A mall Easter bunny in Virginia was hiding something besides Easter eggs and candy this holiday. While wearing his bunny suit at the Piedmont Mall in Danville, 24-year-old Joshua Lee Boiling was found in illegal possession of prescription narcotics. Mall employees contacted the police last Friday after noticing the bunny's unusual behavior during his breaks, suggesting possible criminal drug activity. When confronted by police, Boiling was found in possession of prescription pills. However, the police report indicated that his suspicious behavior did not take place while interacting with the children. And thankfully, the kids at the mall were spared the ordeal of seeing an Easter bunny walk out in handcuffs—Bolling was escorted to a private changing area during his arrest.
An auto insurance company has put forward the controversial claim that driving high may actually decrease your chances of an accident. A new study, conducted by United States auto insurance quote provider 4AutoInsuranceQuote.org, counters prior research that has indicated pot use while driving may double your risk of an accident. Researchers looked at statistics regarding traffic violations, accidents, and insurance prices and the results showed that traffic fatalities have dropped by 9% in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana. "Marijuana users often say that when they are high, they feel like they are driving 80 miles per hour but actually are only going 30 miles per hour," says 4AutoInsuranceQuote.org CEO James Shaffer, "when somebody is drunk driving, on the other hand, they often feel like they are driving 30 miles per hour but are actually driving 80 miles per hour. This is what makes alcohol dangerous behind the wheel, and marijuana safe." 4autoinsurancequote.org believes that marijuana use can indirectly lower insurance rates due to the correlation between low accidents statistics amongst marijuana users. "The hypocrisy of it all is that if you get caught driving under the influence of marijuana, you will be fined and perhaps thrown into jail. What's worse is that your insurance rates will definitely increase due to the traffic violation," says Shaffer. "What law enforcement agencies and insurers do not understand is that driving while high is actually a safe activity." His claim will not go uncontested.
- A Fog of Drugs and War [LA Times]
- Why Latin America Is Looking at Legalizing Cocaine [Toronto Star]
- Mexican Meth Still Rules Jackson County, Oregon [Mail Tribune]
- Medical Marijuana Bill Dies in the Tennessee Senate [Examiner]
- Narcopolis: Inside India's Dark Underbelly [NPR]
- Aussie Actor Matthew Newton Hits Back at Drunken US Arrest Claims [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Dennis Rodman Denies Problems With Money and Alcohol [CBS Sports]
Western nations may be putting the cigarettes down, but developing countries are picking them up. Over the past two decades, education, taxes, policies and media blitzes have cut smoking in the US and Western Europe by as much as 26%, but lower-income countries have begun smoking at such volume that it actually offsets these decreases. The rise in smoking in less developed countries is due to “targeted marketing, increased social acceptability, economic development and population increases,” according to the American Cancer Society's recently-released Tobacco Atlas. China, home to one fifth of the world's population, consumes one third of the world's cigarettes. Half of Chinese men smoke (but interestingly, only 2% of women). And cigarette use in the Middle East and Africa has risen by almost 60%. "Among the 14 countries where 50% or more of men smoke," notes the Tobacco Atlas, "all but one country (Greece) are classified as low- or middle-income." If developing countries don't curb their smoking rates, tobacco-related illness and death could actually hinder development. "If the smoking prevalence among Chinese women increases," the report says, "global consumption of cigarettes will skyrocket, and the country's economy and health-care systems will be overwhelmed."
Olympic officials are figuring out whether they should tweak their steroid tests after learning that green tea may muddle testosterone levels. Whether the effect takes place in real people hasn't yet been proved, but lab trials have been conclusive enough to cause concern in the run-up to London 2012: adding green tea extract to a sample could mask up to 30% of true testosterone levels, distorting athletes' urine test results. "It's interesting that something as common as tea could have a significant influence on the steroid profile," says Dr. Olivier Rabin, Scientific Director of the World Anti-Doping Agency. But he's not about to generate a storm in a teacup; steroid tests aren't just about running the numbers, but involve teams of experts who take factors like jet lag, diet and strenuous exercise into account. And there's always the option of blood tests instead of urine screening. Other food and drinks, like caffeine and alcohol, are also known to mess with tests. But Dr. Dr Andrew Kicman, head of research and development at the Drug Control Centre at King's College London, thinks green tea's standard dosage is too small to cause alarm. "You would probably need to drink the tea continuously to get any sustained but minor effect," he says. "And I personally wouldn't want to drink nine cups of tea on the day of a race."
A “cop-fantasy” Hail Mary on the part of an Altoona, Pennsylvania woman failed to save her from a recent drunk-driving charge—but she gets points for style. The story began when another motorist called in to report an out-of-control red Chevy Monte Carlo that was swerving across both lanes of traffic and speeding up and down between 40 and 90 mph. By the time a state trooper had tracked the suspect, Monica Barnhart, to a residence (not hers), apparently she'd become wise to the fact that the fuzz was on her trail. So she did what any self-respecting, seriously impaired drunk woman would do: she tried to spin the whole thing into a sexual head-fake, answering her door in her underwear and offering the officer two yellow roses, as part of what she said was her “cop fantasy.” The officer didn’t bite, though—everyone knows police prefer begonias—and, after retrieving Barnhart’s jeans, hauled her in for a blood test. She failed with flying colors, coming in at a stunning blood-alcohol content of 0.356—more than four times Pennsylvania’s legal limit.