"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
Bartolo Colon, now of the New York Yankees, underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to regain his old form.
Contrary to the liberalism many read in a highly-publicized DOJ memo in 2009, federal authorities are cracking down on medical marijuana establishments that exist in the gray area between state and national statutes.
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]
Bill Moyers interviews David Simon "Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It’s the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. As we said before, economically, we don’t need those people; the American economy doesn’t need them. So as long as they stay in their ghettos and they only kill each other, we’re willing to pay for a police presence to keep them out of our America."
The recently retired Manny Ramirez was one of the most inscrutable players in recent history. Ben McGrath of the New Yorker attempted to figure out Ramirez's motivations in this 2007 piece.
TheFix.com is a new site targeting the more than 40 million Americans who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. It features Ask-An-Expert videos, news, editorials and thorough reviews of rehab facilities based on Zagat's system. Founded by Maer Roshan, one of the founders of Radar Magazine. (Via) [more inside]
Employed as a Counterterrorism Analyst, But Think Your Bosses Are Misunderstanding the Problem? Quit your DoD post and write a book! Offer it for free, on the Web. Oh, and do it anonymously. Reddit AMA here.
"In the Bible, God appeared to Ezekiel as a “wheel within a wheel”. Spirals and concentric circles are commonly found in petrogylphs carved by cultures long dead. Similar visual effects are reported during extreme psychological stress, fever delirium, psychotic episodes, sensory deprivation, and are reliably induced by psychedelic drugs."
Form Constants and the Visual Cortex, or Where Psychedelic Visuals Come From.
Form Constants and the Visual Cortex, or Where Psychedelic Visuals Come From.
The Wire's Felicia ("Snoop") Pearson has been arrested as part of large scale drug raids according to the Baltimore Sun. Life imitates art, but in this case art had closely imitated life, as Pearson was not a trained actress, but grew up in tough Baltimore neighbourhoods and has a conviction for second degree murder for an act at the age of 14. However in recent years she had been involved in anti-violence campaigns and other work with young people.
Progesterone caproate injections have been used to reduce the likelihood of premature births in at-risk pregnant women for years. Up until now, the drug was custom-compounded by wholesale and specialist pharmacies, legally, but without federal approval. These injections cost between $5 and $15 a dose and were regularly reimbursed by insurance companies and Medicaid. Last month, the FDA announced their approval of a commercially produced version of the compound, to be marketed under the brand name Makena by a company called KV Pharmaceuticals. No stranger to controversy and trouble, KV barely survived a rash round of layoffs and wrongful termination lawsuits. Their former chief executive now faces criminal charges surrounding the company's failure to notify the FDA that they were producing oversized morphine tablets. (He could also do for a shave, it appears.) Now, KV has announced that the new drug will be available at a cost of $1,500 per dose, bringing the total pregnancy term cost of treatment to $25,000-$30,000, from its former cost of $250-$300, a 100-fold increase—but it gets worse... [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
Katie Granju 's 18-year old son Henry lost his battle with drug addiction in May 2010. Since his death, a scholarship fund to send teenagers to rehab has been started in his honor, a short documentary on his life has been posted online, and his mother is using her blog to seek justice for those involved in his death. The Introduction and Parts 1, 2, 3 of her quest have been posted, with more to come.
The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years How the British fell out of love with drugs
Can a Single Pill Change Your Life? Oprah Magazine examines recent studies on the use of MDMA (the main ingredient in Ecstasy) to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Recreate a part of history in High Tea, a game where you trade Indian opium in China to supply tea to England. Part of the High Society exhibit at Wellcome Collection. [more inside]
Descendents of early French Huguenots, the Ravenel family of South Carolina ranked among the most prominent members of the state's planter class. Arthur Ravenel, Jr. continued the Ravenel tradition of public service, serving in the South Carolina house and senate and then in the U.S. House of Representatives. He once referred to the NAACP as the "that organization known as the National Association for Retarded People" although he later apologized, but only to people with mental and physical challenges. He also once called for the military to shoot down any plane suspected of smuggling drugs. Arthur's son Thomas Ravenel had little contact with his father after his parent's divorce, became a self-made millionaire through real estate development, narrowly missed winning the Senate seat now held by Jim DeMint, was elected South Carolina Treasurer, was the subject of an investigation into his cocaine use (of which he was warned by his father), was indicted on a federal cocaine charge and resigned, and served 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine. On Saturday, Thomas Ravenel took to the pages of the Charleston Post and Courier to call for an end to drug prohibition, hoping the celebrity of being a former rising star in the Republican Party who went to prison will help advance his position.
it started in a vestibule, it ended in having to start a wiki to keep track of everything Craig Finn says
The Hold Steady is a band that tends to write songs that are stories about drugs and sex and Jesus. There is a wiki that keeps track of all of their reused characters, locations, and self references, among other things.. Because of their songwriting style, the NPR annotated versions of "The Swish" and "The Cattle and the Creeping Things" as well as their TVTropes entry are also worth a look. You can listen to their latest album on the Guardian website.
Two years ago, Mann says, he had never seen a pot plant. Today, he envisions weGrow becoming the "Wal-Mart of Weed", a vertically integrated chain of big-box stores perfectly positioned to cash in on California's booming marijuana industry as it moves from the shadows to the mainstream. In this "green rush" for semi-legal weed, Mann and his partner Derek Peterson, a 36-year-old investment banker, seek to be the modern equivalents of Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan—the Gold Rush entrepreneurs who made a killing not from mining, but from selling pans, pickaxes, and victuals to the forty-niners.
Bath salts are said to improve cleaning, improve the experience of bathing, serve as a vehicle for cosmetic agents, and some even claim medical benefits. But now bath salts are becoming the next big drug menace.
'On March 30th 1995, I started doing at least one Self-Portrait everyday for the rest of my life. At present I have over 7,900 of them. [...] After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence.'
Video footage of an experimental LSD session from the 1950s, which concludes with a short discussion with philosopher Gerald Heard.
High Society Mini-site to accompany an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on the history and culture of mind-altering drugs. Includes image galleries, essays and a quiz.
Meet the Ethical Placebo: "A provocative new study called 'Placebos Without Deception,' published on PLoS One today, threatens to make humble sugar pills something they’ve rarely had a chance to be in the history of medicine: a respectable, ethically sound treatment for disease that has been vetted in controlled trials." [Via]
Our Meth House. Jenn Friberg and Rob Quigley bought a home in Bristol, PA. What they didn't know is that it been used as a meth house. Too bad they didn't read How to avoid buying a meth house first.
The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
The Boston Globe displays some pretty spectacular pictures of the drug war in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There's not a whole ton of context available within the article, but the pictures speak for themselves.
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.
Mr. Llewellyn [ . . . ] boasts that his safety testing method is foolproof: He and several colleagues sit in a room and take a new product "almost to overdose levels" to see what happens. "We'll all sit with a pen and a pad, some good music on, and one person who's straight who's watching everything," he says. [more inside]
US Charity offers UK drug addicts £200 to be sterilised, according to a BBC report to be shown this evening, Project Prevention, which pays $300 in the US, "seeks to reduce the burden of this social problem on taxpayers, trim down social worker caseloads, and alleviate from our clients the burden of having children that will potentially be taken away."
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.
Jillian Lauren recently wrote a book about her experiences as a harem girl in Brunei. LA Weekly also went in-depth into her story.> [more inside]
Chantix (aka Champix) is a drug developed to help people quit smoking. It works by binding nicotine receptors in the brain. It has side effects -- nausea, gas, suicidal ideation, and strange dreams. "Strange dreams"? Yep, it's right there in the official side-effects from Pfizer (17.13). Here's a strange dream. Here's another. Here's some more. [more inside]
While most of the attention in the war on drugs has been focused on Mexico of late, the opium trade in Afghanistan is still alive. Though perhaps not as well this year, as Tajikistan reports far less opium crossing the border, attributed to more use within Afghanistan as well as an unexplained poppy blight. With yields dropping and prices rising, US-backed efforts to encourage farmers to grow alternate crops (previously) may be derailed, despite a trade agreement with Pakistan which promises to open the country's borders to more trade in legitimate consumer goods with India. Meanwhile, people are looking into ways to turn the poppy fields into biofuels.
This November, California citizens will decide whether or not to legalize the possession, buying and selling of, and recreational use of marijuana. Early polls concerning proposition 19, also known as the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010", reveal a slight majority for legalization, as well as an interesting case of status quo bias. (Previously) [more inside]
In a pilot Phase II study of PTSD sufferers with a median of 19 years since diagnosis, MDMA-assisted therapy resulted in 10 out of 12 patients no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria. [more inside]
Is laundering Mexican drug cartel money too big too fail? Wachovia/Wells Fargo are discovered to be laundering many many billions of dollars. As in $380,000,000,000. Charles Bowden, in a recent interview with Amy Goodman, discusses the everyday reality of what life is like in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, and his most recent non-fiction account of the "Global Economy's New Killing Fields", in the just published book Murder City. Meanwhile, the drug violence now involves car bombs in Ciudad Juarez, the city across the border with El Paso. Guns go out of America, and drugs come in. [more inside]
Homemade submarines up the drug smuggling ante - CNN recaps a Vice story from 2009 where reporters toured a narco-sub seizure facility in Colombia [full video - 27:48]. [more inside]
Billy Ray Bates, in his words, was "an average player who can do fantastic things. After flaming out in the NBA, he became a legend in Phillippine Basketball Association.> [more inside]
In 20 Years ... Upload a photo of yourself and the site produces a predictive illustration of what you'll look like in 20 or 30 years. And as an added bonus, you can toggle whether you're a drug addict or not. [more inside]
An article in the June issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society of the Biological Sciences finds that "differences in reproductive strategies are driving individuals' different views on recreational drugs": namely, that views on sexual promiscuity are more closely related to views on recreational drug use than religion, political affiliation or other predictors. The study suggests attitudes against recreational drug use are an evolutionary attempt to promote reproductive stability.
73 dead in Kingston, Jamaica after four days of fighting resulting from the search for alleged drug dealer Christopher 'Dudus' Coke. He remains at large. [more inside]