A British court has banned a man whose puppy got drunk on vodka and coke from keeping dogs for three years. Matthew Cox, 26, was drinking with his roommate back in August. He left his drink on the floor when he went out for a smoke and his six-month-old Labrador, Max, drank the lot. But rather than take the animal to a vet, the owner—also drunk—left it at home and went out to DJ. Max was later spotted reeling and falling to the ground outside some shops near Cox's home in Nottingham. Concerned cops took rushed the dog to a vet, where he was placed on a drip for at least eight hours—followed by another 12 hours the next day—to flush out all the booze. Cox admitted failing to ensure an animal's welfare. Magistrate J.A. Smith called his actions "not malicious," but "downright stupid." Drunken dogs also hit the UK headlines back in October, when a court spared the life of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that mauled a 10-year-old boy, because the animal had been given alcohol. Max has now been found a new home.
A North Carolina woman, who last September was convicted of killing and dismembering her disabled 10-year old stepdaughter, pleaded guilty to an additional federal drug charge today. Elisa Baker's stepdaughter Zahra Baker—a cancer survivor originally from Australia—was found dismembered in Caldwell County in 2010. The 43-year-old was later charged with helping to distribute as many as 50,000 prescription pain and anxiety pills between 2006 and 2010, including 22,000 doses of OxyContin and hydrocodone and 29,000 doses of Alprazolam. In return for her entering a guilty plea for conspiracy to sell drugs, prosecutors agreed to drop six other related charges. No sentencing date has been set, but Baker faces up to 20 years in prison and a million dollar fine, in addition to her existing 18-year sentence for the murder of her stepdaughter.
Santa Barbara doctor Julio Gabriel Diaz was arrested yesterday morning on drug trafficking charges for supplying several of his patients with unlimited access to prescription drugs, leading to to several deaths. In an affidavit presented by the prosecution, many of Dr. Diaz’s prescriptions are connected to a series of fatal overdoses in California: one man was apparently prescribed 2,087 pills by the doctor within a six-week period prior to his death. Prosecutors will seek to prove that several of Diaz’s patients were illicitly selling their prescriptions on the black market. OxyContin, Norco and Vicodin—all commonly abused drugs—were some of the main substances prescribed by the doctor. Diaz is scheduled to appear in Santa Ana federal court this afternoon.
Many of us may not take expiration dates on pill bottles too seriously. But experts warn against taking expired drugs. The reason is simple: the Food and Drug Administration and the drug companies really don't know what happens to outdated medications. “The drug could retain its potency,” says FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess. “The drug could degrade into nontoxic impurities, giving rise to an ineffective product, or the drug could degrade into toxic impurities.” So pretty much anything at all, then. An FDA study in 2006 showed that 88% of drugs had a “one year beyond their original expiration date” shelf life—if stored properly. However by the time drugs get into your hands, they've often weathered some challenging environments. “Medication that the average person buys can go through many hands from the time it is shipped from the manufacturer until it reaches the end-user,” says Desmond Hunt, a senior scientific liaison for the US Pharmacopeia. “During each handoff and during the transportation process, there is a potential for a drug product to be stored outside its labeled temperature requirements. It could sit on the tarmac in humidity, for example, or sit out in the rain.” Because of this, the FDA doesn't recommend swallowing even recently-expired medication.
The Hamptons may be awash in glitzy decadence, but until recently they were notably free of ritzy rehabs. That's about to change. Just under a year ago, businessman and recovering addict Joe McKinsey opened an opulent mansion called The Dunes in East Hampton. Spread out over four lush acres, The Dunes bills itself as "the very first luxury rehab center in the Northeast," offering a pool, jacuzzi, personal trainers, Tibetan meditation, a tennis court and "exquisite cuisine" to "affluent, private-pay patients." A month costs $45,000. Soon after, Passages—Chris Prentiss's controversial, non-12 Step "cure center"—announced that it would be opening up an Eastern branch of its $85,000 a month rehab in Long Island "later this year." One more and it'll be a trend. And why not? Malibu, another coastal center of affluence, is home to no fewer than 36 facilities, cleaning up addicts in varying degrees of luxury. In fact, so many sober livings have opened up in Malibu over the past decade that authorities declared a moratorium on any new ones, partly because of complaints from neighbors worried about the impact of "transient" populations. Will the Hamptons' notoriously territorial socialites offer similar resistance?
In an effort to avoid a life sentence in prison, former drug king Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and money laundering charges in a San Diego federal court yesterday. Arellano Felix—ex-leader of Mexico's Tijuana drug cartel—was initially arrested in Mexico back in 2002 after 16 years of transforming Tijuana into a major trafficking gateway into the US. In his plea agreement, he admitted responsibility for smuggling tons of cocaine as well as marijuana into California, and making millions of dollars to fuel a criminal empire. "Arellano Felix led the most violent criminal organization in this part of the world for two decades," US Attorney Laura Duffy says. "Today's guilty plea marks the end of his reign of murder, mayhem and corruption, and his historic admission of guilt sends a clear message to the Mexican cartel leaders operating today: the United States will spare no effort to investigate, extradite, and prosecute you for your criminal activities." Arellano Felix was extradited from Mexico in April 2011, and under federal agreement can be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.