A New York City drug treatment center is now facing major backlash from the Internal Revenue Service after being accused of nearly $1 million in shady spending. The recent audit showed that Samaritan Village, which provides residential, outpatient and methadone treatment, billed the state for $973,881 between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, for unallowable, inappropriate, questionable, or undocumented expenses. The treatment center is currently under a $73.3 million, five-year contract with the state that expires this June.
The questionable expenses of Samaritan Village involved giving clients nearly $407,000 to spend on day trips and public transportation, including $132,541 for “walk around money.” Most of these payouts were unnecessary because clients already received a personal needs allowance that covered these expenses. The audit conducted by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli also found that that nonprofit gave 203 employees non-performance based bonuses of $1,083, which totaled $220,000. DiNapoli said the bonuses were a reallocation of unspent state money.
The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services was also slammed by the audit for ineffectively monitoring how Samaritan Village spent its money, declaring that the agency “needs to improve its oversight of how contractors are using public money so taxpayers don’t get the short end of the stick.” But the agency’s general counsel, Robert Kent, objected to many of the audit findings and said they had greatly improved monitoring in recent years.
Despite momentum building for legal weed in the Golden State, Governor Jerry Brown has reservations about joining Colorado and Washington in legalizing it.
Brown stated during a March 2 appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that legalization might lend to a “tendency to go to extremes” and open up issues of safety and governmental solvency. Brown also noted, “If there is advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great union?” The 75-year-old Brown, who recently launched his campaign for a fourth term as California governor, added that he was observing how other states were handling their legalization issues before making any decisions regarding marijuana laws in California.
“We have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington,” said Brown to host David Gregory. “I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s going to work.” Brown also echoed the sentiments of many who are opposed to legalization by noting that “the world is pretty dangerous [and] pretty competitive. I think we may need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day – more than some potheads might be able to put together.”
A December 2013 poll showed that 55 percent of Californians approve the legalization of marijuana. In the past, Brown has shown moderate support for some marijuana issues in California, suggesting in 2012 that the federal government should allow states to decide how marijuana was regulated and vetoing a controversial bill in 2011 that would have barred medical marijuana dispensaries from within 600 feet of residential homes. But in both cases, he has stopped short of advocating the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, citing “abuses” in the field of medical marijuana that would make further legalization “dangerous.”
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- 'Coronation Street' Star Michael Le Vell Taking Break To Seek Help For Cocaine Use [Metro]
- Czech Customs Officials Seized $37 Million Heroin Shipment [Wall Street Journal]
- Connecticut High School Intern Arrested For Giving 15-Year-Old Girl Booze [NBC Connecticut]
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- Florida Man Stopped For DUI, Says He Was Trying To 'Drive It Off' [Gawker]
- Texas Man High On PCP Arrested After Performing 'Ninja Moves' [KBTX]
NBOMe, a designer drug meant to imitate LSD, has been held accountable for twenty overdose deaths in the United States.
Cassidy, 16, almost became another statistic when her heart stopped while using NBOMe. "I was gone for about 45 seconds to a minute, I don't know how that happened, but I'm extremely lucky to be alive today," Cassidy said. Fortunately, her teacher, a trained EMT, happened to drive by when Cassidy collapsed and had a seizure on the road.
"Every kid I knew in Sherwood, Oregon was doing it," she said.
NBOMe, or 25i, is yet another attempt by enterprising chemists to create barely legal drugs that imitate real - and relatively safer - drugs. NBOMe, served on blotter paper, is made to act like LSD, much like how K2 and Spice are meant to mimic marijuana and bath salts are meant to mimic crack.
Cassidy and 17 other friends tried the drug that day, with one of her friends also experiencing seizures.
"I started seizuring. I fell and hit the concrete," Cassidy said in recounting the incident. "It was really painful after waking up from it, my entire body was stiff and tense, it hurt to move. I don't remember having the seizure. I blacked out."
NBOMe and designer drugs like it are sold online and by word of mouth. Because no one but the manufacturers know exactly what is put into the drugs, using them is a dangerous game.
"These are dangerous chemicals. You are playing Russian roulette when you put these in your body," said Douglas James, DEA Assistant, Special Agent in Charge. "This drug, along with other designer drugs, are concerning to the DEA. I have three young daughters, these drugs are peddled to the youth of America."
One such American youth is 18-year-old Anthony Carlson, a freshman at Arizona State University who collapsed and died the day after putting a few drops of NBOMe in his nose.
"Hopefully it will help somebody make a better choice, I'm glad that I'm a living example rather than a dead one," Cassidy said.
The DEA now classifies NBOMe as a Schedule I drug, as it has no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.
Crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford traveled all the way to Los Angeles to be roasted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday night. "Why are you dressed like a magician?" host Jimmy Kimmel asked once Ford sat down, ridiculing the mayor's all-black suit with a red tie and pocket square.
The interview apparently comes after Kimmel cold-called Ford on his personal line - which the mayor routinely gives out publicly - and invited him to appear on his show. Much to Kimmel's surprise, Ford accepted. "Don't get me wrong, I'm very, very happy that you are here, but why are you here?" Kimmel asked Ford. "What good could come of this? Have you ever seen this show?"
But the mayor wasn't totally helpless, showing some wit through a few quick retorts.
"I give my number out because you're the boss," said Ford. "And when you say 'jump,' I say 'how high?'"
"Realistically, how high can you jump?" Kimmel responded.
"You'd be surprised how fast I can move," replied Ford, to audience laughter.
Kimmel put Ford through the gauntlet, broadcasting a stream of embarrassing photos and videos of Ford angrily ranting, imitating a Jamaican accent, and tossing handfuls of candy canes at children "as if you were feeding birds," Kimmel commented.
When Kimmel asked Ford if he had an alcohol and drug problem, the interview elicited a sincere response. "Maybe that's something you want to think about, like trying to talk to somebody," Jimmy said. Ford replied: "I wasn't elected to be perfect, Jimmy. I was elected to clean up a mess."
See the interview for yourself below:
In a new study reported on by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it turns out cocaine does a lot more than just suppress appetites. According to the latest research, cocaine also stops the body from storing fat. Such conclusions undermine the long-believed supposition that cocaine addicts were thin because the illegal drug diminished their desire to eat. The frightening implications of these conclusions is the possibility that they will give cocaine abusers one more ugly excuse to use the drug.
Based in the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge, Researcher Dr. Karen Ersche and her team compared 30 cocaine-dependent men to 30 healthy men. The researchers evaluated body composition, diets, and eating behaviors for each patient. They also measured leptin levels of the study participants because this hormone plays a crucial role in regulating appetite. Despite the loss of weight in the men using the cocaine, the leptin levels were strangely reduced.
As a result of these findings, the researchers discovered that getting sober from cocaine naturally results in dramatic weight gain. Faced with a sudden gain in weight, their subsequent unhappiness results in a profound craving to use the drug again.
Not surprisingly, the Cambridge study revealed that cocaine users had worse diets than healthy people, choosing to eat fatty foods, carbohydrates, and lots of sugary snacks. What proved dumbfounding was the cocaine abusers still experienced significant weight loss despite such unhealthy diets. Their overall body fat was significantly reduced when compared to the control group on the placebo. Once they stopped using cocaine, given their lower levels of leptin, they were more likely to overeat and gain weight.
Expressing her worry in regards to the possible negative implications of the study, Ersche underscored a frightening reality made much more apparent by the study results.
“The stress caused by this conspicuous body change can also contribute to relapse. It is therefore important that we better understand the effects of cocaine on eating behavior and body weight to best support drug users on their road to recovery," Ersche said. "Notable weight gain following cocaine abstinence is not only a source of major personal suffering but also has profound implications for health and recovery.”