Here's something you won't see on America's Got Talent: 23-year-old Philly native Ray Woods was pulled over last weekend for a broken rear light and turned out to be in possession of no fewer than 89 small bags of heroin and cocaine—all tied to his penis. Cpl. Christopher Eiserman made the seemingly routine stop on Woods before discovering marijuana in the car. A further search of Woods revealed a "large bulge" in the front of his pants, before Eiserman discovered the even more impressive package. The situation became almost surreal when Woods began to urinate uncontrollably as Eiserman attempted to remove the drugs from the unit. "I've seen it down their pants, in their ass, but I've never seen it tied to their penis," said Eiserman in wonder. "I couldn't believe it. I guess they figure the police officers aren't going to check down in that area."
What sounds like every parents nightmare—your child's sitters are drug criminals!—has become a reality for one group of Bronx parents. On Wednesday, authorities charged six local residents with operating a national prescription drug ring and using a local day care center as a major distribution base. According to federal court complaints, the defendants have been distributing drugs including ecstasy, Percocet, Viagra, and Xanax to various locations across the nation since October 2011. Drug Enforcement Administration agents discovered approximately 122,000 pills at four Bronx locations, many of which were being stored at an area day care center. “As alleged, these six defendants operated a veritable pill mill,” says Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York. “The charged conduct was especially dangerous, as the defendants potentially victimized young children whose unsuspecting parents sent them to a day care center that allegedly doubled as a warehouse for thousands of their illegal pills.” A large quantity of pills were found in a closet just "several feet away" from the children's toys and furniture. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to violate the narcotics laws of the United States, and distribution and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.
Legalized heroin injection sites for Toronto and Ottawa are being recommended by a new study from St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto. The researchers say the sites would improve the health of people who use drugs by preventing HIV and Hepatitis C infections. Vancouver is currently home to the only legal safe injection site in North America, but the recommendations of the four-year study call for three sites in Toronto and two in Ottawa at undetermined locations. The findings could mean Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who was adamantly opposed to having one of the sites in Ontario last September, will be open to changing his mind. "When it comes to this kind of thing, we'll rely on the advice we get from our people like the chief medical officer of health, and if the police have advice that they wish to offer, we'll pay attention to that, too," he says. "I'll be open to the best advice available." However, while Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews thanked the researchers for the study, she said the government was still not endorsing the idea in Ontario and that "we have no plans to pursue supervised sites at this time." Ottawa and Toronto are home to half of Ontario's drug users. Ottawa has the highest HIV rate in the province and Toronto has the largest number of drug users.
Innocent jobseekers in Mexico may find themselves unknowingly drafted into the drug war—cartels have begun using the classifieds to advertise openings for house cleaners, cashiers, and security guards. After responding to the ads, the applicants are told to drive cars to the U.S. that are—unbeknownst to them—loaded with drugs. To counter this threat, the US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement has bought ad space in Mexican newspapers to warn potential applicants about the cartel's schemes. “Why don’t we do the same thing that (cartels are) doing? It’s successful for them. Why wouldn’t it be successful for us?” says Lester Hayes, a group supervisor for ICE in San Diego. Since February of 2011, there have been 39 arrests at San Diego's two border crossings—all connected to the Mexican classifieds. Authorities have unearthed 3,400 pounds of marijuana, 75 pounds of cocaine and 100 pounds of methamphetamine during these arrests. According to Hayes, drivers are usually paid $50 to $200 a driving trip—a much smaller sum than the $1,500 to $5,000 that seasoned smugglers are paid. The ads, placed by the ICE in Sunday papers, state in bold letters: “Warning! Drug traffickers are announcing jobs for drivers to go to the United States. Don’t fall victim to this trap.” Victor Clark, Director of Tijuana’s Binational Center for Human Rights, doesn’t believe the ads will do much good unless they specify how to gauge an ad's legitimacy. “It’s very difficult for someone who is unemployed to know whether it’s a trap,” he says. “I don’t think many people are inclined to investigate if they are desperate for work.”
- Pot Groups See Obama 2012 Flip-Flop on Medical Marijuana [US News & Report]
- Presidential Candidate wants to Lower Federal Drinking Age [Examiner]
- Date Set for Prescription Drug Take-Back Day [Fox 10]
- Alcohol Poisoning: What You Need to Know [Rotunda]
- In Vino Veritas: Should You Get Drunk With Your Business Partners? [Forbes]
- Swedish Sex Addict Seeks Help, Molests Therapist [The Local]
- Whitney Houston's Daughter Caught Smoking Pot on Camera [New York Post]
Many doctors and pharmacists in various states still aren't signing up for White House-backed prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The programs use databases to detect addicts who obtain multiple prescriptions and doctors who issue illicit quantities of controlled substances. “The problem for years in the western part of the United States has been chain dispensers," Larry Pinson, pharmacist and executive secretary of the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, tells The Fix. "It's not as big a problem on the east coast historically where there are fewer chains." Some say it isn’t pharmacists’ job to police prescriptions, but Pinson argues, “Once it’s off the shelf it’s off the shelf.” Nevada's PDMP, established in 1997, is one of the oldest, but despite pharmacists’ potential to save lives or take criminals off the street, only 14% of dispensers and 21% of licensed prescribers participate.
As Pinson suggests, some of the biggest drug store chains refuse PDMP access. “Anything you can do to put pressure on this is a good thing,” Virginia Herald, executive officer of the California State Board of Pharmacy, tells us. “We want pharmacists to have access. We strongly encourage the program.” Rite Aid spokesman Erik Harkreader says that 21 of 31 states they cover have pharmacist participation, depending on state legislation. Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger says, “We’ve had the program available within the chain for several years.” CVS refuses to allow its pharmacists access, as The Fix previously reported.
Dean Wright, the director of Arizona's PDMP, also faces low participation in his state, at only 13.3% of pharmacists and 15.5% of prescribers. “It’s anywhere in the country, not just us," he says. "Unless you pass a law you can’t force them to participate." But he does spy some hope: "I’ve heard that some practitioners are now receiving letters from insurance companies wanting them to use it," he tells us. "The letters say if there’s an incident, and using the system could have prevented it, then they won’t cover the practitioner. That should get their attention.”
In California, the state where Brittany Murphy and Whitney Houston died with prescription drug involvement, PDMP participation is lower still, at less than 4% of 40,000 licensed druggists. Eddie Bubar, however, uses it daily to “avert potential problems.” He’s the pharmacist who had a bad feeling about Murphy’s drug use prior to her death and cut her off. “It wasn’t going to be on my conscience,” he tells us, although he can’t remember if he had access to the database in Murphy’s case. Bubar finds California’s PDMP useful: “There could very well be three to five doctors issuing prescriptions. We use the program to see multiple pharmacies and prescriptions. If we find something out we let the doctors know.”