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10/26/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: October 26, 2012


Bobbi Kristina's family is worried. Photo via

By Bryan Le

celebrity addicts

10/25/12 5:18pm

Ronnie Wood Used Cocaine Suppositories


Drugs? These two? Nuh-uh! Photo via

Former Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood would once go to any lengths to get high, according to Rod Stewart, who was in The Faces, along with Wood, from 1969-1975. During that time, Wood's cocaine use had done so much damage to his nose that he sought out an alternate point of entry for the drug, says his former bandmate. "We'd put it a little pill, like a French do, and put it in a suppository. We did that for a little while," recalls Stewart. Wood has bounced in and out of rehab numerous times throughout his life and is open about being a recovering drug addict and alcoholic: he detailed his addictions in his 2007 memoir, Ronnie. The guitarist, who says he's been clean and sober ever since his most recent rehab stint in 2010, is looking forward to playing his first drug-free shows in years when the Stones perform for their 50th anniversary later this year. Staying sober on the road should be a little easier now; Wood reveals in Rolling Stone that fellow bandmate Keith Richards has cut back on his boozing. "Keith is a pleasure to play with now. It was a pain on the last tour, toward the end, because he was really going for it on the drinking and denial," he says. "Now he's realized that he has gotta look after himself. I'm not going to preach to him. I will step in if I see any danger."

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By McCarton Ackerman

drug war

10/25/12 4:11pm

US Spending Isn't Winning the War on Drugs


Green line: money. Blue line: US drug use.
Photo via

Despite total federal spending of approximately $545 billion to stop drugs in their tracks, the rate of US drug use has changed relatively little over the past 40 years, according to a chart crafted by documentarian Matt Groff. Using data pulled from the Census and the government's National Drug Control Surveys, Groff finds that while anti-drug spending has increased massively since Richard Nixon declared a "War on Drugs" in the early '70s, it's made relatively little impact on the proportion of Americans using illicit drugs. In the '70s, the government was spending less than $1,000 per 100 citizens on preventing drug abuse (all values are measured in 2012 dollars). By 2000, spending hit $9,000 per 100 people—and it's remained near that level over the past decade. Meanwhile the number of drug users per 100 people in any given month hit a peak at just under 20 in 1979, before declining to just over five for most of the '90s. The last decade, however, despite the sustained high level of anti-drug spending, has seen a gradual increase in the proportion of drug users to around 10 out of every 100 people. As the US government loses money, an estimated 60,000 people have lost their lives to violence fueled by drug trafficking in Mexico, in addition to countless others around the world who have died from overdose and addiction.

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By Bryan Le


10/25/12 3:20pm

Cocaine Whistleblower Wins Big Bucks


MacDonald wouldn't keep the blow on the
low. Photo via

A Hollywood visual effects specialist who was fired from his job after reporting a co-worker's cocaine habit has won a wrongful termination case in the amount of $450,000. Andrew MacDonald sued his employers, special effects firm Ascent Media Group (AMG), in September 2010 for wrongful termination. After catching his co-worker doing coke in the company restroom in 2009, he had reported his co-worker's "open and notorious drug abuse at the office during working hours" to his bosses, who demanded proof. MacDonald "jokingly" asked if he would have to resort to video-taping the man inhaling lines of blow; he was fired the next day for "lying" and for trying to film someone in the bathroom. Los Angeles jurors decided on Wednesday that AMG had fired him in “malice,” resulting in MacDonald losing health benefits for his pregnant wife, awarding him two years' worth of salary for wrongful termination. The cocaine-using co-worker has since left AMG.

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By Bryan Le

legalization of marijuana

10/25/12 2:13pm

Record 59% Now Want Pot to Be Legalized


Weed gets a green light from the polls.
Photo via

Support for the legalization of marijuana movement has just hit a record high, with a whopping 59% in favor, according to a recent poll by YouGov for the Huffington Post. This latest hike builds on the 55% who supported legalization, according to a poll taken last year. The numbers included 51% who want weed to be taxed and regulated like alcohol, and another 8% who believe it should be legalized, but not taxed and regulated. Only 26% of respondents said that marijuana shouldn't be legalized, with another 15% unsure. Support for medical marijuana is even higher: 64% of respondents favor permitting doctors to prescribe small amounts of pot, with 23% opposed. Support for medical marijuana is highest among people between 45 and 64 years of age— 74% of whom were in favor, compared with 56% of younger adults. Other polls from the likes of Gallup and the Pew Research Center reveal lower numbers in support of legalization—at 50% and below. But HuffPost claims the difference is accounted for by its methodology: instead of polling by phone, the YouGov poll was carried out online and offered a third—and most popular—option of legalize and tax and regulate.

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By Bryan Le

Recovery in Prison

10/25/12 1:11pm

Drug Treatment in Prison: A Harsh Regime


Play by the rules—or else. Photo via

In a federal prison's RDAP unit, the residents are expected to aspire to high standards of living. Adhering to all the usual institutional rules and regulations isn't enough; participants are given an additional set of dictates on personal behavior, appearance and cleanliness. "You have to wear you khaki prison-issued uniform all day, from 7:30 am to 4 pm, and it has to be pressed, ironed and neat," one prisoner tells The Fix. "Your cell has to be inspection-ready when you get up, and you can't lie down at all during the day until after the 4 pm count. During programming hours [8-11 a.m] you can't leave the unit or use the phone or email. No commissary, no work, no nothing. Only treatment and recovery. They're preparing you for the streets and everything is restricted." He continues, "Little things that you get away with in other units are big things in the drug unit. RDAP can be vicious if you aren't on point. You're held in constant fear of losing your release date. They even say, when you make a decision, consider whether it will affect your earliest projected release date."

If RDAP participants break the rules, disciplinary actions apply. Sanctions can include behavioral contracts that target problematic attitudes or behaviors—as well as just about any other remedy the staff decides is relevant. "I had to write 150 sentences once because I went to take a piss during community without asking permission," the prisoner says. "You have to comply to their every whim. If you violate the rules, they can make you write sentences or stand up in community and humble and humiliate yourself. If you really piss them off they will set your release date back or kick you out of the program. It pays not to make any enemies—staff or prisoner—because they will just jack off your date." The RDAP coordinator may remove a participant for disruptive behavior or unsatisfactory progress. A resident normally gets a formal warning first. But this becomes unnecessary if his lack of compliance is serious enough for his continued presence to create an immediate or ongoing problem for staff and other prisoners.

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By Seth Ferranti


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