The amount of cocaine captured by law enforcement in Mexico is falling fast, according to an International Narcotics Control Board report released yesterday. Just 10 tons of the drug were taken last year, compared with 53 as recently as 2007. But the figures aren't thought to suggest that cocaine trafficking is decreasing. Rather, as Mexican president Felipe Calderon's forces squeeze the traffickers' space—leading to more fighting for position—while the US tries to tighten up its border, the cartels have moved much of their trade to other parts of Central America, like Honduras, where coke seizures have stayed steady. (The problems this shift has caused are severe enough for some Central American leaders to contemplate total drug decriminalization in an attempt to wrest power back from the cartels.) Much cocaine now skips Mexico entirely on its way from South America to the US, taking Caribbean routes instead. But despite a few promising signs, this doesn't mean Mexico can leave its drug problems behind; drugs that are produced within the country, like meth and marijuana, are just as prevalent there as ever.
Congressmen in Brazil will take a vote tomorrow on whether to allow the sale of alcohol in stadiums during the 2014 soccer World Cup. The issue is divisive and the vote has already been delayed by two weeks. FIFA, soccer's international ruling body, says Brazil must allow the sale of beer inside stadiums during the World Cup and the Confederations Cup next year—largely because Budweiser is a major sponsor of the events. But some congressmen oppose this; selling alcohol in Brazilian soccer stadiums has been against the law for years and fan violence at games has been reduced as a result. If booze is allowed to be sold, it would only be for these two competitions, and would be mostly limited to beer in plastic cups—only those in the VIP areas would have access to other alcoholic drinks. "If the commission approves this, we will take our fight to the [lower house and the senate], this is a mistake,'' says opposition congressman Wanderlei Macris. FIFA, which earns big money from World Cup-related deals, has already lost battles on other 2014 issues, such as limiting cheaper tickets for elderly and students—another guarantee currently mandated by Brazilian law. Brazil will be hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950.
The Hawaii Island Recovery rehab facility has a new and unorthodox approach: wild dolphin-assisted psychotherapy. It may seem unusual, but Eliza Wille, the animal-assisted psychotherapy specialist who brings patients to swim with the dolphins in their ocean home, says the marine mammals' complex emotions and community-oriented nature make them ideally suited for such therapies. “There are no other animals you can be put into nature with and necessarily expect them... to interact with you," she tells The Fix, presumably thinking mainly of survivable interactions. "If I were to go into the woods and try to sit with some birds, they would fly away.”
While captive dolphins have been used in therapies for autism and PTSD, Hawaii Island Recovery believes it's the wild element that makes this addiction treatment unique. Once a month, participants are taken out into open waters to meet an obliging pod of native Hawaiin spinner dolphins. The natural habitat is vital to the dynamic of the visit: dolphins in the wild, without trainers with fish in their hands, have no ulterior motive to interact with patients. And there's no knowing what they'll do. “Someone might use substances to feel a sense of control in the world, but now they are in a big, uncontrollable ocean with lots of wild animals,” says Wille. “The emotions that come up are therapeutic. It's a way to begin to feel mastery over the world and find resources within yourself, drawing from whatever tools are available.” Wille adds that patients invariably love the therapy and benefit from it. “Peak experiences can flush you with a lot of feelings,” she says. “Tremendous joy, insight, peace and overcoming fears and obstacles encountered in rehab. Anything and everything can happen.”
Long-troubled Lindsay Lohan tells Today's Matt Lauer that she's "clean and sober" and enjoying a quieter, more domestic lifestyle. "I went out, actually, a few months ago with a friend. And I was so uncomfortable. Not because I felt tempted, just because it was just the same thing that it always was before. And it just wasn't fun for me,” she says, in an interview that will air Thursday. “I've become more of a homebody. And I like that.” The Mean Girls star, who has struggled publicly with addiction, is about to complete 60 days of community service at a morgue. And her life seems to be on the upswing: she's due to host Saturday Night Live this weekend, in a much-anticipated gig that could help restore her tarnished public image. The sobered-up starlet sounds determined: "People can say things all they want, but I think I still need to go through the process of proving myself."
Users of sites like Facebook and Youtube are being targeted by illegal internet pharmacies, warns Hamid Ghodse, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). He explained at a news conference in London yesterday how many of these pharmacies use social media outlets to draw people to chatrooms and their own websites, where they can market mail order drugs. "Disturbingly, illegal Internet pharmacies have started to use social media to publicize their websites, which can put large audiences at risk of dangerous products," he speaking of both prescription and illicit drugs. The INCB, which monitors the implementation of UN drug conventions, is urging governments to shut down these rogue pharmacies, and to seize substances that have been illegally ordered online. "Key aspects of illegal Internet pharmacies' activities include smuggling their products to consumers, finding hosting space for their websites and convincing consumers that they are, in fact, legitimate," notes the INCB in it's 2011 annual report. In 2010, more than 12,000 deliveries of "internationally controlled substances" were seized from the postal system. India, identified as the leading country of origin, accounted for an incredible 58% of those seizures—with China, Poland and the US also being identified as major countries of origin.
- UN: Illegal Drugs Sold Via Social Media [The Seattle Times]
- Prescription Drug use Linked to Illicit Drug Use [PsychCentral]
- Study Assesses Effectiveness of Brief Interventions [Findings]
- OC Sex Addiction Expert Blasts Ad With Model "Having Sex With A Hamburger" [CBS Los Angeles]
- Online Toolkit for Genetic Research Expands Focus on Substance Abuse And Addiction [Newswise]
- Man Denies Charges After Coffee Spiked With Meth [The Northwestern]