Police in Salerno, Italy made the largest drug seizure in history: 15.4 tons of amphetamines valued at US$1.12 billion. The Guardia di Finanza say that the pills—found inside three shipping containers at the port—were produced by ISIS in Syria. Scanners didn't detect the haul but police knew to expect them. From CNN:
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"We weren't able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra (Italian organized crime group)," [Commander Domenico Napolitano] said[...]
The Camorra bring the drugs to Italy and take a cut for helping to distribute them, Napolitano added.
The pills carried the "Captagon" logo, which "distinguishes the 'drug of Jihad,'" according to the statement.[...]
"The hypothesis is that during the lockdown, due to the global epidemiological emergency, the production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe has practically stopped and therefore many traffickers with different organized crime groups have turned to Syria, where it does not seem to have slowed down," police said.[...]
Captagon was originally the brand name for a medicinal product containing the synthetic stimulant fenethylline. It is no longer produced or used, but drugs carrying the Captagon name are regularly seized in the Middle East, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
On June 12th, 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the San Diego Padres while he was high out of his god damn gourd on LSD. As he told the Ottawa Citizen:
I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher's] glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me.
Ellis also regaled the tale for a 2009 NPR interview, the audio of which was animated by cartoonist James Blagden into the animated short above, which has long since been one of my favorite things on YouTube.
Follow your dreams, children.
More on Dock Ellis's legacy and drug habit:
The Man Who Pitched a No-Hitter While Under the Influence of LSD Has Found a New Delivery: He Coordinates a Substance-Abuse Rehabilitation Program : Ellis: ‘I Couldn’t Pitch Without Pills’ [Jerry Crow / Los Angeles Times]
The Long, Strange Trip Of The Dock Ellis LSD No-Hitter Story [AJ Daulerio / Deadpin]
How Dock Ellis dropped acid and threw a no-hitter [Larry Getlen / New York Post] Read the rest
Spanish police arrested Nacho Vidal — a porn star with a side hustle making penis candles — for suspected manslaughter following a "mystic ritual" in which participants smoked the psychedelic venom of the Colorado River Toad. According to Vidal's attorney Daniel Salvador, the fellow who died, photographer Jose Luis Abad, had "previously tried that substance and wanted to try it again" in a "comfortable" setting. Vidal "considers himself to be innocent" and insists the death was accidental. From the BBC News:
The actor, who has featured in hundreds of pornographic movies, had been under investigation for 11 months over the death of the photographer, Spanish police said.
Mr Vidal and the two other suspects were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and violating public health laws. All three were released provisionally.
Investigators said they had discovered toad rituals were being carried out regularly on grounds they offered medicinal benefits.
But the "apparently harmless ancestral ritual" posed a "serious health risk", attracting people who were "easily influenced, vulnerable or who were seeking help for illnesses or addictions using alternative methods", a police statement said.
(Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)
image: "Colorado River Toad" by I, Wildfeuer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Listening to people talk about their drug trips usually isn't very interesting but a new Netflix documentary proves that listening to FAMOUS people talk about theirs is.
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS is a documentary featuring comedic tripping stories from A-list actors, comedians, and musicians. Star-studded reenactments and trippy animations bring their surreal hallucinations to life. Mixing comedy with a thorough investigation of psychedelics, HAVE A GOOD TRIP explores the pros, cons, science, history, future, pop cultural impact, and cosmic possibilities of hallucinogens. The film tackles the big questions: Can psychedelics have a powerful role in treating depression, addiction, and helping us confront our own mortality? Are we all made of the same stuff? Is love really all we need? Can trees talk? Cast members include Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Ad-Rock, Rosie Perez, A$AP Rocky, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, and Rob Corddry to name a few. Written and directed by Donick Cary. Produced by Mike Rosenstein, Sunset Rose Pictures, and Sugarshack 2000.
Watch for the celebrities talking about tripping and stay for the trippy animations! Read the rest
"I feel so brain dead I can't even speak." Find out what happens when two editors from Popular Science quit their six-cup-a-day coffee habit for two weeks.
From the YouTube description:
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Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug on the planet. Like all good things in this world, it should be consumed in moderation—but PopSci editors Jess Boddy and Claire Maldarelli were definitely not following that unwritten rule, guzzling between six and ten cups of coffee per day. That put them at risk for disrupted sleep, heart palpitations, unusual nervousness, and more. So they decided to detox. Will their torturous 14-day cut regulate their sleep patterns and teach them to respect caffeine for the powerful drug that it is? Find out on this week's episode of Test Dummy.
You've probably received spam emails inviting you to join class action lawsuits against the makers of over-the-counter heartburn medicine Zantac (ranitidine) as it contains a likely carcinogen. Today, the US Food and Drug Administration requested that all ranitidine products be pulled from store shelves and that consumers properly dispose of any they've already purchased. You should expect even more Zantac class action spam. From CNN
The FDA noted that an ongoing investigation has determined that levels of a contaminant in the heartburn medications increase over time and when stored at higher-than-normal temperatures, poses a risk to public health.
The contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is a probable human carcinogen and the FDA has been investigating levels of it in ranitidine since the summer of 2019.
"We didn't observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that we tested," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in Wednesday's announcement.
"However, since we don't know how or for how long the product might have been stored, we decided that it should not be available to consumers and patients unless its quality can be assured," Woodcock said in part.
More: "FDA Requests Removal of All Ranitidine Products (Zantac) from the Market" (FDA)
image: "Ball-and-stick model of the ranitidine molecule" from A. Hempel, N. Camerman, D. Mastropaolo and A. Camerman (2000).(public domain)
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Karl Rock, a YouTuber who posts tourist tips for travelers to India, uses a hidden camera to film people running recreational drug operations in their restaurants.
For some reason, drug dealers think I look like a drug user, so I often get approached in India and asked if I want to buy drugs. Mumbai and Goa are real hotbeds for drug selling to foreign tourists. It's not as common in Delhi, where I live.
I don't do drugs, and this video is a warning not to go with these dealers and buy their product. It's no doubt fake product and you're putting yourself in a dangerous situation if you go down some dark alleyway with them. Not to mention you have no idea what these guys are selling you! Buying drugs in India is incredibly dangerous.
One dealer says to him, "Weed and heroin. You like ketamine? You guys like LSD?" He reminds me of Easy Andy from Taxi Driver:
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Please enjoy the underground classic "Rabbit Habit" by Steve Peck, who writes:
This is an animated cartoon I produced myself in 1975 to show what Bugs, Daffy and Elmer would be doing in Central Park 12 years after WB stopped making Looney Tunes.....I showed it to Tex Avery in 1975 when he was 80 and he loved it and said "I wish I had a job to give you." Showed it to Chuck Jones. He was very conservative and did not like what I had done to his characters and did not offer me a job.
(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
In Ashland, Louisiana, a woman has been arrested on drug charges when police decided the $5,000 cash she used to post an inmate’s bail carried the “strong odor of marijuana.” The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office started nosing around Stormy Lynn Parfait, 33, last Friday after she showed up to pay bond for an inmate jailed on drug charges. Read the rest
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government presents this new public service announcement to warn children against cannabis bats, among other things. Rough translation of the video description via Google Translate:
In Tokyo, we created educational videos, posters, and leaflets for the younger generation to raise awareness of the prevention of substance abuse. The contents are easy to understand about the dangers of drug abuse such as cannabis and dangerous drugs, the effects of abuse, and how to decline when invited.
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On Wednesday, Panama's National Aeronaval Service seized this homemade semi-submersible vessel in territorial waters off Bocas del Toro. Authorities discovered 5 tons of drugs inside and nabbed four Colombian citizens.
According to CNN, "the ministry (of public security in Panama) did not specify what type of drugs were seized in the raid, but smugglers have previously been caught using similar vessels to transport cocaine into the United States and Europe."
Indeed, you may recall the intense video below from last summer showing US Coast Guard crew members boarding a similar narco-sub in the Pacific Ocean:
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In Florida, sheriff's officials say a trail of pill bottles stolen from a Florida pharmacy led detectives to a home where they encountered two men who matched descriptions of robbers seen on surveillance video. Read the rest
Here is another fabulous list of important records, this one organized around the theme of "most drug-addled." As with the avant-garde list, this author's choices are ripe for debate. The writing on the entries is also fun.
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RAMPANT MADNESS, cheap powder, and the whiskey river: below are the 50 most debauched, sodden, and certifiable records in music history.
The rules are simple: being merely eccentric while swathed in outlandish clothing fails to qualify. Having done an epic amount of street powder while getting handjobs in the groupie van is not enough. Hell, Steven Tyler claims to have spent $3 million on cocaine over the years, but would Aerosmith have sounded one iota different if they’d been straight edge? It’s the same reason Mötley Crüe doesn’t warrant space on this list. Sure, they snorted live ants (actually, that was Ozzy) and mainlined Jack Daniel’s to stave off epic boredom, but their music would have been exactly the same steaming pile of hair regardless.
No, to make this list, the music on a given album has to bleed chemical influence while also leaching a very specific brand of desperation and/or madness. The vocals, the rhythm, the melody–all have to be drenched in reverb, compression, and frighteningly altered states that could not have been recorded any other way.
Except through a blind leap into the void. Roll it, pour it, cook it, crush it, or just get stone-cold crazy; the needle will drop into the groove either way.
But excess is never enough.
A California lawyer was arrested by federal authorities who say she was also selling guns and distributing methamphetamine. Sadly, neither are covered under attorney-client privilege. Read the rest
Researchers from Texas A&M say they have found a quick, cheap, and accurate way for law enforcement agents to differentiate pot and hemp – using lasers. Read the rest
'Marijuana Moment' publisher Tom Angell tweeted today about the impact of impeached president Donald Trump's new budget on marijuana law in America. Read the rest
Yes, things will get nuttier, because now he has impunity. Read the rest