Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season due to his involvement with a former "anti-aging" clinic called Biogenesis that allegedly supplied athletes with human growth hormone, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and other performance-enhancing drugs (Taiwanese animation video). Alex Rodriguez is expected to be suspended next, along with 15-20 other Major League Baseball players, with punishments expected to linger into the 2014 season.
"Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine." [more inside]
Dr. Carl Hart, psychopharmacologist at Columbia, bust pernicious drug myths and talks provocatively about race and the "War on Drugs."
Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]
Art, so difficult to value, is an ideal currency if you want to frustrate the banking regulations of the Patriot Act. So much easier than shipping honey. But who keeps this market orderly? And why would such an important person branch into other illegal activities such as gambling operations? Did he bore of backgammon?
Widespread fraud has been discovered in the case of an Indian generic drug manufacturer that makes generic Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) and many other drugs. Ranbaxy has "pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs with intent to defraud." [more inside]
If you fancy diversity in cheeses, you might have come across queso Chihuahua, or Chihuahua cheese, a Mexican semi-soft cow milk cheese. But if you're in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the cheese is called Queso Menonita or Campresino Menonita, for the Mennonites who first made the cheese in this region. The Mennonites in Mexico are a small but growing socio-religious pocket of that has retained much of their traditional Dutch and German heritage, despite a series of moves, from Russia to Canada, and finally Mexico. Mexican photographer Eunice Adorno spent time with Mennonites in Durango, capturing moments in their lives. [more inside]
"I am a master at sullying my own name and, all things considered, being associated with the worst software on the planet ranks way down the pole." John McAfee (previously) answers questions about his latest shenanigans
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]
Popular Science explores the psychology behind anti-drug PSA's and whether they help keep kids off drugs... [more inside]
A group of respected entertainers (and some not-as-respected celebrities), businessmen, Civil Rights leaders and academics have signed an open letter calling on the President to #EndTheWarOnDrugs. [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]
Czeched Out—the Czech Republic decriminalized possession of all drugs, from mushrooms to meth, in 2010.
Ayurveda: Hoax or Science? "'Western science identifies these systems as folklore. They don’t see it as an organised system of knowledge—this is an alien epistemology to them because their medical traditions only go as far back as the medieval times and renaissance.' There is also the very real problem of complexity in natural-product research. It is harder to develop a drug from Ayurveda than it is to build a synthetic molecule, because of the large number of compounds in each Ayurvedic herb. All these factors are responsible for the state of Ayurvedic medicine today."
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.
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. Summary: Inside the Cover Story. Related video: The Exorbitant Prices of Health Care [more inside]
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.
A short animated infographic that pretty clearly explains the extent of the illegal drug and weapon problem shared by Mexico and the United States.
You might be surprised by what we’re about to say: the most tight-lipped, conservative and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker’s paradise
High maintenance: a nameless cannabis delivery guy delivers his much-needed medication to stressed-out New Yorkers in this character-driven web series.
In this interview with Collectors Weekly, opium antiques expert Steven Martin talks about How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.
Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2013 - Intoxication - essays and notes on drug-taking, from across eras.
Operation Delirium. "The military’s secret Cold War experiment to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals. Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets." [Via]
Fresh is the story of a 12 year old drug pusher and the world he inhabits. It stars Sean Nelson as Fresh, Samuel L. Jackson as his father, Sam, and Giancarlo Esposito as the dealer Esteban. The whole film is on Youtube in multiple parts.
Some evil bastard has stuffed a bag of dope into a hole behind my house and turned my life into the backdrop of a James Ellroy noir.
I was born in Washington DC. I was potty trained at one and a half. Was reading at age two. Saw my first porn at a drive-in when I was six, in the back seat. Started getting in trouble with the law when I was about ten. And then kept getting in trouble until twenty one I went to prison and then when I got out came to Tennessee and went to college here in Johnson City and then I’ve just being doing art ever since. Art has saved my life, it’s like the best therapy in the world. Jon Ronson meets Bryan Saunders, who has created 8,700 self-portraits including, including most notably, 50 whilst under the influence of various different drugs (previously)
Rapid Growth Seen in Addiction to Painkillers The escalating use and abuse of powerful painkillers can be found in rich societies from the UK, across Europe to the antipodes. But the country that really knows all about prescription pill excess, and the human toll it claims, is the US. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population but consume 80% of the world's supply of opioid prescription pills. [more inside]
What do NASCAR's AJ Allmendinger, Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants safety Tyler Sash, Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies, and many other athletes have in common? They have all used a performance enhancing substance that is growing in popularity among athletes, one that is widely prescribed and which is taken by millions of children every day. The drug in question is Adderall: The combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [more inside]
John McAfee is the founder of the McAfee security software company, one of the first and, to this day, one of the biggest. But it's what he has done since leaving the company in 1994 that has attracted him notoriety. After working on instant messaging software for a few years, McAfee devoted himself to thrill-seeking: yoga, jet skiing, and "aerotrekking," or flying small aircraft at low altitudes. After the 2008 financial crisis reportedly wiped out most of his personal fortune, once estimated at $100 million, McAfee decamped to Belize, where he began promoting a business venture aimed at halting the spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. But as science writer Jeff Wise (who also wrote the aerotrekking article) detailed after interviewing him in 2010, McAfee's commitment to the project seemed half-hearted at best, and his behavior came off as erratic and even paranoid. In a follow-up article, written after Belizean police raided McAfee's compound on suspicion of illegal weapons possession and drug manufacturing, Wise explores how "the enlightened Peter Pan seems to have refashioned himself into a kind of final-reel Scarface."
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]
"Based in Brisbane, Australia, Stuart uses the medium of comics to explore serious issues with a unique perspective and a sense of fun." - War on Drugs and more, and even more. [Previously]
A Voter’s Guide to Legalizing Marijuana..at the state level
Brian O’Dea is a big time drug smuggler on his way out of the game when he gets a call from his sworn enemy with the deal of a lifetime. Buckle up for an international ride of shady characters, huge scores, and the true tale of a man who always had to keep one step ahead [16:47 min. audio]. From the Trust Me episode of Snap Judgment on NPR.
Thousands of drug-related convictions in Massachusetts may be challenged as investigators learn more about improper evidence handling and testing at a Department of Public Health laboratory. Over 50,000 samples related to 34,000 convictions were tested by a single chemist at the lab, who is alleged to have violated multiple laboratory protocols. Governor Deval Patrick's office has identified 1,141 inmates currently serving time in Massachusetts whose convictions may be affected by the investigation. [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]
PBS Newshour brings the science on bath salts (previously). Contains graphic descriptions of awesome laboratory experiments. via BoingBoing
The Fake-Pot Industry Is Coming Down From a Three-Year High - a fascinating read on the multibillion-dollar "herbal incense" business and its latest legal woes after the introduction of more severe legislation on synthetic cannabinoids. Featuring the rise and downfall of Mr. Nice Guy, rogue chemists, warehouses exploding, DEA undercover operations and "the Saul Goodmans of synthetic cannabinoids" - two attorneys specialized in providing "Cutting Edge In Incense Testing and Compliance" services to manufacturers to help them "stay one step ahead of the law". (via longform) [more inside]
Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods." [more inside]
Drugs have changed a lot in the past ten years. You have, mainly, these two men to blame/thank for most of the fervor. Laws are flexing accordingly. [Shulgin previously: 1,2]
"I don't want to die doing drugs. I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion."
"Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at training camp at Lehigh University." Garrett's legal troubles and struggle with addiction were widely publicized over the years due to his high profile father. After leaving prison he fought hard to change this legacy and was employed as a trainer with the team at the time of his death. "Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart." [more inside]
Marina Akhmedova amongst the crocodile addicts of Yekaterinburg - published and censored in Russia, translated and mirrored on opendemocracy. "They check intently who is getting how much, and count out the eyedrops. If I ran right now into the middle of the kitchen and bellowed at the top of my voice, they would not turn round. Their world extends only a few metres and has the cooker and its hood at its centre. It is not a world within the world: it is their entire world, a world as narrow as a coffin, but all-encompassing for those who live in it, a world which follows its own laws. In it there are neither saints nor sinners, no thieves or benefactors, only the harsh laws of survival. There is no truth, no certainty about anything, not even that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is a world which arises when people are dicing with death. A supreme, inexorable law instantly appears, an axis around which their universe revolves: it is the right of those as yet still human to play a game they have chosen for themselves."