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meth problem

10/24/14 1:00pm

Prepubescent Drug Dealer Highlights Australia’s Growing Meth Problem

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According to a recent report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), methamphetamine use has escalated at an alarming rate in Australia, and appears to have spread into rural areas, where biker gangs have recruited children as young as 11 years old to manufacture and sell “ice,” as meth is known Down Under.

An unidentified teenager interviewed as part of the report claimed that he was tapped by an outlaw motorcycle gang to sell ice at the age of 11. Within a few years, he was not only addicted to the drug, but was also taught to cook by his mid-teens. The young man reported that he worked in labs without the benefit of protective clothing or breathing apparatuses to prevent inhaling the drug’s dangerous fumes, which left him at the age of 19 with early onset arthritis and loose joints, among a host of other health problems.

Methamphetamine has been a problem in Australia since the early 2000s, but it has exploded in recent years, with usage reported across a wide cross-section of age groups. Research conducted in 2013 and 2014 found that 7% of all Australians aged 14 years or older had used methamphetamine one or more times. Meanwhile, wastewater from Melbourne’s western treatment plant was found to have exceptionally high levels of methamphetamine traces; 51.4 doses per 1,000 people on a single day, or one out of every 20 residents in the state of Victoria.

Greater levels of purity in Australian ice have most likely accounted for the steady increase in users across the country, as well as a drop in the average age of users; the average age of first-time methamphetamine users is 18.6 years, but 2.9% of 12 to 17-year-olds have also reported using the drug.

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By Paul Gaita

fraud

10/24/14 10:30am

Father-Son Treatment Center Pioneers Accused of Mass Fraud

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A father-son duo became popular in New York City for operating methadone clinics and sober houses throughout the Bronx, but they’re becoming equally well-known for the fraud charges launched against them.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed charges this week against Alan Brand, 64, and his son, Jason, 35, and began an investigation against them for allegedly embezzling Medicaid funds. The documents filed claim that they used their nonprofit, Narco Freedom, in insurance and extortion schemes. The taxpayer-funded treatment empire, which receives $38 million in Medicaid annually and has $6.3 million in state contracts, was also reportedly used to help fund their lavish lifestyle.

The Brands are accused of filing false documents in order to receive a $3.5 million insurance payout to restore their office in Brooklyn, while Alan also reportedly pocketed over $150,000 per year as a kickback from a developer who rented buildings to Narco Freedom. Both men face grand larceny and insurance fraud charges, while Alan also faces charges of bribery and money laundering.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges against them in Bronx Supreme Court, but it remains unclear whether they will be able to receive bail. Meanwhile, both Schneiderman and city investigators are looking to seize properties that they own in Long Island and Florida, in addition to six luxury automobiles.

Narco Freedom released a statement claiming that Alan was removed as director of the company this July. The company is determined to not let the case affect their daily operations and they will continue “to provide its important drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs as well as mental health and primary care services that are so critical to the communities Narco Freedom serves.”

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By McCarton Ackerman

News

10/24/14 8:30am

Alleged Drug Dealer Arrested For Selling 'Ebola'

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A New Jersey man is currently behind bars for allegedly selling “Ebola,” but it wasn’t a strain of the deadly virus making worldwide headlines.

Barnabas “Hammer” Davis was reportedly selling packets of heroin from a motel room and put the “Ebola” label on the wax folds. A tipster alerted Toms River police to the drug trade and they raided his room at the Ramada Inn after executing a search warrant.

Once inside, officers discovered both the heroin packets and 40 grams of crack. Davis was arrested and charged with multiple drug offenses, including possession of heroin and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. He is currently being held in lieu of $300,000 bond.

“Different dealers have different potencies and products. Many times they are labeled with catchy phrases,” said Officer Ralph Stocco. “In the past we have had Bin Laden, Hello Kitty, D.O.A., Twin Towers, 911, Gumball, Pow, etc.” Toms River police also noted that the motel had no involvement with the drug activity and was fully cooperative in the investigation.

While unconventional drug names aren’t unusual, they have typically been reserved for club drugs. One substance referred to as “Nintendo” has the same name and logo as the video game company stamped onto pills, but contained a large dose of MDMA. Last January, four clubgoers in North Wales went temporarily blind after taking a club drug known as “Brain,” while a 17-year-old girl from Scotland passed away the following month after taking a pill known as “Mortal Kombat."

Scottish police also issued a warning via Twitter last week about a “Pink Superman” pill, which features a Superman logo on one side and a ‘half-score’ line and ® logo on the reverse. The cheap drugs, which cost as little as $6 per pill, have already been responsible for numerous fatalities due to containing para-methoxyamphetamine, which is five times stronger than ecstasy.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

10/24/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: Oct. 24, 2014

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By Shawn Dwyer

eating disorders

10/23/14 7:30pm

25 to 35-Year-Olds Most Affected by Eating Disorders in Ireland

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According to a Bodywhys report, the age group now most affected by eating disorders in Ireland are 25 to 35-year-olds.

As the Eating Disorder Association of Ireland, Bodywhys reported that close to a third of those with an eating disorder are in the 25 to 35 age group as opposed to the younger 19 to 24 age group of previous years. The report stresses, "eating disorders are not just a teenage issue.”

While one in five of the 10,000 people contacting the service had developed an eating disorder in the past six months, more than one in four had suffered with the condition for more than a decade. Women greatly outnumbered men nine to one. Almost half of the callers had never engaged in any form of treatment.

Anorexia was the most common disorder at 38%, followed by binge eating disorder at 26%, then bulimia a close third at 25%. Although email was the primary form of contact, offering a certain anonymity, the local call helpline in Dublin came in second with online groups coming in third. At 31%, 25 to 35 years olds clearly made up the biggest age group reaching out for help.

In the past, the dominant group for adults has been in the younger age range of 19 to 24. The question is why has this change taken place and what does it imply in regards to eating disorders in Ireland and beyond. Robyn L. Goldberg, RDN, CEDRD, analyzed the new statistics from Ireland, comparing them to her practice in Southern California.

“From my experience with the 25 to 35 age range, I have found that such clients have different stressors in their lives when compared to younger adults," Goldberg told The Fix. "They have taken on greater financial responsibilities like a new baby or a mortgage. Despite getting older, they never actually developed the coping mechanisms needed."

"Eating disorders from the past often resurface at these times," Goldberg continued. "Beyond such relapses, more challenging are the clients in the age range of 25 to 35, who suddenly develop a new relationship with food that is unhealthy and even dangerous. I would imagine the same thing often happens in Ireland and across the world as a whole.”

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By John Lavitt

trash

10/23/14 5:30pm

Audio of Drunken Palin Family Brawl Released

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Radar Online has obtained exclusive police audio of the Palin family brawl that took place on September 6 in Wasilla, Alaska. The audio features the Palin women—the former governor of Alaska and her two daughters Bristol, 23 and Willow, 20—frantically unloading their side of the story to police in the immediate aftermath of the brawl.

According to Radar Online, on the night of the fight Todd Palin accompanied his children Willow, Bristol, and Track, 25 to a friend’s birthday party. The trouble started when the host of the party, Korey Klingenmeyer, heard Bristol start ranting that she wanted to get physically violent with another guest. When Klingenmeyer tried to intercept and told Bristol that she needed to leave if she was going to start a fight, she began repeatedly punching him in the face using both hands.

One police report stated that Klingenmeyer “grabbed Bristol’s arm and held her back, pushing her down while holding her hand as she was attempting to strike him.” At that point, Bristol’s brother Track and another male joined in, throwing punches to defend her.

The birthday boy, Matthew McKenna, admitted that the situation was the result of “one big misunderstanding and a fight among friends due to too much alcohol and people talking trash."

“I’m friends with Todd and Sarah,” he told police. “That’s why they’re here. And a bunch of people are drunk and stupid.”

The police reports also noted officers could smell alcohol on Bristol’s breath. No charges have been filed against any of the brawl's participants.

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By Victoria Kim

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