It was bound to happen eventually: after being plagued by rumors of addiction all year, reality star Kim Richards has checked herself into an undisclosed rehab facility for the second time this year. Entertainment Tonight broke the news that the former child star was returning to rehab after a season marked by erratic behavior, which has been the subject of much speculation—although her prescription drug regimen is probably enough to make anyone act like a wet-brain drunk. Accusations from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills castmate Brandi Glanville that Kim was “wasted out of her mind” and “doing crystal meth in the bathroom all night” didn’t do much to help her oft-repeated claims of sobriety. They seem all the more suspect in light of today's news. Bravo declined to comment on the matter, but her co-star Adrienne Maloof tells Us Weekly that Kim’s return to rehab is “a step in the right direction.” Another insider adds, “The only way Kim is going to be able to move on and enjoy her life is to free herself of these demons." Amen to that. Hopefully her latest stint in rehab will turn out better than her last one: Last Summer, according to Bravo, Kim checked herself out after just a week of treatment.
With prescription drug overdose a leading cause of death among Pennsylvania’s youth—exceeding street drug ODs—a state House panel is slated this week to discuss a bill that would broaden the digital monitoring of prescribed scheduled drugs in the state. Pennsylvania has operated a prescription drug monitoring program since 2002, and it produces results: last year, for example, it helped cops break up a $1 million prescription drug ring in an investigation called “Operation Fishtown Scripts.” Currently the state monitors only Schedule II drugs, like OxyContin, morphine and fentanyl, and only law enforcement has access to the information. The bill proposes to expand the prescription-monitoring database to Schedules III through V—and to make the data available to doctors and pharmacists. Some doctors think this could help cut down on doctor-shopping and help physicians identify patients who need drug treatment. The state medical society supports the bill but advocates a balance between law-enforcement and practitioner oversight on the one hand, and the need to preserve genuine patients’ access to pain meds on the other. Altogether 37 states have operational prescription monitoring programs, some of which also collect data.
Brooke Mueller, ex-wife ofTwo and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen, spent her weekend in Aspen, Colorado lurching around dance floors, picking fights, allegedly selling cocaine and languishing in jail. Mueller, 34, was arrested in the small hours of Saturday morning after a woman informed the cops that she had been assaulted by the sometime-actress in a local bar called “Belly Up”. Police found four grams of cocaine in Mueller's possession; she was released next morning on $11,000 bail. Her moves on the dance floor after the incident, which can be described as a sort of tranquilized seizure, were captured on camera. They certainly suggest that—in addition to any violence—Mueller might have been up to no good in the ladies. “It is alleged that she had in excess of four grams of cocaine, gross weight,” says Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Arnold Mordkin. Aspen in December has bad associations for Mueller: she made a drunken 911 call on Christmas morning in 2009 after Sheen allegedly beat her there. She's due to appear in Aspen court later this month, and could get up to ten years in jail if convicted of possession with intent to distribute.
While tired versions of Bye Bye Birdie may represent the limit of ambition for many high school theater departments, Oak Ridge High in suburban Sacramento chose a different route. A cutting edge play called Addict tells the tales of ten characters who become involved in the drug world. They all die. The message “Hey kids, drugs are bad!” is nothing new, but the chance to examine the issues is welcome. However, it's the support network surrounding the play that's really groundbreaking. The school held a post performance Q&A with drug professionals and all kinds of relevant resources were available. And the public high school's drug policy matches its willingness to perform an unconventional performance: “I hope the students take away an understanding that drug abuse is a community problem and they have adults around them who care about their well being and are willing to help,” Principal Steve Wehr tells The Fix, in a rather more nuanced message than “Just say no.”
Shunning the more common culture of fear, Principal Wehr has no random drug screening system, nor does Oak Ridge High employ drug-sniffing dogs to investigate suspect lockers. There are several drug-related programs: P.A.R.T.Y (Prevent Alcohol and Related Trauma in Youth) is an exercise that illustrates the often-lethal outcome of drinking and driving. And there may not be an AA meeting on campus, but there is the “New Morning” program, consisting of peer support guided by a mental health professional. High School is a tricky culture for adolescents to negotiate, and that's multiplied for anyone who crosses the line from partying to pathology. Fear and secrecy never help, and Wehr encourages students to come forward with any concerns. “There are multitudes of concerned people ready to help,” he says. Nancy Regan has nothing on him.
DEA agents routinely smuggle cash across borders and launder large sums for Mexican cartels, reports the New York Times. Although this is done in the hope of catching bigger fish, the undercover tactics are controversial—especially when combined with reassurances as elastic as that given by former senior agency official Michael S. Vigil: “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.” Other agency sources reject comparisons between money laundering and the much-criticized ploy of ATF operation Fast and Furious—which allowed guns to be bought and smuggled, also in the hope of tracking down high-up cartel members. “These are not the people whose faces are known on the street,” argues ex-DEA undercover agent Robert Mazur. “They are super-insulated. And the only way to get to them is to follow their money.”
Anonymous DEA officials claim US agents often pick up drug money two or three times a week, and that these operations have spread to Europe, the Middle East and Africa as the cartels go global. “If you’re going to get into the business of laundering money,” says one, “then you have to be able to launder money.” Department of Justice approval is technically required for law enforcement to launder more than $10 million at a time during an investigation, but apparently this isn't strictly enforced. “They tell you they’re bringing you $250,000, and they bring you a million,” says an ex-agent. “What’s the agent supposed to do then, tell them no, he can’t do it? They’ll kill him.” The DEA "tries" to recoup the quantity of money it launders via the trafficking fees charged by undercover agents, and seizures. The Times points out there's little evidence that laundering operations produce stings big enough to seriously hit the cartels' pockets; just $1 billion was seized by the DEA last year, when the total drug money circulation between Mexico and the US is put at between $18 billion and $39 billion.
- Brooke Mueller Faces Cocaine, Assault Charges in Aspen [LA Times]
- Addicts Aren't Necessarily Bad Mothers, Study Finds [Sydney Morning Herald]
- More Than a Thousand Australians Arrested in Alcohol Blitz [Canberra Times]
- Cop Charged With Delivering Pain Pills From Patrol Car [Miami Herald]
- Is Coumadin the Most Dangerous Drug in America? [Addiction Inbox]
- Czechs Decriminalize Peyote, Magic Mushroom Growing [Drug War Chronicle]
- Former Miss USA Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving [Detroit Free Press]