Crack can do strange things to your judgement. Suzanne Basham, a 47-year-old Missouri crack user, went in search of some rocks Tuesday for an early morning pick-me-up. But shortly after she thought she scored $40 worth of sizzle, she discovered she'd in fact purchased crystallized sugar. Apparently you just can't trust crack dealers these days. Basham was so outraged that she called 911 to report the swindle. The cops arrived and interviewed the alleged sugar-seller, but he denied dealing drugs and turned them away—with no warrant, they were unable to enter his home. The police then turned their attention to the aggrieved Ms. Basham. They searched her, recovered a crack pipe and issued a citation for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. In the crazed world of crack use, this escapade perhaps seems less bizarre than it does to us.
Heather Locklear has been hospitalized after taking a dangerous combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. The Ventura Country sheriff’s department and paramedics responded to a 911 call Thursday afternoon from Locker’s sister. Paramedics examined the 50-year-old actress and rushed her to hospital. It's not the first time Locklear has been in the spotlight for her struggles with prescription drugs. Back in 2008, her doctor called 911 after becoming concerned that Heather might try to commit suicide by overdosing on her meds. That turned out to be a false alarm. In 2010, Locklear spent 30 days in rehab in an attempt to deal with anxiety, depression and a prescription drug problem. She recently called off her engagement to Jack Wagner and was seen in apparently good spirits at a Los Angeles Lakers game Tuesday night.
- Michigan Court Hears Case Clarifying MMJ Laws [The Republic]
- Black Tar Dope Making Epic Comeback Carolinas [The Herald Weekly]
- Ecstasy Mixed With Meth Kills Five [CBC News]
- Heroin Filled Burrito Gets Prison Guard Pinched [LA Times]
- Sports Agent Who Inspired Jerry Maguire Blames Bankruptcy On Rehab [CBS]
A newly-released report estimates that total "farm gate" revenue from opium—what people who grow the crop actually make—rose an astonishing 133% in Afghanistan in 2011. This is because both the total quantity of poppies cultivated and the price of opium have risen. Although poppy eradication was up a seemingly impressive 65%—eliminating 3,810 hectares compared to 2010's 2,316 ha—this made only a slight dent on total net cultivation, which rose from 123,000 to 131,000 ha. Meanwhile, the estimated average farm-gate price of dry opium climbed 43%, from $169 to $241 per kilo, with per hectare gross income reaching $70,000, the highest since 2003. This is surprising. Opium prices surged in 2010, due to plant disease causing a scarcity of supply, but they weren't expected to keep rising so fast. And, if any further incentive were needed for Afghan farmers to cultivate lucrative poppies, prices for wheat, the main alternative crop, fell; net opium income per hectare is now eight times that of wheat. The report was produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Afghanistan Ministry of Counter Narcotics. Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's opium. 2011's figures will throw greater emphasis on counter narcotics measures, and on efforts to find alternative livelihoods for opium farmers.
A new study claims that those suffering from internet addiction disorder (IAD) have abnormal white matter structure in the brain similar to that observed in those suffering from cocaine or crystal meth addiction. The study—led by Hao Lei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, and published in the journal PLoS One—reports that the altered brain matter led those with IAD to exhibit more limited emotional processing, poor decision making and compulsive-repetitive behaviors. The researchers hope that their findings can lead to a possible treatment. “Recent studies have shown that physical or pharmacological treatments may improve white matter integrity,” they write in the report. However, the study also acknowledged limitations, including a small sample size and self-reported IAD diagnoses. Internet addiction—alongside other compulsive addictions such as gambling—is being considered for addition to the 2013 edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders.
The tables could turn in the drunk driving case against the president’s uncle, Onyango Obama, who was arrested last August for running a stop sign in Massachusetts, almost colliding with a squad car, and blowing a 0.14 BAC on a breathalyzer. In a bizarre turn of events, Obama’s defense attorneys—hired by the president on behalf of his uncle—are reviewing the driving records of the arresting officer; they're looking for circumstantial evidence that he may have been to blame for the near collision. Officer Val Krishtal claims Onyango Obama was at fault for not coming to a complete stop at a sign, and for being drunk. Obama's attorney, P. Scott Bratton, holds that his client was compliant and had committed no traffic violations—and therefore shouldn't have been pulled over. PO Krishtal was involved in a major collision in March, in which his cruiser was totaled—evidence which will submitted by Obama’s team. “We want to review the record to see if there is a pattern of conduct of bad driving behavior on the part of the arresting officer,” says Bratton. A judge will hear arguments for the case on March 1.