drugs

Austin
12:15 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

How an Intervention Changed 12th & Chicon, Austin's Most Infamous Intersection

A new strategy for tackling drugs at 12th and Chicon streets – an "intervention" initiative to assist, rather then arrest, low-level users – is making a change.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

It's a pretty uneventful morning at the corner of 12th and Chicon. Buses are running smoothly and on time. There's even a new art gallery in the area.

But there was a time – not too long ago – when prostitution, drugs, and other illegal activities were going down in the open, in the middle of the day.

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Drugs
10:26 am
Mon June 16, 2014

A Chinese Chemical Company And A 'Bath Salts' Epidemic

An empty lab used by China Enriching Chemistry, which was accused of shipping illegal drugs to the U.S. Eric Chang, the company's director, is currently in jail in China, where he was charged with producing ecstasy.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:16 am

There were times a few years back when the emergency room at SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse looked like a scene from a zombie movie. Dr. Ross Sullivan, a physician there, recalls one afternoon when staff wheeled in a man with dilated pupils who was covered in sweat.

"The patient was screaming obscenities, and anybody he would pass, he was threatening and saying he was going to kill them," Sullivan recalls.

Police suspected the patient had taken "bath salts," the notorious synthetic stimulants that were ravaging scores of American communities at the time.

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Medical Marijuana
12:08 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Why Veterans Could Influence Texas Medical Marijuana Laws

A story in Texas Monthly's June issue poses the question: Can Texas veterans change the minds of state lawmakers against legalizing medical marijuana?
flickr.com/eggrole

Can more than 1.5 million Texas veterans change the minds of state lawmakers opposed to legalizing medical marijuana?

William Martin, director of the Drug Policy Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, poses that question in the June issue of Texas Monthly. In his article “War Without End,” Martin talks with veterans using pot to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The story that’s most illustrative is a woman who uses the name Myst," Martin says. 

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Health
8:52 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Beezin' May Be Bogus, But Other Dopey Teen Fads Can Bite Back

Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 1:00 pm

Another month, another apocalyptic news report of some weird substance that kids are abusing in pursuit of a high.

The most recent example is "beezin'," which supposedly involves smearing Burt's Bee's lip balm on one's eyelids. The tingling allegedly heightens the sensation of being drunk or high, according to the Oklahoma Fox News affiliate that first declared this a "viral trend."

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Life & Arts
4:00 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

The Moyers on Addiction: A Public Family Talks About A Private Problem

Texas Standard's David Brown (left) recently sat down with Bill, William and Judith Moyers for a discussion of addiction.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Addiction affects nearly 23 million Americans, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Yet only about 10 percent of those affected are receiving treatment.

Addiction comes at a high price to society. It's estimated that drug and alcohol abuse costs the United States around $500 billion a year in health care spending, lost productivity and crime. But perhaps the friends and families of those struggling with addiction can best attest to the emotional, psychological and social toll of the illness.

One American family knows the struggle addiction brings all too well. 

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Crime & Justice
11:22 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Obama Seeks Wider Authority To Release Drug Offenders

President Obama signs the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, as Attorney General Eric Holder and a bipartisan group of senators look on.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 3:17 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Obama administration is formulating new rules that would give it, and the president, far more latitude to pardon or reduce the sentences of thousands of drug offenders serving long federal prison sentences.

The move comes amid a broad national reconsideration of mandatory minimum sentences approved by Congress in 1986, when America's big cities were in the grip of a crack cocaine-fueled crime wave.

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Crime & Justice
11:40 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Report: Central Texas Home to Some of the State's Most Established Gangs

The report shows that Central Texas has a high concentration of gang activity.
DPS 2014 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

The Texas Department of Public Safety released its annual report on criminal gang activity in Texas this week.

This year’s Texas Gang Threat Assessment found that gangs continue to pose a substantial threat to public safety. Central Texas is home to some of the most established gangs in the state. The report estimates that with more than 4,600 gangs, overall gang membership in this state is more than 100,000.

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Borderlands
4:55 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits

A woman uses a cash machine at an HSBC bank office in Mexico City. The multi-national bank was heavily penalized several years ago for permitting huge transfers of drug cartel money between Mexico and the U.S.
Enric Marti AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:20 pm

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

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Borderlands
4:45 am
Thu March 20, 2014

At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South

Many drug cartel members die young, and when they do, their families often spend lavishly to construct mausoleums that look like small condos.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 10:07 am

The international drug trade goes in two directions: Narcotics go north and money goes south. All the drug profits made on the streets of U.S. cities like Chicago and Atlanta and Dallas are funneled down to ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border where they're smuggled back into Mexico. In 2012, one federal agency alone, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seized $411 million in cash hidden in vehicles, mostly heading south.

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Mexico
3:48 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

El Chapo's Arrest Punctures Drug Lord's Near-Mythical Status

Mexican Marines escort Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to a helicopter in Mexico City on Saturday.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:18 am

One of the world's most powerful drug lords has been captured. Mexico's head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was arrested in an operation that Mexican officials say involved the cooperation of U.S. authorities.

Guzman has been on the run for years and his capture puts an end to one of the longest and most profitable careers in the drug world. That capture began as the sun rose up over the hotel-lined beaches of Mazatlan early Saturday morning.

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Health
11:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

FDA Asks Doctors To Stop Prescribing High-Dose Acetaminophen

The prescription painkiller sold under the brand-name Vicodin contains hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. To reduce the risk of liver damage, the Food and Drug Administration is moving to limit the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription medicines.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 10:17 am

The pain reliever acetaminophen is easy on the stomach. But at high doses, the drug can be hell on the liver.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to refrain from prescribing drugs that contain high doses of acetaminophen to minimize the risk of liver damage.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in nonprescription Tylenol. But it's also inside quite a few prescription pain pills, including Vicodin and Percocet.

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Crime & Justice
10:19 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Study Shows Texans Support Changing How The State Punishes Drug Crimes

Rather than locking people up for non-violent drug offenses, the latest poll shows Texans favor rehab, which experts say also saves money.
Flickr user 710928003 cc

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:43 am

A new poll released this week shows Texans strongly support reforming how the state punishes non-violent drug offenses. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice polled over 1,000 people about how Texas currently punishes non-violent drug offenders with prison time vs. drug rehab and probation.  

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Health
7:52 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Heroin In The 'Burbs: Women Moving From Pain Pills To The Hard Stuff

Sara Kendall, 26, lives in Oak Cliff with her son Jaxon. Kendall got hooked on prescription pain pills in high school, and then heroin. She got sober with the help of Nexus Recovery Center in Dallas, which she still visits to share her story.
Lauren Silverman KERA News

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:57 am

When a heroin epidemic swept through North Texas in the 1990s, it left at least two dozen young people dead. Then the drug seemed to go into hibernation.

Now the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s seeing an alarming number of women from affluent Dallas suburbs buying heroin. And, for many, the addiction begins with prescription pain pills.

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Veterans
9:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Interactive: Hearing on Prescription Drug Epidemic Among U.S. Veterans

A new report says that U.S. veterans are more likely to be prescribed addictive, and potentially lethal, opiates after returning home.
KUT News

According to a new report, the number of prescriptions veterans received for powerful opiates has surged since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Central Texas veterans' prescriptions have jumped by nearly 340 percent, leading to increased risk of abuse, drug overdose and death, according to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from war [the Department of Veterans Affairs]instead masks their pain with potent drugs, feeding addictions and contributing to a fatal overdose rate among VA patients that is nearly double the national average.

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Crime & Justice
4:20 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Alleged Mastermind of Deep Web's Hidden Drug Marketplace Has Austin Ties

TOR is software used to access the deep web.
flickr.com/brendangates

The man behind Silk Road – a site on the hidden “deep web” where users can buy drugs – has been arrested. And he appears to have Austin ties.

The FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht this morning, accusing him of multiple offenses in connection with running Silk Road.

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Texas
11:13 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Border Drug Busts Putting Strain On Texas County's Budget

Trains that once deposited travelers for shopping and dining in dusty Sierra Blanca, Texas, no longer stop here. Interstates further eroded the local economy as more people chose to live and shop in El Paso, 85 miles away.
G.W. Schulz The Center for Investigative Reporting

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 6:25 pm

As they walk through the front door, visitors to the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office in Sierra Blanca, Texas, get punched by the overpowering odor of marijuana.

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Border
11:22 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Why Texas Border Counties Aren't Prosecuting Some Drug Cases

http://www.flickr.com/photos/inkflip/6383917241/

Interview with G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents are making so many drug busts near the border that local officials are struggling to pay for prosecuting them, the Center for Investigative Reporting found out. We spoke with CIR reporter G.W. Schulz about what they discovered in Hudspeth County, Texas. 

Austin
7:06 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Community Walk Through 12th and Chicon Saturday

The area around 12th and Chicon Streets has been known as an open air drug market for decades, says APD commander Fred Fletcher.
aaronisnotcool at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavalierhorn/4073578979/

Austin police are hosting a "community walk" Saturday through an area of the city infamous for its open-air drug market. APD has targeted the area of 12th and Chicon Streets since last year with a so-called Drug Market Intervention program modeled after an effort in High Point, North Carolina.  

The program allows non-violent drug dealers to have their criminal cases suspended if they agree to work with family members or community groups to receive drug treatment and job training. The program got up and running last year after local law enforcement saw it had been used across the country with impressive results, the Austin Chronicle reported in an extensive piece last July. 

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Health
7:38 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Austin Wants Your Old Drugs

The City of Austin wants to help you dispose of expired drugs.
Bobby Blanchard/KUT News

The City of Austin is offering a free, easy and anonymous way to dispose of expired prescription drugs.

The city will host its annual drug take-back day this Saturday at three locations around town, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three take-back locations in Austin are Cornerstone Church, City of Austin Household Hazardous Waste Facility and Barton Creek Square Mall. At these locations, residents can anonymously drop of drugs and syringes in a way that is environmentally safe.

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Courts
8:55 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Zeta Drug Money Laundering Trial Starts Today in Austin

Prosecutors say Morales laundered drug money through horse racing businesses.
flickr.com/cefeida

Opening statements in a drug money laundering trial get underway in an Austin courtroom today. 

Among the men charged: Jose Trevino Morales. Federal prosecutors call Morales the brother of two top leaders of the Zeta drug cartel, and say he’s involved in a money-laundering scheme for the cartel: hiding millions of dollars in drug money in the horse racing business in Texas and other states.

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