“Iron” Mike Tyson has come out of his corner to open up about one of the darkest moments of his drug-addicted past. The 45-year-old former “baddest man on the planet” recalls hitting rock bottom in in a hotel room in 2009; he was high on drugs and paranoia set in. “This is really dark. I am in my hotel suite, I've got seven women there, and I have a morphine drip, and I had my cocaine, and I had my (Viagra like pill) Cialis, I had my marijuana, I had the Hennessy," he recalls. "I am at my lowest point because I got paranoid and I thought these women were trying to rob me and set me up. I started beating them. I was in a dark place. There was a purpose, though, because I didn't want to give them any more of my soul.” Tyson booted the women from his room, believing them to be possessed by demons. “It was the lowest point of a very low life, but it was my own knockout punch to clean up life, get whole, get well—and I haven't done anything in three years now,” he says. “I'm clean, I'm sober.” The former heavyweight champ tells all in his show, “Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth,” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
People who feel perpetually suspended in childhood may want to cut back on the booze, according to a study conducted at the University of Missouri. The research shows that those who engage in excessive drinking feel immature, and when they hit 30 they might wonder why their peers have surpassed them in life. The study concludes that heavier drinking is more culturally acceptable among younger adults and isn't widely perceived as immature. "Young adults are out at the bars with their friends and drinking is a bonding experience. They also view blacking out, vomiting and drunk driving as more acceptable because peers are behaving similarly,” says Rachel Winograd, a doctoral student in psychology at MU. But as these youths leave their 20s and begin to witness their peers settling down, those who continue to excessively drink may feel like "Peter Pans" in their social circles, having never grown up. The study is based on research on teen alcohol dependency, which suggests that excessive drinking in the adolescent years also correlates with feelings of immaturity. "There seems to be a window of time in the early to mid-20s when drinking is not associated with immaturity," she observes. "Before and after that window, excessive alcohol use is associated with a lower self-reporting of maturity, according to our results and previous studies."
The two most powerful drug gangs in El Salvador, Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18, called a truce earlier this month and violence has dramatically decreased in the country. An official announcement has been made that last Saturday was El Salvador's first murder-free day in three years. This is the first day without killings since President Mauricio Funes took office in June 2009, when the country had an average of 12 murders per day. "After years where the number of murders reached alarming levels of up to 18 per day (in early 2012), we saw not one homicide in the country," said Fumes in a statement. Much of the violence in El Salvador is blamed on Mexican drug cartels that use the country as a transit point. According to United Nations data, El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world at 66 per 100,000 people.
"Tramp stamps," tiger-clad-biceps and other tattoo art may be indicators of substance abuse, according to a new study from France. Researchers asked nearly 3,000 young men and women exiting bars on a Saturday night if they'd take a breathalyzer—of those who complied, people with body art were found to have consumed more alcohol than their unadorned brethren. "A host of previous studies have routinely shown that individuals with body piercings or tattoos are more likely to engage in risky behavior than non-pierced or non-tattooed people," writes Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of social behavior at the University of Southern Brittany. This "risky behavior" includes fighting, unprotected sex, as well as boozing. Gueguen suggests that tattoos and piercings may serve as "markers" for doctors and parents, opening up a discussion on potentially harmful correlating behaviors. Texas Tech University School of Nursing professor Myrna Armstrong conducted a study in 2009 that also showed a link between the number of tattoos and the likelihood of abusing substances. Those with one or two tattoos were only as likely to drink or act out as people with none at all, but people with seven or more tattoos or piercings were more likely to engage in "high risk" behaviors. Regardless, we shouldn't make assumptions about people based on their body art, say researchers. Armstrong is concerned about "the tendency to see a tattoo or piercing and automatically profile or stereotype that individual as a 'high-risk person' as this may or may not be conducive for helping them."
New Jersey has just granted its first medical marijuana permit to the Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair, allowing the facility to begin growing the plant immediately. The state passed a law permitting medical marijuana for patients with chronic illnesses more than two years ago, but red tape has delayed progress ever since. A second permit is still needed for the facility to operate as an alternative treatment center. So first it must pass a state inspection—after that, marijuana could finally be available to New Jersey residents with chronic diseases by midsummer. "The Department is committed to ensuring that medicinal marijuana is safely and securely available to patients as quickly as possible," department Commissioner Mary O'Dowd said in a statement. While this is a significant milestone for medical marijuana, those involved are still keeping their fingers crossed. Greenleaf’s CEO Joe Stevens is concerned about the delays and said planting won't begin until Governor Chris Christie guarantees the program’s future, as he doesn't want to start growing only to find that the health department still isn't ready to issue the final permit to dispense. Back in November, New Jersey Department of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner explained the delays and red tape to The Fix by saying “The timetable for when each Alternative Treatment Center will meet all of the state requirements and obtain permits has many variables.” Ken Wolski, director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, described local resistance in the Garden State as "townsfolk with torches and pitchforks chasing them out of town."
"Reach for the sky!" Five people were arrested yesterday in a money laundering scheme that channeled at least $6 million in Colombian and Mexican drug money through an LA-based toy company. The owners of Woody Toys, Jia Hui Zhou and Dan Xin Li, and three company employees were arrested on charges of evading federal reporting requirements for financial transactions. The money funneling had occurred between 2005 and 2011, where Mexican toy dealers bought US dollars made off drug sales from currency brokers in a “black market peso exchange,” enabling the traffickers to get rid of drug money—and the toy dealers a more favorable exchange rate to purchase toys in the US. Woody Toys would receive the money from the dealers via courier or bank deposits, but authorities say they never filed paperwork when receiving deposits of more than $10,000, and intentionally structured bank deposits in smaller increments to avoid doing so. The defendants now face up to five years in prison on evading federal reporting requirements and 20 years on money laundering charges. But just in case they feel like working with drug traffickers again, ICE homeland security has some advice: “They can’t walk up with duffel bags of money and continue with their business,” says Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE homeland security investigations in Los Angeles. “They have to find creative ways to convert that money into pesos and launder it so it doesn’t look like illegal proceeds.”