Qantas Airways has suspended a pilot for attempting to fly a plane while under the influence of alcohol. Authorities say the woman exceeded the limit for pilots of 0.02% alcohol in the blood in a test. She was caught last Monday as she was about to fly a Boeing 767-300 from Sydney to Brisbane. Flight attendants suspected she'd been drinking and reported it to airline operations managers. The plane was actually in the process of taxiing towards the runway when management made the decision to have the pilot stand down and replace her with another. Right now, she's being "withheld from duties on full pay" while the incident is investigated. Although Qantas representatives aren't at liberty to discuss the case, the investigation is expected to take about a month and the pilot will be interviewed next week. Incidents like this are extremely rare—since 2008, only 45 pilots have exceeded the alcohol limit in 51,000 tests in Australia, and none worked for Qantas, officials say. Qantas is renowned for a sterling safety record, with zero fatal accidents—a record that may have been at risk last week.
China is getting serious about stopping its citizens from getting behind the wheel while under the influence. The government has banned drug addicts from getting driver's licenses and says that any addicts who haven't received treatment and recovered fully must apply to have their licenses revoked within the next 30 days. Any driver who is pulled over and found under the influence of drugs will be punished or fined, while those who are deemed to be addicts will be stripped of their licenses. Local police will also start increasing roadside checks. The ruling comes on the heels of a well-publicized traffic accident that caused 14 deaths in East China in April—the driver of the coach involved in the accident tested positive for drugs. China currently has 1.19 million heroin addicts and a burgeoning synthetic drug problem—an estimated 40% of the country's synthetic drug users are new to the habit. China's reputation when it comes to the human rights of drug users is less than outstanding: the Human Rights Watch just released a report that claiming drug addicts in Beijing detention centers are subject to physical abuse and often detained against their will.
You’d think things couldn’t get any worse for US Olympic Judo hope Nicholas Delpopolo, after he was beaten out of bronze medal by Mongolia's Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal in the repechage stage. You’d be wrong: the 23-year-old from Westfield, New Jersey, has now been disqualified after failing a drugs test. He was tested on July 30 after his near miss; the International Olympic Committee claims he tested positive for the snappily-named 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid—which is connected to cannabis consumption. As a result Delpopolo may have his seventh-place finish rescinded. He may also have to return his diploma for competing in the Games and have his accreditation withdrawn. The International Judo Federation has been instructed to modify its results and, ominously, to "consider any further action within its own competence."
A new documentary about comedian Russell Brand lays bare the lifelong grip addiction can hold on an individual—even one with long-term recovery. In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, BBC3 follows the 37-year-old as he goes back to visit the Focus 12 Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he got clean in 2002. The program shows disquieting footage of Brand in his 20s, leaning over the heated foil to smoke heroin before leaning back against the wall and staring dead-eyed in to the camera; it then flashes forward to Brand in present day, watching the old clip with his friend Martino Sclavi at the London Savoy Hotel. Referring to his young self as “a proper little junkie,” Brand says: "This is when you know it's a disease. It doesn't matter that I was sat in that flat in Hackney and now I'm in the Savoy. I'm jealous of me then. It doesn't make a difference to me. The money, the fame, the power, the sex, the women—none of it. I'd rather be a drug addict."
The Rock Of Ages star has been clean for 10 years, and has been candid about his various addictions (drugs, alcohol, sex) and his struggles in sobriety. He has been a public voice for addiction and recovery, even speaking in UK parliament about his belief that addiction should be treated as a disease rather than a criminal issue. “The consequences of my actions affected so many people,” he says in the documentary, displaying a radical level of candor—even for Brand. “Heroin is a greedy drug. First it’ll take your money. Then it’ll take your friends, your family, your car, your house. Then it’s going to take bits of your body. In the end I used to be scoring with people that had eyes missing, limbs missing.” He added: “You’ll take it until it takes your life. It’ll take everything until the last thing and you’ll gladly give it that rather than give up drugs. When you are a drug addict, the idea of not taking drugs is inconceivable. This was the beginning of a life-long journey of doing things differently.”
- Court, Treatment Programs Help Young Heroin Addicts [Santa Fe New Mexican]
- Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applicants Await Lottery [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Tunisia Press Freedom Prize Winner Arrested Over Alcohol Claims [Tunisialive]
- Is "Gaming Addiction" a Real Disorder? [CNN]
- More Doctors Needed to Fight Addiction in Singapore [TodayOnline]
- "I'd Rather Be a Drug Addict": Russel Brand Still Battles With Heroin Addiction [Daily Mail]
Want to know how to make money selling drugs? 50 Cent and Eminem will tell you. The rappers feature in a documentary of the same name that takes an in-depth look at the US War on Drugs and the battle to enforce tougher drug laws. Fiddy and Em are just some of the big names in interviewed for the film, which also includes hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, actress Susan Sarandon and Fix interviewee Major Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). The movie's synopsis (sarcastically) promises to show viewers, "10 easy steps that show you how to make money from drugs, featuring a series of interviews with drug dealers, prison employees and lobbyists arguing for tougher drug laws.” The movie will make its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, from September 6-16. Drugs and hip-hop will be well represented: Snoop Dogg—sorry, Snoop Lion—will also premiere his documentary Reincarnated.