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Mexican drug war

10/11/12 5:18pm

Mexico "Allows Torture of Drug Suspects"

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All's fair in drugs and war? Photo via

Amnesty International claims that Mexican police and military, under relentless pressure to take down the country's drug cartels, have increasingly turned to torture and abuse in recent years—and that the government is turning a blind eye. The human rights organization's latest report states that Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received 1,661 complaints of torture and abuse by police and military last year, up from 564 complaints in 2008. Many more incidents are thought to have gone undocumented, with many victims too afraid to come forward. President Felipe Calderon's administration has given torturers "almost total impunity," the report claims, and continues to allow coerced confessions to be used as evidence in court. While Calderon acknowledges that abuses have occurred in the past, he claims his government has sought to prosecute torturers. Amnesty's proposal for Mexico calls for disallowing evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings; a ban on the military carrying out police functions; and an end to the practice known as "arraigo"—in which those suspected of serious crimes can be detained for up to 80 days without charge. But some citizens seem to welcome the abuse of alleged drug suspects. Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana, claims that when people see suspects on TV with visible bruises from police beatings, their response is often, "How great that they beat them up. They deserved it."

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By McCarton Ackerman

celebrity rehab

10/11/12 4:26pm

Jenny McCarthy Kicked Vicodin

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McCarthy's "anti-drug" message. Photo via

The latest Hollywood voice to chime in with a confession of a drug addiction from times-gone-by is model and actress Jenny McCarthy. In her upcoming autobiography, Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic, McCarthy says she once got hooked on Vicodin—taking up to 10 pills a day. "Trying to come off of it was awful. The detox was crazy bad," says McCarthy, although she opted not to go to rehab and detoxed on her own. "You just get off of them, sweating and freezing." The former "playmate" was apparently not the only of the ladies at the Playboy mansion to entertain a desire for drugs. "Holding up drugs in front of a group of Playmates was like holding up an arm to a cannibal tribe," she writes, recalling a time they were given Ecstasy tablets after a photo shoot. "We jumped on the box fighting to get as many little white capsules as possible. Instead of saving some for later, we all pounded at least five at once." In an interview with Access Hollywood, McCarthy claims this chapter is an "anti-drug chapter," because the consequences of the ecstasy binge resulted in—among other things—a sexual tryst with a tree.

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By Jennifer Blue

synthetic drugs

10/11/12 3:31pm

Is "Annihilation" Upon Us?

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"Not for human consumption." Photo via

It's like a game of whack-a-mole: every time the law cracks down on one synthetic drug, street chemists seem to bounce back with a new strain. The latest of these "legal highs," known as "Annihilation," has been banned in the UK after landing nine people in the hospital there in the last three months. "This is a catch-up exercise. It is an example of how fast-moving this field is," says Professor Les Iversen, the chairman of the British government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). "In three years' time we shall need to do something similar again." Authorities claim this "particularly potent" new synthetic cannabinoid, which imitates the effects of marijuana, can induce a range of horrors, including: paranoia, aggression, increased heart rate, unconsciousness, self-harming and numbness of the legs that causes users to fall down. Some researchers disagree, saying the stuff is weak at normal doses; however, since the drug causes such a slight buzz at first, users may be at a heightened risk of accidental overdose. Like other "designer" drugs like "bath salts," "spice" and "smiles"—all of which have been banned in the US—Annihilation's hazardousness relates to its unpredictability. Treatment expert Dr. Harris Straytener has cautioned that consuming such untested, unregulated compounds not authorized for human consumption is "like playing Russian roulette," likening it to ingesting "arsenic or rat poison."

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By Bryan Le

Drunk Drivers

10/11/12 2:08pm

A Drunk Dude Finds His Car—Two Years Later

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Dude, THERE's my car! Photo via

It's a tale two years in the making: a man and his car have been reunited against all odds. A then-33-year-old craftsman woke up back in December 2010 with a bad case of parking amnesia—likely incurred as a result of some hardcore partying in Munich, Germany, the night before. After an unsuccessful search of the town and his own mind for a trace of his wheels, he finally gave up and reported the vehicle missing. Two years later, the man's luck shifted gears when a traffic warden, noticing a vehicle with expired inspection stickers, found the lost car—2.5 miles from where the craftsman thought he parked it. "The weird thing is that it turned up so far away, although the owner was pretty sure of where he had left it," says police spokesman Alexander Lorenz. In addition to his ride, the craftsman has recovered 40,000 euros ($51,600 USD) worth of tools, which had been stashed in the trunk.

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By Bryan Le

Jane Says

10/11/12 1:01pm

Why Addiction Should Be the Debate

Reader's Question: Do you agree that our presidential candidates should talk more (or, at all!) about addiction and drug policy, given how important it is?

[Jane is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like. Send your questions to janevelezmitchell@thefix.com.]

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By Jane Velez-Mitchell

forced Rehab

10/11/12 12:07pm

Vietnam Frees Sex Workers From Rehab

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Vietnamese workers at a "grooming salon."
Photo via

About 900 sex workers will be free to return to their homes in July 2013 after having been forced into compulsory rehab under Vietnamese law. "This is a big change of view on how to deal with prostitution," says Le Duc Hien, deputy head of the government's department for social vices prevention. "However, it does not mean we officially recognize prostitution.” Compulsory rehab was initially intended to help crack down on prostitution in a country that is home to an estimated 30,000 sex workers. Back in July the books were changed so that those nabbed by authorities would no longer be funneled into drug rehabs, but instead slapped with a fine of 5 million dong ($240 USD). And now, the country is getting around to freeing the hundreds of individuals they had been keeping in lockdown. No word yet on whether these newly-liberated sex workers ever staged a kitchen knife-driven breakout to escape beatings and slave labor like their drug-addict counterparts—for whom compulsory rehab will remain standard.

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By Bryan Le

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