Teenagers have long taken their vodka in experimental fashion: eating boozy Gummi bears and pouring the liquid onto your eyeball are two options. But now girls in the Phoenix area are soaking tampons in the spirit, then inserting them where they're designed to go, hospitals report. It gives you a quick rush because, "It's a very vascular structure," as Dr. Dan Quan of Maricopa Medical Center explains to KPHO: "Quicker high; they think it's going to last longer. It's more intense." A super tampon can absorb roughly one shot of vodka. However, "This is definitely not just girls," says school resource officer Chris Thomas. "Guys will also use it and they'll insert it into their rectums." He also stresses that this isn't just a Phoenix phenomenon: "This is everywhere." Indeed, it was reported in Germany earlier this year. The practice can irritate the vaginal wall. More seriously, it bypasses the body's defenses to alcohol poisoning: there's no stomach acid involved, and no gag reflex to expel alcohol when you over-consume. You can pass out without warning. And while avoiding boozy breath may sound good if you're trying to fool your parents, it can also mean hospital staff don't know what to look for, wasting vital time.
X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza was kicked off the talent show for bragging about an all-night coke bender earlier this week. From the moment he first walked onto the stage with painted-on skinny jeans and hair that makes Justin Bieber look like a staff sergeant, his trajectory was predictable: he'd coast through the first few rounds on his looks before flaming out spectacularly. What else to expect from someone who mooned millions to prove his ass was tattooed with the names of his conquests? Apparently his cocaine boast is "breaking competition rules." X Factor creator Simon Cowell says, "It's very sad, but he has no one to blame but himself.'' Which is just the kind of response you'd expect from Cowell, who's been able to buy an endless supply of V-necks with the money he makes off of people like Cocozza. They're chosen to create drama, then they're booted off to create even more. This 18-year-old kid is only behaving like pop stars do on a show meant to create pop stars. Cowell and co., who provided the opportunity for his life to spiral "out of control," as he puts it—before getting shot of him—are guilty of more.
Brazilian cops nabbed Rio De Janeiro's most wanted drug dealer yesterday. Gang leader Antonio Bonfim Lopes, 35, known as "Nem," was in the trunk of a car being driven away in haste from the Rocinha slum, prior to an anticipated police takeover. The vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint, where the other passengers tried to deflect the cops with a bribe of almost $600,000. Rio's finest declined, opened the trunk and bagged their prize. Nem heads a drug gang that controls Rocinha—one of Rio's largest slums, home to around 100,000 people. He's known for a fondness for Armani suits, and lived in some luxurious pads within Rocinha, including a villa with a swimming pool. His alleged resume includes drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping and money laundering. Rio's cracking down on its lawless slums as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Police hope to enlist residents to help—they're even offering pre-paid cell phones to those who cooperate. "The gang is being dismantled," says Alberto Pinheiro Neto, head of operations for Rio state police. "This is a good moment for law-abiding citizens who want to see their children living in peace to pass information on where criminals, guns and drugs are hidden."
- Most Smokers Want to Quit, Only a Fraction Actually Do [Wall Street Journal]
- NJ School Bus Driver Accused of DUI as Kids Call Parents About Swerving [Washington Post]
- New Australian Smoking Law Bans Brand Labels [Reuters]
- Conrad Murray: Michael Jackson "An Addict" [Huffington Post]
- Online Registry Seeks Strategies to Beat Addiction [CBS News]
- Canadian Doctor Agrees to Stop Using Amazonian Plant to Treat Addictions [Globe and Mail]
- Indian Spice King Went on "Drunken Naked Rampage" Through NY's Four Seasons Hotel [Daily Mail]
The latest casualty of California’s fiscal crisis is the CURES program (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System): a way of tracking prescriptions to combat doctor shopping by narcotic-hungry addicts. The attorney general's office announced that CURES will be part of $70 million in Department of Justice cuts for this year and the next. Junkies will be glad to see the back of it; CURES made it harder to get a painkiller scrip. With California's prisons still freeing non-violent offenders to make savings, little deterrent now remains for doctor shoppers or the "accommodating" doctors themselves. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimates over 40 people die each day in the US in prescription drug-related ODs. Little data was compiled on CURE's success, but federal authorities considered the program "promising" and it specifically targeted painkiller abuse by monitoring patient scrip histories. The data was available to doctors and health care providers online, enabling closer scrutiny, with offenders red-flagged. California may be broke, but it's prime time for pill-poppers to go shopping.
In what appears a particularly violent example of denial, a 19-year-old US Marine was murdered Sunday at Camp Pendleton, California, after confronting a drunken comrade about his alcohol problem. Lance Corporal Mario Arias Jr. raised the subject while the suspect was drinking at the San Diego County base in the early hours of Sunday morning, making him "enraged," sources tell the North County Times. He was beaten to death for his pains and later found dead on his bed. The unnamed suspect then tried to kill himself, by jumping from the third-floor balcony of the barrack building. "Another Marine, whose name is not being released at this time, is the suspect in Arias' murder," confirms Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman Ed Buice, describing his injuries as "significant." Charges have not yet been brought—when that happens will depend on the speed of the suspect's recovery. He may not have reached Step One yet, but could have a lot of jail time ahead of him to do so.