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DEA and Secret Service agent charged in Silk Road fraud schemes

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Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges were charged this week with money laundering and wire fraud stemming from their involvement in the Silk Road dark web undercover investigation.

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Vaping hoodie with mouthpiece in the drawstring


Vaprwear has a vaping chamber in the central pocket that feeds smoke out through the drawstring around the hood; they cost about $100 each, in a variety of styles. No word on washing instructions.

Pfizer threatens pharmacists, doctors if they take its name in vain


Pfizer's patent on pregabalin -- an anti-epilepsy med -- expires this year, but there's another patent on using the public domain drug to treat neuropathic pain; in a shocking letter to UK doctors, the pharma giant warns of dire consequences should medical professionals dare to prescribe the generic for the patented use.

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Random Darknet Shopper: Internet art randomly spends $100/wk of Bitcoin in darknet


It's part of a Swiss gallery exhibit called The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland, where all the random junk the algorithm buys (from ecstasy to fire brigade master-keys to boxed Tolkien sets) are displayed.

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Chinese food seller sells "addictive" opium-laced noodles

A noodle seller in China's Shaanxi province was arrested for seasoning his soup with powdered opium poppy to "make it taste better and to improve his business," according to news reports.

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Cough syrup from the heroic age


"One Night" because taking enough of it will make this night your last.

this is your periodic reminder that old-timey medicines did not fuck around

(via Seanan McGuire)

Short film: THANKS

Tom Patterson's short film "Thanks" sets a deep hook, then yanks it loose with a sharp tug. Beautiful and moving and only 12:37 (and they made it in less than 24h!). (Thanks, Tom!)

DEA's D&D-themed patches


They may be corrupt, authoritarian, racist and sleazy, but their FPRG-inspired mission patches are cool -- but of course, square-ass pinks who take jobs as DEA spooks are so lame that they flog them on Ebay, for your ironic fashion pleasure.

Dungeons and Dragons-themed DEA Patches

CBS Boston thinks Molly is EDM is MDMA

UPDATE: In an apparent effort to hide their stupidity, CBS Boston used a copyright claim to get the clip yanked. You can still watch a Vine of the best bit and read about it here.

CBS Boston discussing the importance of education when dealing with drug issues: "The drug Molly, also called MDMA or EDM..." (via Mixmag)

Colorado's booming legal weed economy


It's not just the $10M in taxes the state's earned in four months -- it's also the $12-40M in law enforcement savings from not busting and imprisoning pot smokers.

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Cops bust cybercrook who sent heroin to Brian Krebs

Sergei "Fly" Vovnenko, a Russo-Ukrainian cybercrook who stalked and harassed security journalist Brian Krebs -- at one point conspiring to get him arrested by sending him heroin via the Silk Road -- has been arrested. According to Krebs, Vovnenko was a prolific credit-card crook, specializing in dumps of stolen Italian credit-card numbers, and faces charges in Italy and the USA. Krebs documents how Vovnenko's identity came to light because he installed a keylogger on his own wife's computer, which subsequently leaked her real name, which led to him.

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Funny parody of famous Dragnet "Blue Boy" episode

[Video Link] Frank Conniff of Mystery Science Theater, and former Mr. Show, and Chris Rock Show writer Mike Upchurch produced a surreal "lost" Dragnet episode. They have digitally inserted popular alt-comedians into the 1967 cop show Dragnet, and turned it into a story about bad cops trying to eradicate a powerful strain of medical marijuana. It's technically stunning, exceeding Forest Gump and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in both ambition and outcome, while being produced in a living room for only $200. Quite a feat for something with this much technical complexity and extended post-production.

Perhaps due to the producers' possibly active membership in the 420 community, the video was uploaded and barely released last year, (7pm on 4/20, 2013 the unofficial version was uploaded.). In keeping with the procrastination theme, little fanfare was made in 2014. But we at Boing Boing understand, and we are sharing their overlooked gem with you.

(NSFW due to language.) With: Chris Fairbanks, Tom Kenny, Josh Fadem, Johnny Pemberton, Pat Healy, Lizzy Cooperman, Emily Maya Mills, and Susan Burke.

What would it be like if other NYT columnists took drugs and wrote about it?

24ff4ffc-af41-474c-bb83-9a75fd837d70-460x276Sarah Jeong has the absolute funniest mockery of NYT columnist Maureen Dowd's silly "I ate 16 times too much marijuana while alone in a hotel room therefore drugs are bad" column.

Jeong assumes the persona of Malcolm Gladwell on ketamine, Thomas L Friedman after noshing weed brownies, Gail Collins rolling on ecstasy, Ross Douthat on psilocybin mushrooms, and Paul Krugman snorting up crushed Adderall.

I was on nothing more than a cup of tea, and I laughed 'til my sides hurt.

Related: Cannabist says Dowd is lying in the column.

Photo, via Guardian: Krugman tweeking. DonkeyHotey / Flickr via Creative Commons.

Fake drugs and the plague that never lifts

To pharmaceutical firms, legitimate replicas and outright fakes are much the same: neither make them money. But to sufferers in the developing world, the difference is life and death. Charles Ebikeme on the big business of counterfeit medicine in the developing world.Read the rest

More in US die from prescription narcotics than car crashes, guns, suicide

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More than 100 Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses, mostly painkillers. That's more daily deaths than from car accidents, gunshot wounds, or suicides. In California, two county District Attorneys are suing five of the biggest drug companies in the world, and the lawsuits include the same kind of arguments once used against big tobacco industry, demanding "public protection."

Warren Olney's "To the Point" radio show has a segment on the topic today:

The companies are accused of a "campaign of deception" to persuade doctors that narcotic painkillers are safer than they really are. But the narcotic painkillers involved have been approved by the FDA. Is a government agency helping create a "population of addicts?" What's the role of physicians who write the prescriptions? Are they ill-informed, poorly trained or trying to make money?
More on the case at advocacy group harmreduction.org, and there's a Los Angeles Times writeup here.

UN: Hundreds of new synthetic psychoactive drugs flooding the globe

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Some 348 new synthetic drugs have popped up in over 90 countries around the world, according to a report released today by the United Nations' drug agency [PDF].. The report confirms that meth remains king, and its production is growing in places you might not expect--like West Africa.

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Police dashcam records suspects kissing to hide drugs

eightballsTwo men sitting in the back of a police car in Oklahoma. Man 1 has three eightballs of meth in his mouth. He wants to eat the evidence, but fears he will die if he eats all three packages. He asks Man 2 to eat one. Man 2 agrees. They transfer the drugs in a kiss. Unbeknownst to the men, the incident is recorded on video. Now they are both charged with possession of methamphetamine and destruction of evidence.

Mayor Rob Ford recording: drunken, sexist, racist, homophobic, abusive rant


The recording of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack (again) isn't the only recording to emerge of the mayor; he was also recorded making drunken, racist, homophobic, misogynist remarks at a bar where he was also abusive to the bartender and said rather revolting things about his wife.

Of note in the recording was the mayor's vulgar remarks about Karen Stintz, one of his electoral rivals. Ford previously called another female political rival a liar after she accused him of drunkenly grabbing her ass and propositioning her at a Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee.

In other news, the mayor also allegedly participated in an all-night, coke-fuelled drunken sex party at a nightclub where he vomited in the toilets in between verbally jousting with Justin Bieber and entertaining a group of "party girls" with his entourage.

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New Rob Ford crack-smoking video emerges, Ford takes "break" from re-election campaign


Rob Ford has announced a "break" from his re-election campaign for mayor of Toronto, after a video of him smoking crack last weekend surfaced, being offered for sale by a drug-dealer for seven figures:

In one of the clips shown to The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, the mayor rapidly shifts his weight back and forth on the spot, talking into his cellphone and his right arm swinging at his side. When the camera pans around the room, a man that looks like Alessandro “Sandro” Lisi, the mayor’s former driver and an accused drug-dealing extortionist, can be seen in the background. Mr. Ford’s sister, Kathy, who has admitted in media interviews to being a drug addict, is sitting in front of her brother. In the last of three clips, Mr. Ford is holding the pipe and speaking to his sister.

Rob Ford takes leave as new drug video emerges [Robyn Doolittle and Greg McArthur/The Globe and Mail]

Afterparty: neuro-technothriller


Afterparty is a new, excellent science fiction novel by Daryl Gregory, about drugs, God, sanity, morals, and organized crime. Its protagonist, Lyda Rose is a disgraced neuroscientist who once helped develop a drug that rewired its users' brains so that they continuously hallucinated the presence of living, embodied Godhead. Now Lyda is in a mental institution, where she is attempting to win over the therapists who oversee her -- as well as the angelic doctor that manifests only in her mind.

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A visit to a legal recreational marijuana store

I had kind of expected to find that, following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Boulder's head shop business would merge with the newly created legal pot business, to create a sort of Super Head Shop — where one could purchase both Grateful Dead teddy bear T-shirts and the substances necessary to make those shirts seem cool.

I was wrong.

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The War on Drugs makes us less safe

Conor Friedersforf counts the ways, but it comes down to saying "we've failed, sure, but we might succeed if only you gave us more money."

Drone drug deliveries in jail

Drones are being used to drop care packages of drugs into Quebec prisons, according to Stephane Lemaire, president of the province's correctional officers' union. On Sunday, guards at the Hull jail watched a drone flying over the yard but couldn't determine if it delivered any contraband. The Ottawa Sun paraphrased Lemaire as saying, "Officers don't have the right guns to take out drones -- especially near city centres -- and a net or even a jammer that would disrupt the drone's signal would go a long way."

First clinical LSD trial in 40 years shows positive results in easing anxiety of dying patients

In Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases, a new paper published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, a Swiss psychiatrist named Peter Gasser and his colleagues report on the first controlled trial of LSD in forty years. Gasser used LSD therapeutically to treat 12 people nearing the end of their lives, and concluded that their anxiety "went down and stayed down."

Many psychopharmacologists believe that psychedelics such as LSD have therapeutic benefits that could be realized if the strictures on them were loosened. David Nutt, the former UK government drugs czar, called the ban on psychedelics in therapeutic settings "the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo". He devotes a whole chapter to psychedelics in his brilliant book on drug policy, Drugs Without the Hot Air. If you only read one book about drug policy, read that one.

Gasser's trial is positioned as a major move in the struggle to end the damage the War on Some Drugs has wrought on legitimate medicine. It used a randomized double-blind protocol to dose some dying patients (most with terminal cancer) with LSD as part of an anxiety-reduction strategy. The results were dramatic and positive. In a NYT story, some Gasser's patients relate their experiences with the therapy:

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Rob Ford's pitiable moment on Jimmy Kimmel

Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford flew to Los Angeles for an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show. What followed was more than a little awkward. Kimmel is a great pains to hide his dislike of Ford, but he's not entirely successful. The hardest part comes at the end, when Kimmel confronts Ford with the fact that he is an out-of-control alcoholic, whose blackouts, binges, abuse and dangerous behavior are putting him, the city, and the people he loves at risk. Ford's total denial is genuinely pitiable. Joey Davilla has a very thorough writeup of the appearance, with links to the other parts of the video.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declares "Bob Marley Day"

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declared yesterday to be "Bob Marley Day." It's hard to read the tea-leaves on this one: is it a wink-wink reach-out to the stoner vote from a mayor who admitted to smoking crack and who has been accused by his staff in sworn affidavits of both smoking weed at work and offering weed as a ransom in exchange for the return of his lost mobile phone? Is it a charm offensive aimed at Toronto's large Jamaican/West Indian population, many of whom were offended by the mayor's drunken impression of an angry, ranting patois-speaker? Is it a totally non-ironic celebration of a great musician and great political thinker (albeit one whose politics ran totally contrary to the mayor's own)?

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Meth offered 'as casually as a cup of tea' in North Korea

There's not much stigma attached to meth use in harsh North Korea, writes Los Angeles Times reporter Barbara Demick, interviewing North Koreans in China.

Some take it to treat colds or boost their energy; students take it to work late. The drug also helps curb appetites in a country where food is scarce. It is offered up as casually as a cup of tea, North Koreans say. "If you go to somebody's house it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff," said Lee Saera, 43, of Hoeryong, also interviewed in China. "It is like drinking coffee when you're sleepy, but ice is so much better."

More: LA Times.

Smoke-a-Bowl tees commemorate a Superbowl between two legal pot states, and raise money for NORML


Kyle from Bumperactive writes, "On February 2, Washington and Colorado, the first two States to legalize recreational marijuana, compete in... The Smoke-A-Bowl! Bumperactive is celebrating the historic event with a special edition of three Smoke-A-Bowl IVXX tees, and a sticker set. $5.00 from the sale of every tee, and $2.00 from every sticker pack, benefits the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). 'Cause it ain't just about feelin' groovy. It's also about ending half a century of disastrous and inhumane drug control policy. We're 4% of the way there. Orders ship via USPS next business day!"

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Texas governor Rick Perry moots pot decriminalization

Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed the idea of decriminalizing marijuana. Note that this is not Colorado/Washington-style legalization (which would give Texas access to a flood of tax-dollars from a legal industry), rather, it's decriminalization, which means that you will get a ticket if you get caught with small amounts of pot. That deprives the state of tax revenue, but saves the state some money on the prison system, and allows police the all-important discretion to disproportionately hassle brown people and anyone they find suspicious. (via Reddit)

Nostril-wedged maggots of Portsmouth: Otorhinolaryngologist's expert opinion explained

More on yesterday's story about a nasal-wedged maggot scare in Portsmouth, RI's middle school (refresher: the Portsmouth Middle School sent parents a terrifying letter warning of a student Smartie-snorting epidemic and predicting that children would end up with maggots in their noses that feasted upon the sugar residue).

John McDaid, the investigative blogger who broke the story, tracked down Dr. Oren Friedman, Associate Professor, Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania, who was quoted in the letter the school sent home as warning that "frequent snorting could even rarely lead to maggots feeding on the sugary dust wedged inside the nose."

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