How can the media do better in its portrayal of addiction and recovery? Some celebrities set great examples and some don't—but how much should we care? How damaging is the glamorized image of the addicted "tortured artist"?
These are just a few of the questions we'll be addressing in our Twitter chat today (September 12), from 3-4 pm EST—co-hosted by our friends at Phoenix House. Taking part is easy: just log on to Twitter on the day and search for our new chat-specific hashtag—#popchat. Tweet your answers to the questions posed by @_TheFix and @PhoenixHouse—if you don't follow them yet, do it now!—and make sure to include #popchat in every tweet you send.
Our guests will include psychiatrist and author Dr. John Sharp (click on any of these names to follow them on Twitter), former White House drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet, Fox entertainment reporter Courtney Friel and sober coach Patty Powers of Relapse—as well as Phoenix House CEO Howard Meitiner and Fix contributors like Nic Sheff, Amy Dresner, Jeff Deeney and Jennifer Matesa. They'll be joined by many other experts, journalists and representatives of organizations like the Partnership at DrugFree.org and VisionsTeen. Your ever-faithful Fix staff—including Mike Guy, Anna David, Will Godfrey, Hunter Slaton, May Wilkerson and Joe Schrank—will be chipping in too. See you there!
Indonesia and Malaysia are uniting to end drug trafficking in Southeast Asia after holding talks on the region's growing problem. An agreement was signed yesterday to increase cooperation and intensify border patrol in an effort to combat the frequent drug trades that occur between the two countries, which have a combined population of around 370 million. “Indonesia has thousands of entry ways, be it legal ports or illegal, in the north, west, south and east. They are open for illegal culprits to enter Indonesia," says Indonesian National Police chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman. The bilateral talks mainly focused on strategic, tactical and operational aspects of drug-smuggling eradication. The nations plan to conduct joint operations, and to increase e-mails and calls between staffers on either side. The majority of the drugs to pass between the two countries, many of which are manufactured in the Netherlands, are shipped from Malaysia to Indonesia—so Indonesian officials have asked Malaysian authorities to step it up on this issue. In recent months, the Malaysian police narcotics team found 500,000 ecstasy pills of a new type known as "Yaba" waiting to be shipped to Indonesia, as well as as 25 kilograms of amphetamine to be shipped by sea.
- Tainted Moonshine Kills 8 in the Czech Republic [Reuters]
- Marijuana Dispensary Numbers in L.A. May be Much Lower than City Claims [LA Weekly]
- Two-Thirds of Indonesian Men Smoke, Tops in World [New York Daily News]
- Study Finds Massachusetts No. 1 in Illicit Drug Use [Examiner]
- U.S. Burger Chains Aim to Scoop Up Patrons with Boozy Milkshakes [Reuters]
- 'The Newsroom' Actress Alison Pill Wants Marijuana for Her Birthday [New York Magazine]
A Fix article features in the latest court document filed by Courtney Love's legal representatives. As we reported last month, one of the many cases Love faces is a libel suit launched by her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes, that makes allegations including malicious tweeting and the singer's inability to refrain from substance abuse. Love failed to show up for a scheduled deposition in New York on August 23. Later that day, Rhonda Holmes' lawyer, Frederic Gordon, told The Fix that Love's new attorney, Kenneth Freundlich, lied "under penalty of perjury" about the date that he'd submitted Love's objection to the deposition—an episode that Gordon described as "another significant episode of Courtney thinking she's above the law."
Freundlich showed just how unhappy he was about this claim in a document he filed for the case last week—which included our report as "Exhibit A." Freundlich states in the document: "On August 23, 2012, I received a call from a woman who identified herself as Internet reporter Carmela Kelly asking about the noticing of Love’s appearance, which was a private matter not in any public file." He continues, “I ascertained from Ms. Kelly that plaintiff’s counsel Frederic Gordon had called Ms. Kelly to 'update' her as to the minutiae progress of the matter. During this call, Mr. Gordon, whom I have never met, had the audacity to accuse me of committing perjury which was a totally baseless allegation and Ms. Kelly published that baseless allegation in her column. Attached as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of Ms. Kelly’s article which was spurred on by the phone call from Mr. Gordon.”
It didn't happen quite like that, says this reporter, who contacted Frederic Gordon (rather than the other way round) months earlier concerning another case against Love. Gordon got back in touch last month to ask if this reporter knew the identity of Love's new legal representation—which she did—as he had a deposition coming up. He then shared the information on the Holmes suit—but only when asked.
Freundlich's filing was made "Joining in and in support of third party witness Frances Bean Cobain's motion for a protective order," seeking to protect Bean—who was subpoenaed by the Holmes camp—from being called as a witness on the basis that she "does not have any relevant knowledge or documents to offer." Freundlich contends that Holmes' libel suit is intended "to harass Love and her family members into submission" by reporting the "tiniest details" of the case to the press, accusing Freundlich of perjury "without a whit of evidence," and "including privileged matter in the complaint...concerning Love's struggle with sobriety, which was sure to attract media attention in this case."
Mixing nostalgia for childhood with the thrill of drinking-on-the-go, or just plain laziness, may explain a new trend in which adults are buying pre-mixed cocktails in baggies that resemble children's juice boxes. Alcohol companies such as Smirnoff, Arbor Mist, and Parrot Bay have already marketed their own brands of portable cocktails in brightly-colored pouches—for those who find regular liquor bottles too cumbersome (not to mention stigmatizing) to carry around, as well as for those who find mixing drinks too onerous and time-consuming. And the pouches are selling like hot cakes—sales jumped 153% to $154 million in the year ending June 23, and convenience stores like Walgreens are increasingly jumping on the pouch-wagon. The companies' intention to make the product appeal to a younger demographic seems to have been successful. One young blogger raves: "there’s nothing stopping you from popping one in yourself (except maybe your date of birth, but hey, that’s what Bigs and RAs are for). So just grab a few, freeze them overnight and get yo’ illegal classroom-drank on the next day—all without ever using a blender or fake ID."
Rooster fights are a centuries-old tradition for the ranchers and farm workers in the small towns along the coast of Guerrero, Mexico. But in the past few years, the events have started to attract a more violent crowd, thanks to the feuding cartel members who routinely make appearances to bet large sums of drug money on the fights. “The narcos sometimes bet as much as 100,000 pesos on a fight,” says a man at the ringside barrier at a recent match. Residents in the towns frequently see mutilated or headless corpses lying in the streets with threatening notes left by hitmen. They have also become accustomed to cartel gunmen stopping and questioning them, especially if they have out-of-state license plates. And the death toll is rising; recently, in the Acapulco area, police found the bodies of two tortured young men, gunmen killed 15 people in a nearby town, a police officer was killed inside his house, another police officer was shot and a 15-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet—all in just one day. The Mexican government and military forces have been no match for the fighting between drug trafficking groups, so it mainly goes unchecked. For now, the violence at the actual rooster fights has remained largely inside the ring—but they serve as a grisly metaphor for the violence that surrounds.