- Marijuana Activists Suing CU-Boulder Over 4/20 Campus Closure [Huffington Post]
- Teens Who Use Ecstasy, Speed More Likely to Experience Depression, Study Shows [CBS]
- Bloomberg Compares Smoking To Jumping Off Bridge; Number of Tickets For Smoking In Parks Jumps [Huffington Post]
- Cigarette Butts Are The Most Common Pieces of Litter [WALB]
- "We Smoked It All": College Football Drug Culture [ESPN]
- Building A Better Low-Alcohol Beer [Food & Drink]
- Rihanna Drug Use Photo Sparks Debate—Is It Marijuana, Cocaine or Something Else? [Twirlit]
In November 2008 it wasn't hard to find a bleeding-heart liberal high on President Barack Obama, but the trip didn't last long. After Obama eventually took office, reality set in and much of the euphoria faded. But that doesn't mean everyone has stopped getting high on the president, they're just doing it in different ways—with ecstasy, LSD, heroin and marijuana named after the commander-in-chief. A story in the Observer today reports that there are at least 26 different types of ecstasy named after the president. There's also a highly popular strain of medical marijuana that goes by the name "Obama OG." And heroin? Back in 2009 you could get Obama branded smack in Sullivan County, New York. Then there's the Obama LSD, which you could have gotten your tongue on in December in 2009. Oddly enough, there's one obvious omission from the list of drugs named after Obama—cocaine. After all, it was his drug of choice.
The Coast Guard announced yesterday that two of its cutter ships intercepted another “drug sub”—the 30th in six years—in the Western Caribbean on March 30, with help from the Honduran Navy. The news was kept quiet until the four suspects taken from the sub could be brought to Miami to be charged. Neither the “self-propelled semi-submersible” (SPSS) nor its cargo were recovered. According to a Coast Guard press release, “During the interdiction, the drug sub sank in thousands of feet of water, an act that is common as drug traffickers design their vessels to be difficult to spot and rapidly sink when they detect law enforcement.”
Drug subs first started popping up in the Eastern Pacific in 2006; of the 30 such crafts intercepted by the Coast Guard since then, 25 were spotted in the Pacific, and five in the Caribbean. Built in the jungles of South America, the typical SPSS is about 100 feet long, accommodates a crew of four to five, and has a capacity of up to 10 metric tons and a range of up to 5,000 miles. Retired Army General Barry McCaffrey, the former U.S. drug czar, told the Miami Herald that when he first heard of drug subs, he thought it was “the silliest thing I ever heard of in my life.” But now, with the first four crafts captured in the Caribbean having yielded nearly $700 million in cocaine (these subs were scuttled in shallow water, allowing divers to recover the cargo), it has become clear to McCaffery that drug subs have “turned into another way to do multi-load tons with a fairly low chance of being detected,” given that they do not show up on radar. He added, “The submersible has clearly turned into a preferred delivery system.”
When a New Zealand woman, Natasha Marie Harris, died suddenly in 2010 at the age of 30, her boyfriend swore revenge on her "killer": Coca-Cola. Yesterday Christopher Hodgkinson spoke to an inquest on his partner's death, placing the blame squarely on Coca-Cola's shoulders because she drank about four and a half to eight liters of Coke a day for seven or eight years before she died. "The first thing she would do in the morning was have a drink of Coke and the last thing she would do in the day was have a drink of Coke by her bed," Hodgkinson said, adding that when Harris didn't get her soda, she'd become moody and suffer from low energy. Medical records show that Harris died of a cardiac arrhythmia, but Dr. Dan Mornin told the court that excessive consumption of soft drinks can cause severe hypokalemia—a lack of potassium in the blood—which can lead to an arrhythmia. When she first died, Coca-Cola's New Zealand managing director had to hire private security and get his employees to dress in plain clothes and drive unmarked cars, after receiving death threats from Hodgkinson. It's not the first time a Coca-Cola consumer has declared an addiction: in January, a self-proclaimed Diet Coke addict from England hit 490 pounds after drinking 42 liters of soda every week.
Today's "guinea pig" generation of teens, serving as a living experiment on how growing up with the internet will affect youths, aren't doing so well on the porn front, according to a report for the UK's Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection. It reveals that a third of British 10-year-olds have viewed adult content on the Internet, and four of five 16-year-olds access online porn regularly. Members of Parliament are pushing to have Internet providers offer parents easier options to block adult content. Prime Minister, David Cameron has suggested they provide an "opt-in" selection for explicit material—allowing customers to select what kind of content can appear on their service—as opposed to the current "opt-out" policy, allowing customers to install their own filters. Internet providers, however, remain uncooperative. But many involved with the inquiry, including Miranda Suit, the founder of the campaign group Safermedia, believe action is imperative. “This generation is going through an experiment," she says. "No one knows how they will survive this unprecedented assault on their sexual development. They are guinea pigs for the next generation.” The report reveals that 26% of teens seeking psychological treatment at the Portland Clinic in London were addicted to Internet porn. The revelation that school kids to share hardcore porn on flash drives has some critics calling the unlimited availability of online pornography a modern-day “Wild West.”
Experimental treatments for overcoming cocaine addiction have been known to the public for years, but an antidote to cocaine overdose could soon be out on the market as well. Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute have developed an injectable solution that can protect mice from an otherwise lethal overdose of cocaine, leading to promising signs for future clinical trials on humans for cocaine overdoses and the first specific antidote to cocaine toxicity. The study results, published in the March issue of Molecular Pharmaceutics, show that the "passive vaccine" reversed the dangerous symptoms of cocaine overdose such as motor impairment and seizures. The vaccine itself is made from pre-formed human antibodies and is 10 times more potent in binding molecules than an active vaccine, which helps drastically speed up the ability to reverse the effects of cocaine toxicity. "A lot of people that overdose end up going back to the drug rather quickly, but this antibody would stay in their circulation for a few weeks at least, and during that time the drug wouldn't have an effect on them," said Dr. Kim Janada, PhD, lead author and Director of The Worm Institute For Research and Medicine, at Scripps Research. The Scripps Institute reports that cocaine is responsible for 400,000 emergency department visits each year, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited 5,100 deaths from cocaine overdose in 2008.