The Iowa doctor who may have contributed to the death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray and seven others by overprescribing painkillers has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of involuntary manslaughter. Daniel Baldi, a now-suspended 50-year-old pain specialist, is facing 16 years in prison if convicted. He has previously faced four medical malpractice claims and three wrongful death suits. According to court documents, Baldi "did unintentionally cause the death of Paul Gray by the commission of an act likely to cause death or serious injury, to-wit, continually wrote high-dose prescription narcotics to a known drug addict from 12/27/2005 until his death.” The 38-year-old masked musician was found dead of an overdose in a hotel room in 2010. Gray helped found Slipknot in 1995 and was involved in taking the band into international renown with their strange masks and aggressive sound all the way until his death. Slipknot has yet to comment on the charges against the pain doctor.
Some stars release statements about how they're seeking recovery before they've even entered rehab but The Hangover star Bradley Cooper decided to wait until he had accumulated some sober time—eight years to be exact. While promoting his latest movie, the Sexiest Man Alive told the Hollywood Reporter, "I don't drink or do drugs at all anymore. Being sober helps a great deal." He even opened up about the more emotional aspects of addiction: "I was so concerned [with] what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day," he confessed. "I always felt like an outsider. I realized I wasn't going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me." Sober-eyed viewers may have had their suspicions that Cooper had his feet in the addiction and recovery world when he produced and starred in 2011's Limitless, a drama about a writer who becomes addicted to a top-secret drug that gives him superhuman abilities.
- Jim Wallace, Australian Christian Lobby Head, Claims Smoking Is Healthier Than Gay Marriage [Huffington Post]
- GOP Super PAC Web Video Calls Biden 'Drunk Uncle' [ABC News]
- Special Report: Murder Spotlights Pakistan's "Heroin Kingpin" [Reuters]
- Mexico Arrests a Top Gulf Cartel Boss [Fox News]
- 8 NDSU Players Charged With Faking Signatures On Medical Marijuana Petition [Huffington Post]
- Drunk Puddle of Mudd Singer Wes Scantlin Forced Flight Into Emergency Landing [Daily Mail]
- Jamie Lee Curtis Calls Getting Sober the "Single Bravest Thing" She's Ever Done [MStarz]
Nicki Minaj's drive for fame may have risen from an early desire to protect her mother from her drug-addicted father. "I would go in my room and and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother," recalls the rapper in the newest issue of Rolling Stone. She has spoken before about her childhood with an addicted father, including the time that he tried to burn down their family home while her mom was inside. "We were afraid for my mother's life because whenever he would have a real bad outburst he would threaten to kill her," she told Nightline this past Spring. And although her father Omar has said he is "torn up" over his daughter's comments, Minaj hopes her openness will serve as a warning to other dads whose addictions and "crazy" behavior could impact their kids. "Maybe one day your daughter will be famous and talk to every magazine about it, so think about that, dads out there who want to be crazy," she warns.
Marijuana prices are skyrocketing to an all-time high in Pakistan due to an army offensive and militia infighting, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping users from paying double or triple what they previously spent. In fact, anxiety caused by the Taliban-linked violence is actually increasing the demand for pot in the country. “Everyone is tense, everyone is depressed and hash is the easiest available remedy. People use it to forget their worries,” says Kamal Khan (name changed on request), a 51-year-old English teacher. “Everybody is a hashish addict—police, doctors, officers—a lot of people come here.” Fighting is nothing new in parts of the country where the saying goes: “Even if the stove at home is cold, the barrel of a gun must be kept warm.” But since January, more than half a million Pakistanis have fled while the army and militants battle it out over some of the most fertile land for marijuana and opium. Before, a kilo of hashish cost the equivalent of about $200, but now it sells for anywhere between $530 and $690. “Bomb blasts, fighting, inflation, our society is full of worries and it is increasing demand,” says shopkeeper Arshad Afridi. Much of the money goes to local warlord Mangal Bagh, factions of the Taliban and rival group Ansar al Islam. Farmers say hash is worth much more than any normal crops, and merchants who stockpiled the drug in goat skins during previous years are cashing in on the high prices. Says Zaman Afridi, another shopkeeper: “We’ve been doing this business for decades because we have no other source of income.”
Bar and restaurant employees have a significantly higher risk of alcoholism than the general population, according to a new study from Sweden. The research study, which appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, surveyed 1,000 Swedish people between ages 18 to 59 and found that a startling 63% of the 600 bar and restaurant workers participating had hazardous drinking habits. The numbers were even higher for young women between 18 and 29, with 82% of them drinking dangerously, compared to 72% for men in the same age range. The researchers say they were not surprised by the findings, offering two explanations: either the service industry attracts people who already have problem drinking habits, or the stressful environment along with the easy access to booze is conducive to heavy consumption of alcohol. This is not the first study to examine the prevalence of substance abuse in the service industry, with SAMSHA ranking food preparation and service as the number one most addiction-prone career. "It started with the post-shift drink, but it didn't take long before I was drinking throughout my shift as well. The bartenders kept us supplied, and there was tons of coke as well. We all enabled each other," Marguerite, a recovering alcoholic who used to work at a well-known restaurant in the West Village, tells The Fix. "I'd say half the staff, at least, were full-blown alcoholics or addicts."
Some bar and restaurant owners are working hard to change this. Recently, the owners of Husk restaurant in Charleston, SC, installed surveillance cameras after an employee drank on the premises after work and was then killed in a car accident. "It's not just Husk. [Substance abuse] is rampant in the restaurant industry, from what I understand. It is a culture of post-shift drinking, and in some restaurants, drinking during the shift," said Charleston attorney Carl Pierce, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the restaurant. For many establishments, it's a question of adhering to policies that are already in place. "The places that don't have no-tolerance policies, sometimes there's a free-for-all," says Karalee Nielsen, a partner in Revolutionary Eating Ventures which owns seven restaurants in Charleston, all of which enforce strict policies to prevent employees from drinking at work. “People told me we were crazy to do it... But why would you let somebody [drink on the job] at your business? You wouldn't be OK with somebody doing it at a bank. Or in retail. Why would we think our industry would be an exception?"