mexico, you have to accept that you’re going to dance with the devil,” says an anonymous former senior DEA official. “You can’t just fold your cards and go home because you can’t find people you completely trust. You play with the cards you’re dealt.”

There is mistrust on the other side of the border as well. “The running complaint on the Mexican side is that the relationship with the United States is unequal and unbalanced,” says an anonymous former senior Mexican intelligence official. “Mexico is open with its secrets. The United States is not. So there’s a lot of resentment. And there’s always an incentive to try to stick it to the Americans.” During former President Felipe Calderón's run as President, the US and Mexico collaborated on military operations that resulted in the arrest or killing of several dozen major cartel leaders. However, the aggressive tactics contributed to a surge of violence left 63,000 dead. Nieto has declared he will focus more on reducing violence and less on capturing cartel kingpins. But many US officials remain unconvinced.

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By McCarton Ackerman

recovery events

2/05/13 11:05am

Yoga Guru Hosts Online Addiction Conference

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Tommy Rosen is a yoga teacher with 20
years sober. Photo via

Tommy Rosen, a yoga teacher with over 20 years of sobriety, is the brainchild behind the Tadasana Festival, and teaches regularly at yoga conferences and festivals. Now he's decided to focus his spiritual energy on the addiction and recovery community, with the creation of Recovery 2.0, a free online conference that will take place from March 17-21. Featuring interviews with such experts as Memoirs of an Addicted Brain author Dr. Marc Lewis and In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts author Dr. Gabor Maté, Recovery 2.0 aims to explore recovery from medical, scientific and spiritual angles. The conference will focus on drug, alcohol, food, sex and money addiction as well as recovery solutions such as 12 step programs, meditation and yoga. "Along my path of recovery, I discovered that ‘truly moving beyond’ meant addressing my whole self and not just getting clean," Rosen says of his reasons for creating Recovery 2.0. "It meant addressing the underlying issues that had led me to the dis-ease of my mind, body and spirit. Having recognized that deep and expansive healing from addiction requires many perspectives, techniques, and resources, it is my personal mission to continue to find and to share these essential ingredients of recovery." For more information about the 30-plus experts and how to purchase the video interviews, click here.

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By Benjamin Fairway

Headlines

2/05/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: February 5, 2013

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Lil' Wayne got a lil' drunk and took a lil' nap...
during a concert. Photo via

By The Fix staff

The Fix

2/04/13 5:22pm

A Bright New Beginning for The Fix

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Exciting times ahead

So much has happened since The Fix went live in March 2011 that it’s hard to believe we’re only just approaching our second birthday. Through the lens of a dedicated news magazine, we've sought to shed new light on the reality of addiction and, crucially, recovery. Whatever its manifestation, from alcohol to other drugs, from gambling to the Internet, addiction touches virtually all our families. But all too often, stigma and shame prevent plain talking about this critical subject—both the problems and the solutions, which positively transform millions of lives. We remain as committed as ever to putting that right.

And so, this spring, we’ll be launching a brand-new version of the site, right here at TheFix.com. Don’t worry—it will still include all of our most popular features. And The Fix will still boast your favorite established writers, while continuing to welcome new writers to find their voice in this field. But the relaunch will present our key content in a bold, cutting-edge design, repositioning our brand and adding a valuable range of extra resources. All will soon be revealed; we feel sure the new design will take The Fix forward like never before.

Sad to say, we’ll embark on this major change without Editor-in-Chief Mike Guy, who departs to pursue a new opportunity. Mike joined us in October 2011, moving up to the top job last June. His contribution can hardly be overstated. Under his stewardship, we've reached out to far more readers than ever; initiated our important Professional Voices strand; run blockbuster stories like our exclusive interview with US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske; and much more. We’re grateful to him and wish him every success in his next venture.

Stepping into his shoes to run the site is our new Editorial Director, Will Godfrey. He reports to Paul McCulley, Chairman of Recovery Media LLC, the parent company of The Fix. Will’s passion for our subject was sparked by a four-year spell working at a prison in his native London, where he co-founded and edited a magazine written by and for prisoners, many of whom were of course victims of addiction. He joined The Fix in New York before the site launched, has served as Managing Editor since October 2011, and has received a privileged introduction to the US recovery community in his time with us.

Other staff announcements include the expansion of the business development side of our operations, under Melanie Haber. And Senior Editor May Wilkerson takes over the reins of our Quick Fix news blog, where she’s been working with distinction over the past year. We'll keep you posted as the Fix team continues to develop.

One thing that won’t change is our heartfelt gratitude to all our readers; you have, after all, been the vital element in allowing this publication to prosper, and your spirited engagement is a large part of what makes life here compelling. These are exciting times for The Fix—with your help, we’re confident that the new era can be our best yet.

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By The Fix staff

coke fiends

2/04/13 4:57pm

Why They Took the Cocaine Out of Coca-Cola

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Coca-Cola's racist history resulted in a
drug-free drink. Photo via

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, the all-American soft drink known as Coca-Cola contained a not-so-wholesome ingredient: cocaine. It was removed—not for health reasons, or to protect the children—but because of racism, explains Grace Elizabeth Hale in the New York Times. The drink originally catered to rich white people in the south, who were the only ones with access to segregated soda fountains; but in 1899 it was bottled, and anyone with five cents could enjoy a coke. This was unsettling to whites of the Jim Crow era south, who believed rising drug use among black people was leading to higher incidents of rape of white women. "Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans," writes Hale. "Southern newspapers reported that 'negro cocaine fiends' were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them." This bogus assumption was so prevalent that US State Department official Dr. Hamilton Wright said in 1910: "The use of cocaine by the negroes of the South is one of the most elusive and troublesome questions which confront the enforcement of the law ... often the direct incentive to the crime of rape by the negroes." Following these allegations, Coca-Cola began extracting the psychoactive ingredients in the coca originally used in the soda, but the process was not perfected until 1929.

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By Ben Feuerherd

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