- Hezbollah Linked to Large-scale Drug Trafficking in US [NYTimes]
- High School Seniors Smoke More Pot Than Cigarettes [Christian Science Monitor]
- Bad Batch of Bootleg Booze Kills 100 in India [BBC]
- Cocaine Seized By Ghana Police Mysteriously Turns Into Washing Soda [Ghanaweb]
- Brooke Mueller Checks In at Rehab, Again [Philly Inquirer]
- Suspects In Police Chase Pelt Cops With Weed [Washington Post]
Former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, a founding band member from 1985-1997, has given an extensive interview about the alcoholism that caused his acute pancreatitis in 1994, aged just 30. When his pancreas burst and he was rushed to hospital, the pain was so intense that morphine just didn't work, he tells the BBC's Sarah Montague. He'd been through a few "brutal" years of alcohol abuse, partly in an attempt to self-medicate for panic attacks—when he was trying to "taper off" his drinking, he went from "a gallon of vodka to...ten bottles of wine a day," he recalls. After he left hospital, rather than going to rehab, he took up mountain biking as a form of "self-flagellation," for "failing my mom and some of my friends." This led to drinking lots of water for the first time in years, eating healthily and long-term sobriety. But McKagan still claims Guns N' Roses needed their hell-raising lifestyle to make their music: "We had to go out on the edge to get the songs we got."
A young Virginia mother who used heroin and OxyContin during her pregnancy had the child abuse charge against her dismissed yesterday. Circuit court Judge J. Martin Bass threw out the case against 24-year-old Krystal Lynn Woodson after her defense attorney argued that child abuse laws do not apply to fetuses. Woodson was arrested earlier this year in connection to an armed robbery committed by the child’s father. Prosecutors later charged her with child abuse when she admitted to using drugs throughout her pregnancy. Despite the latest development, she remains in jail, awaiting sentencing next March for felony drug possession—she faces up to ten years in prison.The child—Woodson’s ninth—was born in February and underwent treatment for addiction. He's presently in good health and in the care of his grandmother. Rapidly increasing numbers of babies nationwide are affected by opioid use in their pregnant mothers.
Corey Trivino has been sent to the penalty box for good. A Boston University hockey star who leads the Hockey East conference in scoring, Trivino was kicked off the team this week after an arrest Sunday on charges of breaking and entering as well as assault with attempt to rape.
The charges against the 21-year-old stem from an incident Sunday night in which he drunkenly entered a female student's room without her permission and started kissing and fondling her, also without her permission. BU's hockey coach Jack Parker acted swiftly in booting Trivino from the team. As of today "he is no longer associated with the BU hockey team," Parker said yesterday.
It's a big loss for BU, but not a surprising turn for the junior, whose alcohol issues have previously led to trouble with his coach. “There is no question in my mind it's an alcohol problem,” Parker told the school's newspaper yesterday. “I did [ask him to get treatment], but he didn’t think it was for him.” Parker added that he warned Trivino back in September that one more alcohol related incident would lead to his suspension.
Trivino's last game in a BU jersey was also the first multi-goal game of his collegiate career.
A new survey shows that teens are using synthetic drugs more than ever, even though over 40 states have now banned them. But marijuana is still the most popular drug of all—and teen use is at a 30-year high, with nearly 7% of high school seniors using pot daily. According to the survey of 47,000 high school students—conducted by the University of Michigan, and sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health—11.4% of teens report using synthetic drugs over the last year. Drugs like "K2" or "Spice" are often sold online or in convenience stores, packaged as potpourri or incense; they produce effects similar to marijuana. They started to become popular around 2008 and have caused some serious problems in the past few years—poison control center calls are up to 5,741 this year from 2,915 in 2010, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers. As well as a relaxing high, some users report convulsions, anxiety attacks, high heart rates, vomiting and suicidal thoughts. Overall, 40% of high school seniors used at least one illicit drug in the last year.
An anonymous Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, speaking exclusively with The Fix, paints a stark picture of the drug war along the US-Mexico Border. The cartels' traffickers are punching through our borders without fear, he confirms, supplying US streets with cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. But the administration seems more concerned with immigration than with drugs: “Border patrol is very adamant about stopping the illegal aliens," he tells us. "But border patrol is not adamant about stopping the drugs and the cartels’ vehicles from coming across the border.”
Why does he believe this? He says the Department of Homeland Security doesn't provide the border patrol with enough manpower to fight the drug war effectively. With around 2,000 miles of vast desert to protect and very little backup, agents find it nearly impossible to apprehend the traffickers. “Cartels transport their drugs across the desert in groups of two or three trucks,” he explains. “And they’re armed with automatic weapons.”
Cartel members know that even if one of the in-ground motion sensors picks up their movements, they still have the advantage. Each border patrol agent on the ground is responsible for a considerable area. And he is only one man with a gun. “Border patrol agents in the desert are often surrounded by the drug cartels or by Mexican military, who have been bribed to help the cartels,” he says, explaining that agents are frequently faced with a stark choice: they can fight the traffickers and die, or they can get out of the way and live. “At the end of the day, we all want to go home to our families alive.”
“We have cameras, and we have motion sensors in the ground,” summarizes our source. “We catch the cartels’ movements on camera. But do we have an agent out there close enough to respond? Do we have backup for that agent that can get out there quickly enough? If we don’t, guess what? We’re going to watch the drugs go through.”