The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is banning alcohol advertisements on all its property from July. The ban will cover Boston's T subway cars, trains and buses. Members of a substance abuse youth coalition recently presented petitions from over 300 Bay State residents seeking to ban alcohol advertising on state property to the transportation secretary—and the MBTA agreed to tow the line. In the meantime, a bill first introduced in 2009 is currently being proposed to ban alcohol advertising on all Massachusetts state property. "I am disappointed when I see alcohol advertisements on state property," says Giovanni Colon, a high schooler from the Allston-Brighton-based substance abuse youth coalition. "It's like Massachusetts wants young kids to start drinking... People would never dream of putting alcohol ads on yellow school buses, so why should they be allowed to put them on our school buses?" The MBTA already bans tobacco, firearms, violence and nudity from its billboards.
Best Actor nominee Brad Pitt—who's always been candid about his past love of “Mary Jane”—tells Hollywood Reporter that over a decade ago he struggled with "dark" thoughts and used marijuana to help cope with depression. “I got really sick of myself at the end of the 1990s: I was hiding out from the celebrity thing; I was smoking way too much dope; I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut; and I really got irritated with myself,” he recalls. “I got to: ‘What’s the point? I know better than this.’ ” The 48-year-old Moneyball star says he was figuring out who he was, and felt as though he was “majoring into depression.” After a trip to Casablanca, Morocco in the late '90s, Pitt decided he needed to make a change. “I saw poverty to an extreme I had never witnessed before...and the children were inflicted with a lot of deformities, and things that could have been avoided had become their sentence. It stuck with me.” He soon decided it was time to kick the pot: “I just quit. I stopped grass then—I mean, pretty much—and decided to get off the couch.” Pitt shared similar memories of his past with Parade magazine back in September: “I started to get sick of myself sitting on a couch, holding a joint, hiding out. It started feeling pathetic.” But the father of six now considers himself a “satisfied” man, and credits this to his love for Angelina Jolie and their children.
If you live in Australia, today's your big moment. It’s Australia Day, the official national holiday and the biggest civic event of the year. But after studying 10 years' worth of records, Australia’s Drug and Alcohol Office announced that Australia Day might as well be known as Alcohol Mayhem Day. On this day, ambulances are twice as busy as normal, ferrying intoxicated under-25s to the hospital. According to Neil Guard, executive director of the Drug and Alcohol Office, "January the 26th is one of the worst days of the year for alcohol related violence, for assaults and for injuries." Last year, the government began experimenting with alcohol-free zones for the public event, and it's doing that again today. The beleaguered Mr. Guard told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it's useful to remember that people can celebrate without drinking to excess. But it’s an uphill fight in a nation where binge drinking has long been tolerated—especially on Australia Day—and where the combination of booze and hot weather can make the problem worse. One factor working in sobriety’s favor this year: drenching rains down under, especially along the country’s heavily-populated East Coast. Brisbane’s festivities have been cancelled due to flood warnings.
- Zetas Now Mexico's "Largest Drug Gang" [BBC]
- Senate Passes Strict Trafficking Laws For Synthetic Drugs [The Tennessean]
- California School District Approves Drug Sniffing Dogs [Patch]
- New York Dr. Feelgood Loses Medical License [Fox News]
- Actor Armie Hammer Nabbed for Marijuana in Texas [AP]
- Half Of All Drug Dealers In UK Avoid Jail [The Telegraph]
A drug addict who funded her habit by using two kids under the age of seven to shoplift has been banned from every store in the city of Perth, Scotland as part of the terms of her bail. The only store she may now enter is the pharmacy where she picks up her methadone prescription. Jessie Hendry, 30, was seen removing security tags from DVDs at a store in July 2011 and giving them to the children to conceal. She also pleaded guilty to a theft two weeks ago, where she filled a suitcase with 49 items of adult and children’s clothing worth around $605. “You have had a considerable number of custodial sentences which don’t appear to be working," said Sheriff Marion McDonald in court. "I am going to give you one opportunity to try an alternative method.” Defense lawyer Cliff Culley told the court that Hendry wanted to address her addiction and that her drug worker had noted a change in attitude.
Members of Mitt Romney’s extended family in a Mormon colony in Mexico have reportedly been living in fear of the threat of violence from local drug gangs. Romney has 35 relatives in Mexico in a region controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel. His great-grandfather Park Romney—who had five wives—fled to Mexico in 1885 to avoid US anti-polygamy laws. The Mexican Romney clan has since lived peacefully as farmers and ranchers, but when Mitt stepped onto the national political stage, things began to change. Romney's anti-drug stance has apparently earned the animosity of Mexican cartels, and some his political advisers are said to be concerned that he may end up with “blood on his hands.” The candidate's cousin, 70-year-old Meredith Romney, was kidnapped in 2010 and held prisoner in a cave for three days before being ransomed. “I just figured my time was up—I later found out they’d kidnapped 18 people and killed 14 of them,” he said after his release. While the US has a longstanding anti-drug policy, sources suggest that Romney’s position will still be seen as provocative. One informant is quoted saying that Romney’s candidacy “will infuriate Lora,” referring to Joaquin Guzman Lora, known as El Chapo, who heads the Sinaloa Cartel and is one of the world’s most wanted men.