Recovering addicts in Albany County, New York, have been specifically targeted by drug dealers, it seems. Four suspects were arrested for selling drugs to recovering addicts who were receiving treatment at the Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services Center. "They threw them the bait and some bit," says Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. "It's unfortunate. These people are trying to turn their lives around." Those arrested were said to be selling heroin, Xanax and methadone pills—and one suspect was even seen selling heroin while holding her two-month-old baby. This isn’t the first time drug dealers have taken advantage of addicts in recovery: back in 2010, undercover agents arrested three men in Arizona who were selling cocaine and heroin to addicts fresh out of treatment programs. The drug dealers would seek out users who had gone through rehab, and try and sell them drugs the same day that they exited treatment. "These people are going down there and taking advantage of the addicts—and they're addicts themselves," said Apple of the latest incident. "It's a horrible cycle."
- Marijuana May Ease Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms [Reuters]
- Britain Bedeviled by Binge Drinking Increase [USA Today]
- Yale Researchers Developing "Stay-Sober" Pill [CBS Local]
- Are We Teaching Our Kids to Binge Drink? [Huffington Post]
- Ted Williams: I’ve Been Sober a Year, "One Day at a Time" [MSNBC]
Slavery may be considered consigned to America's past, but a recent report suggests that several farms in the South are forcing addicts to work for free to fuel their drug habits. The details of the alleged underground labor trafficking came to light when LeRoy Smith—a former worker at Bulls-Hit Ranch and Farm in Hastings, Florida—filed a lawsuit claiming he was lured into working there by contractors who took advantage of his crack addiction. Smith says he experienced: "Slavery. Abuse. Overwork. Deplorable, unsanitary conditions. Drugs." He claims workers—often recruited from local homeless shelters—were given drugs, alcohol and prostitutes on credit rates of 100%, and money was taken from their wages to pay for living expenses. Due to the excessive amounts of debt accumulated, workers couldn't leave and lived in fear of their employers. "They'd intimidate people. If you owed them money, then one guy'd say, 'You owe me money. You can't leave.' He'd threaten you,' says Bennie Cooks, another former Bulls-Hit employee. The farm's labor contractor, Ronald Uzzle, denies the allegations, saying that he does not keep workers in debt and that they are free to leave whenever they want. "There's no drugs sold on this camp," he says. "I'm not going to tell you people don't do drugs, but if people want to do drugs, they do it. I can't stop them." Florida authorities have reportedly failed to stop the practice—despite the fact that Bulls-Hit was sued back in 2004 for similar labor law violations. Workers' advocates believe that between five and 10 other ranching families in Florida use similar practices.
Actress Kelly Preston gave up her excessive use of alcohol and drugs after the birth of her baby son, she disclosed on Lifetime's The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet. In the interview, the 49-year-old wife of John Travolta says she is "so much wiser" since giving birth in November 2010 and subsequently getting clean. "I'm so different, too. Now I don't drink anymore. I don't smoke anymore. I don't do drugs anymore," she says. "All of those come with an 'anymore.' I used to do everything and a lot of everything." Preston, who was once engaged to Charlie Sheen, explains, "with drinking, I just decided that I wasn't always at my best. There were times where I drank too much, for sure" and when she was drinking, she describes "not being myself with my kids, or just with my life 100 percent of the time." She and Travolta, 58, have been married since 1991 and also have a 12-year-old daughter; their son, Jett, died of a seizure in 2009. "Our kids are the center of our universe," she says, and she credits them—and a desire to be more present in their lives— with helping motivate her to get sober. "For me, I find that our kids came in half the time to teach me about myself and to help me with others, and they have helped me so extraordinarily."
A British woman suffering from body dysmorphic disorder nearly lost her life because she became hooked to lip filler. Lauren Smalley, now 30, "began to hate the way I looked” from the age of 12, she tells The Sun. She was first prescribed medication for body dysmorphic disorder when she was 15. But driven by her condition to change her appearance, she began making regular visits to Harley Street—the traditional home of expensive private doctors in London—and became "addicted" to monthly lip-filler injections of Perlane and Restylane, costing up to $480 a time. In order to save money and reduce the frequency of her trips to the doctor, Smalley began looking for a permanent filler and discovered Bio-Alcamid. But she developed small tumors called granulomas in her face after using it, and a subsequent infection on top of that meant the filler had to be surgically removed. The painful and costly reconstruction she now needs will take years. “Bio-Alcamid has left me dreadfully scarred and I feel deformed now," she says. "I’d like to tell anyone who is considering using lip fillers to be careful.”
With a population of just over 1.5 million, the African nation of Guinea Bissau is known as one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world. It's also becoming a crucial hub for South American drug traffickers, with an estimated few hundred million dollars-worth being transported from South America to Europe through the country each year. A close proximity to Brazil—just a quick four-hour flight—makes it an ideal location; plus, there are dozens of unpopulated islands for drug-bearing planes to land, and an absence of Western police agencies. And even if a shipment is detected, police intervention is nonexistent because the country’s military is apparently deeply involved in the drug trade. “All the problems in Guinea Bissau are because of drug trafficking,” says Lucinda Gomes Barbosa, the former head of the country’s anti-narcotic police, who resigned last year. “There are people in high positions in government who are benefiting from this. They only think about money. They fight each other so that the drug trafficking can continue and they don’t think about the problems that it creates in the country.” Barbosa adds that she unsuccessfully tried to arrest drug traffickers on three occasions in 2008 and that the few high-ranking officials who have fought corruption are often threatened. The drug trade in Guinea Bissau is relatively new; less than one ton of cocaine was seized per year on average prior to 2005. But the UN estimates that 25% of Europe’s cocaine came via West Africa in 2007.