Much like how Woodstock-goers in the '60s were warned not to eat the brown acid, residents of the Czech Republic are being told not to drink the brown liquor, with a ban on hard liquor sales imposed throughout the country. The ruling came down following a wave of methanol poisonings that have killed 19 people within the last few months, with dozens of others currently hospitalized. Bars and other places that sell the hard stuff will only be able to stock beer and wine until further notice. The ban originally was limited to spirits with more than 30% alcohol by volume, but the full prohibition was instated after cops determined that an "absolute majority" of the poisonings came from spirits purchased in restaurants, bars and stores. It's estimated that roughly 20 percent of the liquor sold in traditional outlets in the Czech Republic is produced on the black market. And, while methanol is traditionally used for industrial purposes, it's also a large part of the booze black market, because it's cheap and impossible to distinguish from real drinking-quality alcohol (until it starts killing people, that is). Thousands of liters of the illegal intoxicant have been seized and 20 people have been arrested thus far for making it. Although there's no expiration date on the ban, it's estimated that it will take at least several weeks before liquor sales resume. In the meantime, in an international effort to quarantine the damage, Poland also has instated a month-long ban on selling Czech liquor inside the country.
- 51% of Colorado Voters Support Marijuana Legalization Measure [TPM]
- Venezuela, Bolivia Reject US Drug Trafficking Accusations [Fox News]
- Czech Methanol Death Toll Rises, Poland Bans Czech Liquor Imports [Wall Street Journal]
- Prosecutors: One in Three Mexican Drug Traffic Suspects Sentenced to Prison [Washington Post]
- Are Federal Taxes Driving Smokers to Stop Lighting Up? [Forbes]
- Delray Beach Sweat Lodge Helps Drug Addicts [Sun Sentinel]
- San Rafael Waitress Served Up Sides of Cocaine and Meth [Mercury News]
Pub 500, a bar in Mankato, Minnesota, is offering a startling new service: pregnancy tests. Mixing things-alcohol with things-pregnancy may seem jarring—but that's kinda the point. Using a pink and white dispenser in the ladies' room, women with room for doubt can spend $3—credit cards only—to check before they flood their abdomens with alcohol. According to Jody Allen Crowe, founder of Healthy Brains for Children, the non-prof behind the scheme, this bar is the first in the world to try such a thing. He hopes it will help reduce fetal alcohol syndrome: “It’s an epidemic,” Crowe says. “The amount of prenatal exposure to alcohol is really not something people talk about because it’s such a guilt-ridden type of discussion.”
Pub 500 may not seem a "party" enough place to necessitate on-site pregnancy tests, but experts say it's often professional women with disposable incomes who drink during pregnancy, rather than "party types." Crowe also hopes to install pregnancy test dispensers at sites like malls, gas stations and fitness centers, because women everywhere may not know they're pregnant: half of all US pregnancies are unplanned. At $3 each, a fraction of the cost of a drug-store test, checking discreetly is easy (embarrassment at publicly purchasing pregnancy tests makes them the most shoplifted item). Tom Frederick, Pub 500's proprietor, only took a little convincing: “We thought it was a strange idea at first but very quickly came to the realization that this could be beneficial." While not all his patrons see the benefit—"It just seems like something you should maybe already know before you're in a bar," says one—some love the idea: "It's putting awareness at the point of comsumption. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before."
This Sunday, Los Angeles-based Fix readers are cordially invited to party at My 12 Step Store, LA's go-to destination for recovery-related gifts, tokens, cards and books—including Party Girl, a novel written by Fix Executive Editor Anna David and published by HarperCollins. The sober celebration, in honor of Recovery Month and David, takes place this Sunday, September 16 from 6-8 pm at the lot in front of My 12 Step Store (8730 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood). Luminaries from the recovery world—including Fix columnist Nic Sheff, Howard Samuels from The Hills, Charlie Bentz and Kimberly James from Malibu Beach Sober Living, and Jennifer Gimenez and Seth "Shifty" Binzer from Celebrity Rehab and Sober House—will be toasting My 12 Step Store, David and a healthy lifestyle. Just RSVP here and come raise a glass (of water)!
Is Amanda Bynes just another in a long line of former teen celebs to crash and burn, or is she—as half the LAPD reportedly suggests—a particularly deadly danger to the whole of Los Angeles? Some people are even worrying that she'll become the next Lindsay Lohan. To be fair, Bynes is on quite a streak of vehicular violations: she was caught talking on her cell while driving in March, drunkenly sideswiped a police car in April, hit-and-ran twice in a span of five months, and finally got her license suspended in September. Then earlier this week TMZ spotted her driving on a suspended license, smoking pot from a pipe disguised as a car cigarette lighter.
But if the cops who lined up to speak with TMZ are to be believed, Bynes represents the physical manifestation of Death Race 2000 and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. "She's on the same road as my wife and kids and I'm scared about getting a call in the middle of the night that my little one is dead,” says one experienced patrol officer. "She's addicted to something and she's driving a deadly weapon and is going to kill someone. It scares the shit out of me." In a city that's been ravaged by earthquakes and wildfires, one veteran motor cop calls Bynes "easily" a perfect 10 on a one-to-10 scale of dangerousness. "The public should be afraid of her. From looking at the photos, and what she's smoking, she has no sense of reality,” declares another cop. Bynes may still be hoping her July Twitter request for a presidential pardon gets through: “Hey @BarackObama... I don't drink. Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don't hit and run. The end."