Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
Kenny "The Snake" Stabler died last week. Sports reporter Bob Padecky recalls a memorable interview with the Oakland Raiders quarterback.
He'd heard about this sort of thing down here, even on Culebra—drugs that had been tossed overboard or dropped from a plane, missing their target and washing ashore. It was almost funny. He'd been walking around the island for nine years now, looking for something to smoke, thinking, Okay, God, where's my bale? And here it was, perhaps: forty, fifty, sixty pounds. Think of how long it would last him! Still, it was wrapped so thoroughly in plastic and rubber, he couldn't tell for sure what he was dealing with. Weed, he hoped. But it could be coke, or something else. He wasn't certain it was worth the risk. In an effort to buy more time, he dragged the package up the beach, dug a depression near the rocks, and covered it with leaves and debris.
After months of undercover work, Williams and Moon had information on more than 40 suspects, but the department realized it didn’t have the funds or the manpower to round them all up. So it had to come up with clever ideas. “Cops used to offer parolees free tickets to the Detroit Lions, then arrest them,” recalls Peggy Lawrence, a Flint historian. On one occasion, Moon quietly arrested and locked up stolen property dealer, announced his death in the newspaper, and arrested gang members who showed up at his fake funeral. “Sometimes you gotta do things that are simply funny,” Moon later told a television reporter. “People gotta go to jail, but it don’t always have to be sad.” In 1990, the department planned a particularly elaborate operation: Officers would throw a fake wedding, invite all the suspects, and arrest them.
This is simply a 1983 concert video of Billy Squier performing the single greatest cocaine fueled butt rock song ever made in all of its glory. [more inside]
John Holmes was a porn star. Eddie Nash was a drug lord. Their association ended in one of the most brutal mass murders in the history of Los Angeles. The Devil and John Holmes [more inside]
Die Hard has been previously established as the most Christmasy film ever (shut up, Buzzfeed), now you can join in the festive fun with this specially recorded War Rocket Ajax Die Hard commentary track featuring Matt Fraction, Matt D Wilson and Chris Sims. Cue up the Vintage VHS tape (or modern alternative, scheisse dem fenster, and enjoy!
Douglas Fairbanks was more than the Thief of Bagdad. In 1916, he was Coke Ennyday, a detective with a taste for drugs. [more inside]
The darknet online marketplace Silk Road 2 has been seized. Formerly used for the online purchase and exchange of numerous illicit substances, the Washington Post argues that online reviews of your drug dealer makes the world a safer place, and law enforcement's actions against technology advancements counteracts that.
In 1996, Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News exposed a shocking series of facts: that the CIA and the Reagan administration were covertly funding the Contras in Nicaragua by aiding and abetting the flow of crack cocaine to America, particularly inflicting terrible damage on inner-city black communities. In response, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times all began vicious campaigns to attack and discredit Webb. Although Webb was later vindicated by a CIA Inspector General report among other things, the damage was done, and the story still has an air of obfuscation and confusion around it. Along with the release of a new documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System, as well as a feature film starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger, key figures in the CIA-crack cocaine scandal are beginning to come forward. Could this be the start of a renewed exploration of the government's complicity in the rise of crack in America?
The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 'Doom Tour'
The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
This response to the question, "What's it like to be a drug dealer?" goes into how the anonymous author became a drug dealer while in college. (Business Insider via Quora)
'I submit that the drug trade—and specifically cocaine—is among the worst things that the human mind ever invented.' The gruesome human cost of a fun little party treat.
In 1994, the Tampa Bay Times published a riveting story about Kenneth Hardcastle. One of Tampa Bay's civic elites, Hardcastle also had a burgeoning crack addiction and a fondness for underage prostitutes. [more inside]
The world's most extensive study of the drug trade has just been published in the medical journal BMJ Open, providing the first "global snapshot" of four decades of the war on drugs. To sum up their most important findings, the average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time. Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they're also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.
How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day? These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media in ~10 minute segments. [more inside]
"Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine." [more inside]
Videogames Are Drugs: Dorkly presents a few comics which compare videogames to their analogous drugs.
Criminal Cartels And The Rule Of Law In Mexico: Summary, PDF
The cartels have thousands of gunmen and have morphed into diversified crime groups that not only traffic drugs, but also conduct mass kidnappings, oversee extortion rackets and steal from the state oil industry. The military still fights them in much of the country on controversial missions too often ending in shooting rather than prosecutions. If Peña Nieto does not build an effective police and justice system, the violence may continue or worsen. But major institutional improvements and more efficient, comprehensive social programs could mean real hope for sustainable peace and justice.[more inside]
"Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results." [more inside]
Len Bias has been dead for longer than he has been alive. For ESPN Michael Weinreb examines how the tragic death due to a cocaine overdose of this young, up and coming basketball star affected both the sport and American drug policy. Meanwhile at Deadspin, Tommy Craigs explains how twentytwo years after his death Len Bias still makes everyone crazy.
This "intellectual beverage" and temperance drink (after they took the alcohol out) contains the valuable tonic and nerve stimulant properties of the Coca plant and cola (or Kola) nuts. Or it used to, until they took the cocaine out. But why did they do that? Not because it was illegal--that didn't happen until eleven years later.
The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
"The Mexican drug cartels are at war... with Mormons. VICE founder Shane Smith went down to Ciudad Juárez, near the US border, to investigate this story ... filled with guns, drugs, murder, and Romneys." [more inside]
In the '80s, price increases in marijuana drove demand toward other drugs. The war on drugs hard, soft, or otherwise helped persuade pot smokers to put down the bong and pick up the pipe, the mirror, or the needle.
The Street Price of Cocaine, Country to Country The Economist's report is based on data from the UN's recently released World Drug Report.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Law enforcement authorities are in awe of the new wave of narco "supersubs" that are being found in the jungles of Colombia. [more inside]
This is an advice column by an L.A. party girl who likes to talk shit on the internet. E.g. She’ll take your questions about the point of Serious Relationships. And give you advice about your sexual identity. Or tell you about a little something called Prince Charming Disease. There’s some advice about managing your existential crisis too. Even replies to fifteen year old girls on tumblr about their teenage flirting. There is also tons of fun sized advice. In her own summary: “What I [write] may be unfiltered, but it’s still cooked up from the same basic ingredients as the rest of pop culture.” It’s “Shady advice from a raging bitch who has no business answering any of these questions.” It’s Dear Coke Talk. [more inside]
Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
Andrew Fraser was a successful Victorian barrister until he was jailed for drug trafficking. The investigation against him was led by Detective Sergeant Malcolm Rosenes, but before Fraser entered prison Rosenes was charged with drug trafficking and conspiracy, for which he himself was later imprisoned. In an unlikely twist, Rosenes later approached Fraser to write an account of police corruption in Victoria. The book has been withdrawn from sale in Victoria, allegedly because it identifies informers and a "protected witness", but the publishers say that the material is old news that is publicly available (pdf), while Fraser suggests that the government wishes to avoid any embarrassment immediately before a State election.
Two minutes of worlds colliding: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers' Roadrunner and Egyptian Reggae, as interpreted by house dance troupe Legs & Co. on Top of the Pops.
Just a bit late for Canadian Mental Health Week, legendary children's author Robert Munsch has admitted to cocaine and alcohol abuse to cope with bipolar disorder. [more inside]
Obesity: The killer combination of salt, fat and sugar - "Rewarding foods are rewiring our brains. As they do, we become more sensitive to the cues that lead us to anticipate the reward. In that circularity lies a trap: we can no longer control our responses to highly palatable foods because our brains have been changed by the foods we eat." [more inside]
So what is an enterprising cocaine cartel to do when tight airport and border security threaten to cause one to miss out on a massive boom in european cocaine use? Well, for starters one sets up shop on Africa's west coast where the police often aren't paid for months and the 4 cars of some country's police force can mostly sit idle due to a lack of gas money. Oh, and in Guinea Bissau - no coast guard! In addition to bringing even more corruption and violence to Africa, the status of being the transhipment point of about 3/4 of all cocaine heading to Europe brings a Miami-style economic stimulus. And as colombian cartels are generally more concerned with getting cocaine out of Colombia at a profit than getting it all the way to its destination, we're probably only a few years away from a senegalese Scarface.
When Pablo Escobar escaped from prison in 1992, a lot of people in Colombia began to lose sleep. Some of these people formed Los Pepes - People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar - a collection of Escobar's fiercest narco competitors, paramilitaries and columbian authorities with perhaps even american intelligence assisstance. After taking care of Escobar the victorious narcos, as the Cali Cartel, went on to rule the world of cocaine. For about three years. A younger, more ruthless crew inside the Cali Cartel quickly did away with the old guard and established what is still today considered the largest supplier of cocaine in the world, the North Valley Cartel.With many former police officers in its upper ranks and the assisstance of one of the Colombian military's top antinarcotics officers, the North Valley Cartel was more likely to run a wiretap than be caught on one.Still, as to the whole omerta thing? North Valley Cartel bigshot Andres Lopez AKA Florecita (little flower?), after turning himself in to american authorities, cooperating and serving about 2 years in prison, wrote a book. El Cartel de los Sapos (Cartel of the Snitches) was then made into the most popular telenovela ever by Colombia's Caracol and dominated just about every market its played in. Oh yeah, and telemundo is streaming them all for free with subtitles as we speak. Not quite The Wire, but still a must see.
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