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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Detergent for Drugs

3/14/12 3:36pm

Tide Detergent Is Addicts' New Target

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What's the attraction?
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Cops report a new trend among drug addicts: stealing Tide laundry detergent to sell on the streets. Initially finding the targeted thefts of the product baffling, police now believe that addicts are selling the detergent to make fast cash. The theory goes that Tide's bright, instantly recognizable orange bottles and relatively high price ensure a reliable illicit market—with a bottle that costs $20 in a store fetching up to half that amount on the street. Recently 54-year-old Ronald Ledesma was apprehended by police in California's Orange County after loading a grocery cart with nine bottles of Tide at a store and running out, before crashing his car into the back of a paramedic truck. Police say he was under the influence of meth when he was arrested. "[Addicts] are selling it on the street for five, ten bucks," says Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino. His department has sent alerts to nearby agencies to monitor the possibly developing trend. Meanwhile a man in West St. Paul, Minnesota recently allegedly stole $25,000 worth of Tide, which boasts "Outstanding Cleaning and Stain Removal."

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By Fionna Agomuoh

Soccer and Alcohol

3/14/12 2:36pm

Soccer Chief Can't Bear Booze-Free World Cup

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Boozing is part of Sir Dave's culture.
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The idea of Qatar hosting a booze-free World Cup has been derided by an English soccer chief. "In [England] and in Germany, we have a culture. We call it, 'We would like to go for a pint and that pint is a pint of beer,'" says Sir Dave Richards, chairman of England's Premier League, who is currently visiting Qatar for a conference. "It is our culture as much as [Qatar's] culture is not drinking. There has to be a happy medium." The conservative Muslim nation mainly restricts alcohol sales to five-star hotels—and that doesn't include the one Richards is staying in, which may be something of a sore point. "If you don't do something about it, you are starting to bury your head in the sand..." he continues. "You might be better off saying don't come. But a World Cup without England, Germany, the Dutch, Danes and Scandinavians—it's unthinkable."

After some recent soul-searching in Brazil, a decision was taken to bend the laws there to serve alcohol in stadiums at the 2014 World Cup. Qatar promised when bidding for the 2022 competition to create some "fan zones" where drinking will be permitted, although given local sensitivities they could require careful management to forestall the excesses associated with fans from England and elsewhere. "Alcohol will be allowed in Qatar," confirms Hassan al-Thawadi, general secretary of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, adding that his country is "discussing with FIFA [soccer's international organizing body] the extent of it and where."

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By Will Godfrey

Made-Up drugs

3/14/12 1:48pm

Video: Just Say No to "Fictional Drugs"

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"Famous person Jonah Hill" takes a stance
against "glading." Photo via

In this PSA from the 80's, Johnny Depp and fellow cast-members of the TV series 21 Jump Street demonstrate that it's cool to not do drugs, warning kids that they "can really mess you up". Now the stars of the big screen version of 21 Jump Street, which opens in theaters this weekend, warn us of the dangers of "fictional drugs" in this Funny or Die throwback video. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Rob Riggel, who play undercover cops investigating "HFS," a made-up synthetic drug, raise awareness about other fictional hazards, such as: "shooting up air freshener, or glading", "belgian taffy," "Blink-182 CDs," or just "good old-fashioned Jamie Lee Curtis."

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By May Wilkerson

marijuana growers

3/14/12 12:15pm

Addicts Found Working as Slaves on Pot Plantation

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The 20 captives have now been freed. Photo via

Twenty people—most of them addicts and alcoholics—have been found working as slaves on a cannabis plantation in far eastern Russia. The plantation was ruled over by a "paramilitary unit," and raiding cops found a large stash of weaponry, as well as night-vision goggles, binoculars and radios, according to Russian media. The drug-dealing overseers brought local addicts to the plantation and subjected them to beatings if they refused to work. They also prevented them from contacting relatives in the outside world. Police also discovered 80 sacks of dried marijuana, weighing 880 pounds, which they say had been harvested for local buyers in Primorye province. Five alleged overseers have been arrested, along with the operation's suspected organizer; aged between 27 and 35, they all have previous convictions including theft, robbery, armed robbery and drug offenses.

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By Fionna Agomuoh

War on Drugs

3/14/12 11:47am

Video: Drug Busts Enrage Small Town

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Ferriday suffers from high levels of poverty.
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A drug bust that led to over 30 arrests in the town of Ferriday, Louisiana last week has met with anger from residents who claim the arrests make it harder for them to sell their own drugs. The arrests, which were for selling crack, cocaine, marijuana and firearms in the neighborhood, followed a yearlong multi-agency investigation. "You have to realize, we don't have no jobs around here or nothing," says resident Derrick Brown to local news outlet KALB. "Every time we try to make a little something to get on our feet or try to feed our family, [the police] come kicking the doors in and knocking us back down again." The video [below] has spread online to the point where Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin has accused KALB's reporter of sensationalism. But former narcotics cop and current executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Neil Franklin says the town's outlook isn't unusual. "This is an economic issue," he notes. "In communities like this, there is no opportunity for employment or education. If there are no jobs, what do you expect they'll do?" Approximately 47% of Ferriday's residents live below the poverty line.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Users in Uniform

3/14/12 10:42am

US Army Delays Counseling Program

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One in four soldiers abuses alcohol. Photo via

The US Army is still postponing rolling out its confidential counseling program for soldiers to all bases. Army research shows that one in four soldiers has a drink problem—and such problems have been linked to domestic abuse cases, sexual assaults and suicides. Back in 2009, the Army started a pilot program offering soldiers counseling for substance abuse issues. Now, because of the high drop-out rate, officials are unsure where the program can go from here. "Folks who have an investment in a career won't come within 100 yards of [Army counseling] because they're afraid it's going to damage their career," says Col. John Stasinos, addiction consultant to the Army Surgeon General. The first confidential counseling installations were set up in 2009 in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington, and the program expanded to Colorado, Kansas and Missouri in 2010. Last year the expansion of the program to all 60 army bases was postponed due to a 70% drop-out rate. The Army hopes to get that rate down 30% before expanding the program to all bases. But H. Westley Clark, head of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, believes that waiting for a 30% dropout rate is unrealistic, while delaying this program could lead to greater problems down the road, "You don't want to wait until someone is totally dysfunctional…becoming very depressed or suicidal," he says.“Even a limited amount of counseling can be beneficial.”

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By Valerie Tejeda

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