- Pot-Based Prescriptions Go To FDA [Fox News]
- Americans Continue To Frequent Bars Despite Sluggish Economy [TMRZoo]
- More Clues In iPad Meth Murder [Bend Bulletin]
- Man Sentenced For Injecting 3-Year Old Girl With heroin [Worcester Telegram]
- In Some Areas Revised Bath Salts Continue To Pose Threat [Coshoctontribune]
- Scotland The Fake Cocaine Capital Of The World [Herald Scotland]
The US government will soon stop fighting the War on Drugs directly in South and Central America. The US Department of Defense has transferred its efforts in those regions to Academi, a private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater. The BBC reports that the multi-million dollar deal will go towards “providing advice, training and conducting operations in drug producing countries and those with links to so-called ‘narco-terrorism,’ including Latin America.” With the Pentagon's hands bound by the US constitution, this deal will put enforcement in the hands of less regulated outfit. “They surreptitiously want to reduce anti-drug budget by transferring it to private agencies. The drug war is unpopular and has no political weight except in an election year like this, so the Department of Defense wants to remove that spending from their accounts,” says Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Blackwater was also directly involved in the most recent war on Iraq, receiving bitter criticism for the executions of innocent civilians by contract employees throughout the Middle East. A report last June showed that the US government spent over $3 billion to pay US contractors battling the drug trade in Latin America in the last five years.
With cruise ship safety in the spotlight, partying passengers' booze consumption is causing concern. Many holiday sailors think they leave their responsibilities behind along with the land—giving rise to the term "cruise ship drunk"—and drunken brawls frequently break out on board. ABC's 20/20 is featuring the problem tonight. “Passengers get extremely intoxicated on cruise ships in open waters,” maritime safety and security consultant Randall Jacques tells 20/20. The dance floor fight below, filmed on a passenger's cell phone, took place on "Dream," a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, in 2010, and involves wasted revelers, scantily-clad dancers and uniformed security guards piling in. Ten of the participants were ejected from the cruise in Mexico.
Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter was charged yesterday with violating the terms of his house arrest, testing positive twice for cocaine and refusing to provide urine samples on several occasions. He is now guaranteed to serve some prison time for a 1997 probation violation in Indiana on forgery and theft convictions. The house arrest stems from a guilty plea last October to a million-dollar ticket scam. Schlichter accepted money from people for tickets to various college and pro basketball and football games, but authorities say he never had the tickets he promised and used the money to gamble and pay off debts. More than 50 people were duped, losing between $1 million and $2.5 million. The plea agreement called for him to serve about 10 years behind bars, subject to a judge’s approval. Schlichter is now attending court-ordered gambling addiction counseling and AA meetings. He played for the Indianapolis Colts from 1982-1985, but was ultimately released due to his gambling problem.
Etta James, the legendary African-American soul, blues, gospel and R&B singer—and a recovering heroin addict who in 1988 checked into Betty Ford—has died aged 73 in Riverside, California, from leukemia complications. The multiple-Grammy-winning artist was most famous for her much-covered 1960 hit "At Last" [below]. As she related in her 1995 memoir, Rage to Survive, James struggled mightily with various addictions—most vexingly, overeating. "It's taken me most of my life to come to terms with the white powder addictions—heroin and cocaine," she wrote. "For years now, I've also put down other habits, like cigarettes and booze. But food...started earliest and lasted longest. For me, food is the killer." James was born in LA on January 25, 1938, to a 14-year-old mother, and an absentee, mystery father. She was later taken in and raised by Lula and Jesse Rogers, whom James described as "a good man who liked his liquor." James wrote: "He'd get drunk and disappear. At one point he went away for a long time, came home, and never drank again."
Janusz Palikot—the leader of a new party in Poland, "Palikot's Movement," which seeks to decriminalize "soft" drugs—publicly threatened to spark a joint in parliament, to protest opposition to his draft proposal for reform. “We’re trying to get into room 143 to burn some grass,” he told reporters. But at the last minute, heeding stern warnings from Parliamentary Speaker Ewa Kopacz, 47-year-old Palikot chickened out, and burned incense containing a tiny amount of marijuana instead. Palikot is a maverick businessman whose previous interests include a vodka company; his self-named party won 10% of the vote in Poland's October elections. Prosecutors have opened an investigation against him, seeking criminal charges for “promoting or advertising” drugs, with a possible one-year sentence.