- Czechs Announce Alcohol Reform [Fox Business]
- Marijuana Legalization Could be Tax Windfall For Cash-Strapped States [StarTribune]
- How Colombia's Biggest Drug Lord was Captured [CNN]
- Could 'Miracle Drug' Be Answer to Fight Heroin Addiction? [Philadelphia Daily News]
- Painkillers May Cause Millions of Headaches [BBC News]
- Marijuana Candy on Bus Leads to Four Arrests [Independent Record]
- Santa Quits Smoking in New Canadian 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Book [National Post]
Legendary rocker Neil Young is off the sauce—and the green—according to a lengthy profile in the New York Times Magazine. The story is pegged to the release of the cantankerous Canadian’s new autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, which hits bookshelves next week. In fact, the book itself provided the impetus for getting clean, which Young decided to do “after talking with his doctor about a brain that had endured many youthful pharmaceutical adventures.” He also was just looking for a change, telling Times writer David Carr, “I did [drugs and alcohol] for 40 years. Now I want to see what it’s like to not do it.” But it’s not been all sunshine and lemonade (Young’s current tipple of choice) since he put the plug in the bottle and the pipe on the shelf. As he notes in his autobiography, living life unaltered hasn't been easy—perhaps making a case for the value of using drugs and alcohol to modify one’s perspective. Young writes, “The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognize myself."
US prisoners are subject to random urinalysis at any moment. This fact—and the necessity of spending tax dollars to test incarcerated individuals—is a pretty clear indicator of the futility of the War on Drugs. Prisoners aren't only taking drugs on the inside, and being given urine tests as a result—they're also regularly beating those tests. "It's not difficult," one prisoner tells The Fix. "There's several different ways, some easier than others. You can try to get off a couple of pisses before you give your sample," he claims, "so that you piss clear. With clear piss no drugs will register." Prisoners who take drugs and are on the hot list know to keep drinking large quantities of water. When they're called to urinate, they do so with much greater confidence, because they're giving a watered-down sample. "Also you can put Ajax or some other cleanser on your fingers and piss on them to dilute your piss when you piss in the cup," the prisoner says. "If you really want to get technical and make sure you beat the test you can carry someone else's piss in a Visine bottle and squirt it into the testing cup. You have to be careful though because the COs are watching. But most of them don't really give a fuck. They are just punching the clock and trying to get a paycheck. Why do you think there are so many drugs in prison?"
Among a couple of other gifts to the world, technology offers those for whom the phrase "drug education" is synonymous with "scare tactics" a powerful new weapon: the infographic. And eDrugRehab™—tagline: "Objective Information About Addiction and Its Treatment"—is currently publicizing a corker about bath salts. "Known to most as the 'zombie drug...'" begins the bold-colored, highly-capitalized material—presumably referring to the famous "face-eating zombie" incident of May this year, which was widely blamed (incorrectly as it turned out) on bath salts. "NOT ACTUALLY FOR USE IN BATHS," we're then informed, "BATH SALTS ARE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE SYNTHETIC CATHINONES" that are "Considered 200x more potent than Ritalin." Next comes a list of ingestion methods—snorting, eating, injecting, smoking, rectally, vaginally—with a handy graphic of each one. The "PROFILE OF A BATH SALT USER" section informs us that "MOST ARE EXPERIENCED DRUG ABUSERS" and that "MANY WILL GO ON BINGES LASTING UP TO 4 DAYS" (accompanied by four cloudy-day weather symbols).
The infographic then goes for the kill under the ominous title, "SLIPPING OUT OF REALITY / WHEN A HIGH TAKES A WRONG TURN." It tells the story of 21-year-old Dickie Sanders: "Experiencing extreme paranoia and vivid hallucinations, Sanders slit his own throat in front of both his father and sister"—"Surviving this, his terrors continued through the next day, when he eventually shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle." Another graphic is required at this point:
Its job almost done, the infographic concludes with an illustrated list of "SYMPTOMS OF A DANGEROUS HIGH," such as:
There's little doubt that use of the chemical compounds known as bath salts can be dangerous, and is responsible for some tragedies—6,138 calls to US poison centers in 2011, as the infographic notes, testify to a problem. But there may be more effective, less patronizing ways to dissuade potential users than a scaremongering tone that's strongly reminiscent of this episode of the British satirical show Brass Eye:
Is Lindsay Lohan jealous of all the attention Amanda Bynes has been receiving lately? Having tweeted her resentment at Bynes' light punishment for her own drug and driving transgressions, LiLo has allegedly moved to reclaim the limelight. She was arrested yet again at 2:30 am this morning—this time for hitting a pedestrian with her car outside a Manhattan hotel. The police say they don't believe she was intoxicated (no breathalyzer test was performed), but witnesses suggest otherwise: "She was slurring," says cook Jose Rodriguez, the alleged victim. “She smelled like alcohol real bad." Cops say the actress was "going very slow" and maneuvering around crowds of people in her Porsche when she clipped Rodriguez. "They drove off, like it didn't matter," Rodriguez says. “They acted like I was nothing, that no one could touch her because she was rich and powerful.” He was hospitalized but released with no visible injuries, and Lohan was later booked for leaving the scene of the accident. Here's where it gets a little complicated though: detectives have reviewed surveillance footage from a nearby hotel, and sources suggest that Rodriguez might be exaggerating. Lohan is telling friends that she had no idea that she hit someone and claiming that this is all a set up, according to TMZ. Your move, Bynes.
A Texas woman is suing Carnival Cruise Lines over the alcohol-related death of her husband and the company's claims that he committed suicide—saying that he wasn't suicidal, but was "conditioned" by the cruise ship to keep drinking well after he should have stopped. In her lawsuit, Michele Markham says her husband Clint Markham drank unlimited cocktails from 10:30 to 3:30 pm on the day of his death, and then two Everclear-based drinks between 4 pm and 6 pm, ignoring her requests to slow down. At around 6:30 pm, he left their room to continue drinking and, while perched up against a railing, plunged face-first into the water. There was allegedly "no immediate response from the ship," 911 calls from other passengers didn't get through to the bridge and it took 20 minutes for a rescue boat to be sent out. Clint Markham's body was never recovered. The lawsuit claims that "even though he had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, Clint Markham had been conditioned by [Carnival] to keep partying, and to take it to the limit and beyond." Markham also alleges that Carnival called Clint's mother—also a plaintiff on the suit—to tell her that her son had killed himself and reported the same to the media. She said that her husband had no history of depression or suicidal tendencies and that no suicide note was found on the ship. A spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines declined to comment on the pending litigation. The company has recently been testing out a $50 all-you-can drink package on one of its ships.