What is a juggalo? A lot of things, but not a threat to national security, a new report confirms. Clown makeup-wearing fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as "juggalos," were subject to a 14-month FBI investigation as a possible national gang threat, following a pair of drug busts in 2011. The FBI included the Juggalos in its 2011 report on national gang activity, accusing the band's followers of being a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" that is "forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity." After local Utah police arrested two Juggalos on drug charges in March 2011, an FBI agent in Salt Lake City opened up the investigation, writing that "Juggalo crimes" in several states fit the pattern of "crimes typically seen by gangs or gang members" including drug sales, possession and child endangerment. "Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio, but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,'" explained the agent. But an investigation from Muck Rock, a Massachusetts company that built a web tool to help journalists, activists and lawyers file Freedom of Information Act requests, has confirmed that the FBI's concerns were unfounded. The band unsuccessfully sued the FBI last September in order to get them to disclose the basis for investigating their fans, but the Salt Lake City division of the FBI had already “recommended the captioned cases be closed” last May due to lack of evidence. “It’s cool that ICP really cares enough to hold the FBI accountable,” says Tom Nash, Muck Rock’s news editor. “They never approached us. But we’d be very interested in working with them.”
Charleston West Virginia Mayor Danny Jones says he is "relieved" over his son's cocaine arrest, believing jail could save his life. Zac Jones, 23, was arrested Thursday for possession with the intent to distribute an ounce of cocaine. "It may surprise many to know that I was relieved when I found out Zac was arrested, because I know that the only things that might save his life are isolation and yes, incarceration," says the mayor in a statement. "If in jail or prison, I know that Zac has a better chance at living than on the outside. This is because Zac is a hopeless drug addict who has broken the heart and the will of everyone and anyone who has tried to help him." Zac Jones has been arrested twice before, once in 2010 for possession of heroin, and once for driving under the influence in 2008. His father says he has never used his political clout to bail him out, and even clued in the cops to his whereabouts before his 2010 arrest. "I know there are a few parents that will read this and relate to the heartbreak I feel," says the mayor. "I plead with those in the law enforcement, judicial, and jail and prison system to treat my son no better or worse than any other defendant. My son does not need anyone to save him from taking this life saving fall."
A day may come when doctors will be able to use a person’s DNA data to create customized treatments for alcohol and drug addiction, according to Adron Harris, PhD, an addiction expert at the University of Texas. Harris, who is also president of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, says genetic sequencing is becoming so affordable that soon we could all have a copy of our own DNA sequence. “You can probably get a USB drive that would have your gene sequence,” he said at a University of Texas event on Thursday. “Whenever you go into a doctor’s office or an emergency room, the first thing they will do is plug in your USB drive and read your DNA sequence.” Harris explained how these advances could lead to a better understanding of drug and alcohol addiction. “Alcohol dependence is a disease of the young,” he said. “This is why the economic impact is so great for it; it’s something that carries over a lifetime.” Harris said the goal would be to develop medications that would target relapse, reduce withdrawal symptoms and help people maintain abstinence. The impact of alcoholism is about the same as heart disease, yet according to Harris, it receives much less attention. “There is no cure for dependency,” he said. “There is not even a race for a cure. There is not a lot of advocacy for this area, compared to other diseases.”
- UK Cuts Down on Heavy Drinking and Smoking [Guardian]
- UN Report Says Some Addiction Treatments are Akin to Torture [Time]
- Balkan States a Main Drug Trafficking Hub [b92.net]
- Death Spurs Investigation of a Baltimore Methadone Clinic [Bloomberg]
- Mother of Bode Miller's Child Says he is a Drunk [TMZ]
- Gambling Addiction Should be Treated Like Alcoholism [Medscape]
- 911 Call From Hope Solo’s Pre-Wedding Brawl Reveals Boozy Violence [The Stir]
Spanish photographer Mikel Aristregi documents the plight of homeless addicts in Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, in a photo exhibition profiled by the New York Times. With winter temperatures often reaching -40°, the homeless seek refuge from the cold in underground tunnels. "Underground, bunch of men and women crowded around the heat of the hot water tubes that cross the city," Aristregi writes on his website, "They are alcoholics; they live buried even before they’re dead." Aristregi, 37, says he initially went to Ulan Bator to photograph street children, but he found that the city has many more homeless addicts than kids. "The problem of the street children had been more or less eradicated because of the work of many international and local groups,” he explains, "But nobody was taking care of those people." Alcoholism affects 22% of men and 5% of women in Mongolia, according to a 2006 World Health Organization study, but they receive little help from the government, and resources are limited. Many drink 200-proof alcohol, which is so strong it is also used to clean engines, Aristregi reports. He plans to return to Ulan Bator to photograph the hospitals and detention centers where some of the homeless end up, so as to make people across the world aware of the severity of the problem.