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drug war

6/04/12 4:35pm

Most Drug Users "Ignore" the Drug War

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Do you know the cost of your high?
Photo via

Drug use comes at a high priceand not just for those who get addicted. Steve Lopez of the LA Times is one of those seeking to highlight the relationship between the Mexican drug war and US drug users—most of whom, he claims, largely overlook the high death toll inextricably linked to their habits. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed south of the US border as part of an escalating war between drug cartels battling for power. But it seems that most people who use drugs rarely consider the implications. A 24-year-old recreational drug user from Echo Park, where, as elsewhere, cocaine, Ecstasy and other drugs are readily available, says "I do definitely realize that I have a connection to [the Mexican drug war], and it's sad." She adds, but "It's one of those things I'll try not to think about. It'll cross my mind and I'll push it out."

Massive quantities of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin pour in to the US—directly from or through Mexico—each year, satiating a voracious hunger for drugsboth from social drug users, as well as chemically-dependent addicts. Josh, a recovering addict who works a Cocaine Anonymous hotline in CA, denies responsibility for what he sees as the inevitable brutalities of "Mexican Mafia-type people. They're going to do what they're going to do, regardless." At the same time he acknowledges that drug cartels, "wouldn't be in business without us." Lopez emphasizes that treating and preventing addiction, rather than ramping up largely-futile efforts to bust drug trafficking operations, is a more effective approach to reducing the major role of US consumers in the drug war.

 

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By May Wilkerson

Charlie Sheen

6/04/12 3:54pm

Charlie Sheen's Poetic Response to Drug Questions

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Penning Photo via

If Charlie Sheen has publicists to do damage control, he sure isn't using them. The winning-est actor responded to allegations of recent drug use with his ex-wife Brooke Mueller by sending a bizarre poem to TMZ. The lyrical riposte—with its characteristic lack of structure—not only fails to confirm or deny the allegations that he's using, but also betrays a failure to use a dictionary. (Meanwhile, Mueller is actually using her team to deny the drug reports, with her lawyer claiming that she's in rehab "to be monitored" and not as a result of falling off the wagon.) Without hazarding any advice over its interpretation, The Fix presents Untitled, by Charlie Sheen:

I can't speak to anyone's opinion or judgement.
I was there
they were not.
their tepid
hearsay is a baseless
static drone.
a mantra.
their theme.
I refuse to be held hostage by their 'constitutional'
privelidge,
to judge those
who can and who do.

nabobs.
CS

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By McCarton Ackerman

teen drug use

6/04/12 2:59pm

US Teens Drink Less, Drug More Than Europe

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The findings are mixed. Photo via

American teens are less likely than Europeans to smoke or drink, but also more likely to use illicit drugs, a new study claims. Researchers surveyed 15- and 16-year-olds about their habits over the previous 30 days across 36 European countries. The then compared the findings to the University of Michigan’s 2011 “Monitoring the Future” study of American 10th graders; the resulting comparisons are mixed. Twenty-seven percent of American students drank booze, compared to 57% of the European students, while 12% of the American students had smoked cigarettes compared to the 28% average for Europe. “One of the reasons that smoking and drinking rates among adolescents are so much lower here than in Europe is that both behaviors have been declining and have reached historically low levels in the US over the 37-year life of the ‘Monitoring the Future’ study,” says Lloyd Johnston, PhD, the principal investigator of the American surveys. “But even in the earlier years of the European surveys, drinking and smoking by American adolescents was quite low by comparison." On the other hand, drug use is significantly higher among US teens: 18% of them used pot, while the average in Europe was only 7%. Likewise, 7% of the Americans took ecstasy, compared to just 3% in Europe. Researchers speculate that American students have better access to illegal drugs. “Clearly the US has attained relatively low rates of use for cigarettes and alcohol, though not as low as we would like,” Johnston says. “But the level of illicit drug use by adolescents is still exceptional here.”

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By Ariel Nagi

Celebrity DUIs

6/04/12 1:58pm

Matthew Fox Banned From Alcohol

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No jail time—or booze. Photo via

The last few months have been rough for Lost star Matthew Fox, but things could be looking up; he's going to avoid jail time for his DUI arrest last month—subject to a few conditions. Fox was pulled over in Oregon back in early May for swerving out of his lane; the cops found him to be intoxicated and arrested him. After striking a plea deal with prosecutors, he pleaded no contest to one count of driving under the influence. The 42-year-old actor—who has also been fighting a recently-dropped assault lawsuit and allegations that he beats women—is banned from driving for one year, and may not drink any alcohol during that period. He'll also be required to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program. If he complies with all these restrictions, the case will go away. Fox can console himself that he's not the only celebrity to be ordered to stay away from booze recently: Bobby Brown was banned from drinking for 30 days following his DUI arrest back in April.

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By Chrisanne Grise

Celebrate good times

6/04/12 12:32pm

The Fix Knows How to Party

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Schrank, Kennedy, Johnston, Bauer and Sheff
Jeannie Cole

The Fix celebrated our first anniversary (a bit late but hey, addicts are used to that) by marking the release of columnist Nic Sheff’s new book in paperback. Wholly disproving the notion that alcohol is required in order to have a good time, guests cheerfully mingled at the recently renovated Mirabelle restaurant on Sunset in Hollywood—munching on pastrami cured salmon tartare, chicken confit, tomato-mushroom-pepper-asparagus skewers and chocolate pot-de-crème tarts while sipping raspberry lemonade (and, let’s be honest, a whole lot of caffeine).

Actress, bestselling author and Fix contributor Kristen Johnston mixed with Sheff and Fix co-founder Joe Schrank while True Blood and The Wire actor Chris Bauer chatted with Recovery Media (which owns The Fix) Chairman Paul McCulley. Other recovery heavyweights in the crowd included activist and author Christopher Lawford Kennedy, gambling addiction expert Dr. Timothy Fong of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, sex addiction expert Alexandra Katehakis of the Center for Healthy Sex, Charlie Bentz and Kimberly James from Malibu Beach Sober Living, and Love Addict author Ethlie Ann Vare. Fix contributors Nina Emkin and Heather King, as well as media mover and shakers Mickey Kaus of the Daily Caller, Courtney Friel of Fox News, John Griffiths of Us Weekly and Chris Gardner of Wonderwall, also rounded out the crowd. Despite the fact that no chips, tokens or coins were given out, it was certainly an anniversary celebration to remember. And other press outlets agree!

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By Anna David

Drug Money

6/04/12 11:46am

Colombian Cocaine Enriches the West

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Soldiers torch a coke lab. Photo via

Despite the billions of dollars-worth of cocaine being produced in war-torn Colombia, the country isn't even profiting. New research from the University of the Andes in Bogotá claims that not only are the financial benefits mainly reaped in Europe and the US, but that financial regulators hesitate to go after Western banks in pursuit of the drug money being laundered through their system. Only 2.6% of the total street value of cocaine produced in Colombia remains in the country; 97.4% of the profits are reportedly reaped by criminal syndicates and laundered by banks in the developed world. While the lowest possible street value estimate of all cocaine produced in Colombia during 2008 is $300 billion, just $7.8 billion remained in the country. "The whole system operated by authorities in the consuming nations is based around going after the small guy, the weakest link in the chain, and never the big business or financial systems where the big money is," says co-author Daniel Mejia. Mejia says that a primary issue lies with Colombia's banks, which are subject to rigorous control to stop laundering of profits and involve excess paperwork to deposit relatively small amounts of money. Much of the drug money is said to be laundered through London—which has also become the biggest consumer of cocaine per capita—while major cities in the US and Spain also receive large percentages of Colombia's cocaine money.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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