Ninety-six addicts, armed with kitchen knives, escaped a compulsory drug rehabilitation center in Vietnam on Sunday. Vu Xuan Thai, director of the Haiphong Rehabilitation Center, says detainees threatened guards with their improvised weapons before making an after-dinner getaway. Altogether 96 of the center's 201 occupants fled. Since then, 15 of the escapees have returned voluntarily; police are searching for the rest. The escape highlights Vietnam's controversial compulsory rehab policy for its 140,000 addicted citizens. In an effort to combat the country's drug problem, addicts are required to undergo two years of rehabilitation, during which they must either learn a trade or perform manual labor. But treatment centers have often been less about rehab and more about exploitation. Last year the NGO Human Rights Watch, in a 121-page report called the The Rehab Archipelago, detailed how residents at these rehab centers are forced to perform often-hazardous unpaid labor in agricultural production, garment making or construction. According to one inmate, detainees face abuse if they don't work: “If you refused to work, they slapped you," he said. "If you refused to work then they sent you to the punishment room. Everyone worked." Detainees are often held captive despite having the legal right to request release if they don't get the care they need. More than 500 drug addicts escaped from another rehab center in Haiphong in May 2010.
Seth Binzer, aka Shifty, the 37-year-old former lead singer for the band Crazy Town (hit single: "Butterfly") and repeated star of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (seasons one and two) and Sober House (also seasons one and two) has reportedly fallen into a coma. He has been in the ICU of an LA hospital since last Thursday. Faithful Celebrity Rehab and Sober House viewers may remember him as the guy who smoked crack on the roof of the rehab during season two and later, on Sober House, sent his castmates videos while off on a relapse. Binzer was scheduled to appear in court later this month after a coke possession arrest in February. Adam Goldstein, better known as sober advocate and celebrity DJ DJ AM (who died of a drug overdose in September of 2009), was also a former member of Crazy Town.
One of the world's leading sports doping experts has accused the anti-doping movement of "omertà"–referring to the Mafia's code of silence–for "silencing him" with an unfair new contractual requirement. Dr Michael Ashenden has just resigned from his position on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) panel of doping experts, because of a new clause in his contract that would prevent him from giving personal opinions on any of his cases. Dr Ashenden has been reviewing blood profiles since 2008 and is considered a leading authority in blood doping and the Athlete's Biologial Passport (ABP)—an electronic record of blood and urine samples taken over a pro athlete's career. He's worked on many high profile cases including those of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador—but isn't willing to have to ask permission before speaking to the media about his role as a reviewer of blood profiles. "It seems to me that too much emphasis is being placed on controlling what the media are told," Ashenden tells the BBC. "There should be nothing to hide, so why stop the experts from talking?" The UCI has thanked Ashenden for his contributions, but declines further comment.
There are still three days left to get early bird discounts ($50 off!) for registration to the Freedom & Recovery Conference—held April 23-26, 2012 at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.
What's more, Fix readers who contact the organizers at email@example.com or 877-345-3360 can receive better discounts still, in an exclusive offer!
Register for an event that will bring you together with leading experts who specialize in treating service men, women, and their families. Military personnel, law enforcement officers and first responders can be exposed to more stress and trauma in one day than many people experience in a lifetime. This unique conference will gather the nation's foremost treatment experts to examine issues including addiction, pain management, PTSD and more with a focus on education and training for professionals. We will discuss the challenges that these individuals face, as well as treatment strategies that prepare them for a return to work and civilian life.
Make plans now to join us for two special evenings with guest speakers:
- Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient, on Tues., April 24 @ 6 pm
- J.R. Martinez, veteran and Dancing With the Stars participant, on Weds., April 25 @ 6 pm!
A pair of trekkies set their faces to stun when they were stopped and searched by Illinois cops on their warp drive home from a Star Trek convention last December. Officer Reichert pulled over Terrance Huff and John Seaton for an "inappropriate lane change,” but soon let Huff off with a warning, returned his ID and shook his hand. It seemed like end of the episode. But Reichert wasn't done: “Let me ask you a question real quick: When I went up to talk to your partner he seemed really apprehensive and really nervous,” he says in newly-released dash-cam footage. “Is there any reason for that at all?” The trekkies, keen to avoid trouble, let him take a narcotics dog around for a sniff, leading to a search after the dog "smelled drugs"—which Reichert didn't find. Some civil rights attorneys say this search violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. They add that—far from Reichert boldly going where no officer has gone before—such coerced searches happen often. "When we saw the Huff video in our office, we just laughed," says Madison Country public defender John Rekowski. "Not because it wasn't outrageous. But because it's the kind of thing we see all the time. The stop for a so-called 'inappropriate lane change,' the games they play in the questioning, the claims about nervousness or inappropriate behavior that can't really be contradicted. It's all routine."
The grunge era is famed for stars who didn't survive. The documentary Hit So Hard tells the story of one who did—but only just. Drummer Patty Schemel joined Hole after auditioning in 1992—leaving a steady job at Microsoft, to her mother's horror—and stayed with the band until 1998. During that time she took a Hi-8 camera with her on tours, and into the house she briefly shared with Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, who became a good friend. It's this footage, giving backstage insight into a circle hooked on drugs including meth and heroin, that forms the film—as well as interviews with Schemel and music industry friends, family, Courtney Love and other band members.
Schemel, who comes across as funny and likeable, started using alcohol and drugs from age 12, while experiencing the difficulties of growing up as a lesbian in a small town. By 1994 she was "strung out" on heroin; Cobain's suicide that April prompted the first of her 11 rehab stints. As soon as she emerged that June, Hole's bassist Kristen Pfaff suffered a fatal OD. Subsequent wild tours exacerbated Schemel's substance problems. But it was after being cut from the recording of the Celebrity Skin album in 1997, her work rejected by a ruthless producer, that she hit rock bottom and "went to crack and heroin island for a long time." She lived on the streets once her money ran out, stealing and even selling her body to score. Her eventual recovery—she's now six years clean—was aided by the Musicians' Assistance Program. These days she runs a dog daycare business in LA, where she lives with her wife and daughter, and also works to inspire more young girls to be drummers. Hit So Hard is directed by P. David Ebersole and hits theaters from April 13.