A man in Radomskom, Poland might not be smiling for a while. After visiting the dentist for a routine crown, his "drunken" dentist pulled out his front tooth, then kicked him out and hid from police. Polskie Radio reports that the patient suspected the dentist was drunk when he polished the tooth and gave the patient five jabs of anesthetic, but the patient didn't react until it was too late. "After a few minutes, the 28-year-old saw that his front tooth had landed in the bin, and at that moment he decided to protest,” says police spokeswoman Aneta Komorowka. After the patient requested dental records, the 50-year-old dentist booted him from the surgery room, and then barricaded himself in his office. When police broke in, they confirmed that the dentist was under the influence of alcohol. Police will determine the dentist’s exact charges once medical examiners calculate the extent of the patient’s injury.
- US Drug and Immigration Checkpoints take Toll on Border Towns [Daily Beast]
- New Hampshire Nears Approval of Medical Marijuana Law [Yahoo]
- Mayo Study: 70 Percent of Americans Take Prescription Drugs [KSTP]
- Smokers Are "Drug Addicts," Says UK Public Health Minister [Telegraph]
- US Coast Guard Seize About 1,500 Pounds of Cocaine in Caribbean [NBC Miami]
- Will E-Cigarettes Save Big Tobacco? [Forbes]
- Suburban NY Mom Indicted on Pot-Growing Charges [ABC News]
A robber in Cornwall, England who drunkenly tried to stick up a gas station while wearing a clear plastic bag as a "mask" has been sentenced to prison after his chosen disguise gave him away. Jamie Neil, 41, and his accomplice Gareth Tilley, 20, were both reportedly drunk and high last September when they decided to rob the convenience store at a local gas station. So they grabbed "the nearest thing they could find" to disguise themselves. “Before arriving at the location Tilley disguised his face using a scarf,” says Detective Constable Steve White. “And Neil, being less resourceful, put a plastic bag on his head.” Tilley then pointed his cell phone at the gas station clerk and demanded cash, but when the phone's keypad lit up and betrayed the fact that it wasn't a pistol, the employee hit the alarm. Neil grabbed and headbutted the employee and, with several bottles of liquor in hand, he got free—but only temporarily. An off-duty officer recognized Tilley on the street two days later, identifying him from the gas station's security footage, in which his face was clearly visible through the plastic bag. Both have pled guilty and will spend the next two years in prison. Constable White called the plastic bag the most "ridiculous" disguise he had ever come across.
The newly-gentrified neighborhood surrounding the Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Church of Yorkville on the Upper East Side is now under 24-hour police surveillance after the pastor received a threatening letter from local drug dealers, the New York Times reports. “Watch your back! You have to walk outside—you know," reads the letter. "Do you think that your all that holy?” The threat was not unprecedented. On Memorial Day Weekend, Father Boniface, perturbed by open drug use in the neighborhood and even within his church, confronted a man slumped over in a back pew. "I said to him, ‘Kevin, you’re using drugs, who is selling them to you?’” the pastor told the Times. “He got to his feet, mumbled, ‘Father, Father,’ and walked out. There was a filthy needle on the bench.” The incident provoked Father Boniface, 67, to write to the local police about drug use, dealing and loitering. “We are dismayed that the children who attend our school can see the same things that adults can, including public urination and defecation, indecent exposure, prostitution, and extreme drunken and drug addicted behavior,” he wrote, and collected about 700 signatures from his parishioners. Cops have since stationed a van on the church’s corner and cleared loiterers from the surrounding area. Boniface seems unruffled by the threats, noting that whoever wrote them: "left DNA evidence all over the envelope."
An official in China faces 11 years in prison after he embezzled 2.6 million yuan ($424,247) in public funds to support his addiction to a role-playing video game. The local official, identified only as Chu, was responsible for allocating taxpayer money in the Neighborhood Cooperative Economic Administration Center in Nanjing City. But in 2005, he got hooked on a multiplayer online role playing game called Zhengtu, a Chinese game similar to the immensely popular and notoriously addictive World of Warcraft. After spending 10,000 yuan ($1,633 USD) on in-game equipment for his avatar and 100,000 yuan ($16,327 USD) on two Zhengtu premium accounts, he soon dried up his savings. Within the year, Chu began dipping into public funds to fly himself and fellow players to meet up or attend Zhengtu-related events across the globe. After five years, his wife left him due to his obsession. By 2012, Chu finally turned himself in after having blown through millions of yuan in taxpayer money and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. A blogger on Sina Weibo, a Chinese site similar to Twitter, says: “A neighborhood official can do this kind of messy thing for six years without being caught!” China has taken steps to curb its widespread problem of gaming addiction. Initiatives include campaigns launched earlier this year to diagnose the condition, and to intervene with kids' Internet use.
Christian and Muslim groups in Kenya are putting aside their religious differences to join in helping combat alcohol and drug addiction, as concerns over substance abuse increase, The Washington Post reports. Religious leaders have declared a national disaster, saying that young Kenyans are increasingly turning to drugs—mainly heroin, cocaine, alcohol, bhang (marijuana) and khat—due to poverty, unemployment, foreign influences and ignorance about the dangers of addiction. In an effort to improve the situation, both Sunday schools and Islamic madrassas are offering preventative education and life skills training to improve public awareness. Some groups are also offering rehab and psychosocial support. “We have been taking a leading role for some time, since the community and the government have been in denial,” says Rev. Wilfred Kogo, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa’s drug abuse division. “We are going beyond our own congregations to also educate our neighbors.”
Churches began speaking out about substance abuse in the East African country back in the late 1990s, when drug-related riots became a problem for schools. And in 2008, students accused of consuming alcohol and drugs in over 300 secondary schools destroyed millions of dollars worth of school property. “We were very alarmed,” says Francis Kihara, a lay leader in the East African Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church of Kenya. “We went visiting primary and secondary (high) schools and educating the children about drugs.” A 2012 report found that 13% of kids ages 10 to 14 have used an intoxicating substance like alcohol. In addition, almost 12% of 15 to 24-year-olds abuse alcohol, and 6% regularly consume tobacco products. But the government may finally be willing to step in: President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered security forces to deport or arrest any suspected foreign drug traffickers earlier this month. “This is the strongest commitment against drugs that we heard in 51 years,” says Sheikh Juma Ngao, director of Kenya’s National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol And Drug Abuse. “It is a key boost to our work.”