A driver who was allegedly so drunk that he didn't realize his car had burst into flames was saved by a fearless police officer yesterday morning. Alan Edward Blake, 32, was found sitting in his parked Pontiac Bonneville in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 4:18 am. Smoke was billowing from the engine and sleepless neighbors said it had been revving for an hour. Veteran cop Eric Hornbacher approached and ordered him out, before memorably exclaiming: “Turn around and look. Your car is burning. Are you that drunk that you did not realize your car was on fire and that you were sitting in a burning car?” Police believe Blake fell asleep with his foot on the gas, causing the engine to race and catch fire. He spent the night in jail and faces a DUI charge. His lucky escape is a timely warning, as ER doctors brace themselves for the inevitable human cost of widespread drunk driving this New Year's Eve.
United Sates troops are increasingly abusing easily accessible synthetic drugs, such as "Spice." The synthetic marijuana substance—which despite recent federal bans is still commonly sold online—has become the drug of choice for many troops, because until recently it remained legal and undetectable in urine tests. Two years ago only 29 Marines and sailors were investigated for using "spice"; this past year the number topped 700. The Air Force also found 497 airmen guilty of using it, up from 380 the year before. Those caught may be discharged. Spice, often advertised thinly disguised as herbal incense, contains inactive ingredients like herbs or flowers, laced with synthetic chemicals designed to replicate the high of THC. These chemicals can be up to 200 times as potent as those found in pot. Drug tests may be thwarted, as no two batches of ingredients are alike, keeping military officials on their toes. So far only five of the two hundred chemicals used in spice are banned and tested for by the armed services. With new varieties being created daily, there’s no telling how the US will respond or keep up.
National Geographic’s riveting show Drugs Inc. enters its second season on January 1. It’s a must-see for anyone with an interest in this vital issue. The show intimately documents various aspects of the global illegal drug trade, delving into the lives and activities of nefarious criminal figures, and the day-to-day operations of the drug business—sometimes at great peril. A clip from Episode One (below) shows an anxiety-inducing interview with a posse of heavily armed Peruvian cocaine producers, operating out of a makeshift jungle kitchen. One of the cooks, “Diego,” explains the simple procedure for creating cocaine from coco leaves and lets the crew film as he rolls up pound-sized balls of batter-like raw cocaine with his bare hands. The episode follows the coke on its journey from Peru into the US, where it ultimately ends up as crack, sold by a dealer who goes by the name of “Mista.” This season is packed with such mind-altering content, and airs Sundays at 8 pm ET/PT.
Celebrity Rehab Alum Rachel Uchitel Announces Pregnancy [LA Times]
Rachel Uchitel, the former mistress of Tiger Woods who eventually appeared on Celebrity Rehab to kick her "love addiction", has announced that she is pregnant with her husband, former Penn State footballer Matt Hahn. (The two were married in October.)
X Factor Runner-Up Chris Rene Outsells Winner Melanie Amaro [The Examiner]
X Factor’s resident recovering addict success story, Chris Rene, only placed third in the US version of the show. But post-show, his sales have only continued to skyrocket, with single “Young Homie” hitting #32 on the iTunes charts. Judge Nicole Scherzinger might do well to ask Rene for tips on how to score a charting single.
Lindsay Lohan Ditches Lucrative New Years’ Plans to Reform Image [TMZ]
Rather than accepting a big check to be photographed swilling top-shelf liquor at an exclusive nightclub on New Years’ Eve, Lindsay Lohan’s celebration will be low-key in an effort to reform her image.
British Reality Star Frankie Cocozza Sobers Up for Big Brother [Metro]
Frankie Cocozza gained notoriety on the UK version of The X Factor after bragging about doing cocaine backstage and getting promptly booted from the show. But before joining Celebrity Big Brother, he said he’s cleaning up his act; he tweeted that he showed “young people out there that drugs f*** things up,” finishing with the helpful hashtag “#saynotodrugs.”
A Lot of Celebrities Got Busted for Drugs This Year [CelebStoner] Stars—they love their drugs. Sixty-three notables were arrested for drugs in 2011: a 47% increase over last year. Unsurprisingly, athletes and musicians comprised most of the busts, 79% of which were for marijuana. Still, the “biggest celebrities” on the list are names like Soulja Boy and Brooke Mueller, so at least it’s heartening to know that A-listers are keeping their noses clean.
Mexican drug cartels are recruiting young latinos in San Diego to smuggle drugs across the border. According to KPBS San Diego, more than 5,000 youth have been held in San Diego county jails for drug related offenses in the last two years. The cartels use children as young as 11—referred to as "The Expendables"—because they attract less suspicion. They can make up to $400 for each smuggling trip across the border. “Cartels use these juveniles, telling them, 'Nothing is going to happen to you because you're a juvenile. Here's some quick cash,'" says US Customs spokeswoman Angelica De Cima. "These kids are putting themselves at risk and they don't understand the consequences." When caught, they face punishment ranging from probation to 15 months in a juvenile camp. Legal permanent residents who are not citizens can be deported.
- Informant Claims NATO Buying and Selling Heroin in Afghanistan [Straight.com]
- Drug Cartels Seen Recruiting Young Men In Southern California [Huffington Post]
- Man Found Dead in McDonald's Bathroom After Overdosing on Heroin [Chicago Tribune]
- Significant Forced Required by Maine Police to Subdue Man High on "Bath Salts" [Seacoastonline]
- LA Police: 23 Pounds of Marijuana Transported Via Bicycle [LA Weekly]
- Was Powder Photographed in Paris Hilton's SUV Coke? [TMZ]