Is the St. Louis Metro Police Department Hiding a Drug Task Force?

Categories: Drugs, Police

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St. Louis Metro Police/Facebook
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received $200,000 in grant funding for a drug task force that they say does not exist.

That might sound strange, but city officials tell Aaron Malin, a researcher for Show-Me Cannabis, the marijuana reform group, that they don't know about any so-called "drug task force." And that's despite several government records showing that grant money has been awarded to the non-existent drug task force and other records that tally the number of arrests the unit has made. These records were obtained by Malin via Missouri Sunshine requests.

Malin tells Daily RFT that he believes there can only be two explanations.

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Missouri Drug Task Forces Seize a Lot of Money and Don't Keep Close Records Of Where it Goes

Categories: Crime, Drugs, Police

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When drug task forces in Missouri confiscate money and valuables during narcotics investigations, they keep about 80 percent of what they seize through a federal asset forfeiture program. They are supposed to document what that money is used for, whether it's new equipment, overtime, or other expenses.

However, the form they fill out is vague and the drug task forces themselves say they aren't sure where much of the money goes without the help of accountants to figure it out.

According to Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force 2013 asset forfeiture report, which was obtained by Aaron Malin of Show-Me Cannabis through a Missouri Sunshine request, more than $141,000 out of $204,991 in seized assets spent by the task force was put in the "other" category.

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People Are Using More Heroin Because It's Cheaper Than Painkillers

Categories: Drugs

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wikimedia/hendrike
Doing heroin just makes good economic sense.
A new study conducted by Wash. U. says that an increasing number of drug addicts simply can't afford fancy painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin anymore, so they're switching to a cheaper alternative: heroin.

Dr. Theodore J. Cicero and his team based the findings on data collected between 2010 and 2013 from 150 drug-treatment centers across the country, which included surveys completed by 9,000 painkiller addicts. They found that 2,800 of these patients said heroin was their primary drug. But the researchers found that in many cases, it wasn't because the patients wanted it.

"Heroin has now been cleverly marketed by dealers as a cheaper and more accessible alternative," Cicero, a psychiatrist who studies opioid addiction, tells Daily RFT. "Interestingly, most people don't want heroin as their drug of choice, but can't afford their preferred opioid of choice."

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St. Louis Native Amber Lyon Starts News Site Devoted to "Psychedelic Journalism"

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Reset.me/Youtube
Psilocybin mushrooms in Mexico.
As a journalist for CNN, St. Louisan Amber Lyon had reported on some heavy issues, including war, government oppression, and sex trafficking. Being around that took its toll, and she showed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But instead of taking prescription medication for relief, Lyon turned to natural psychedelics, and the experience led her to create Reset.me, a news website devoted to psychedelic journalism.

The site, set to launch this month, aims to be a resource for people interested in learning more about psychedelics like ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms as treatments for a wide range of mental and physical ailments. But before last year, Lyon says she had never tried any of these substances before. A straight-edge woman from Chesterfield, Lyon only tried ayahuasca out of desperation to cure her PTSD.

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Gov. Nixon Evades Questions About Jeff Mizanskey, Man Serving Life in Prison for Pot

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Gov. Jay Nixon
Governor Jay Nixon came to St. Louis on Friday for a ceremony celebrating the building of a dental school. And after the event, he finally addressed the topic of granting clemency to Jeff Mizanskey, the man who has been in prison for more than twenty years, serving a life without parole sentence for marijuana charges.

Well, maybe "addressed" is being a bit generous.

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Child Accidentally Shoots Brother, Media Blames Marijuana

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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Wikimedia/Gale82
A tragic accident involving a four-year-old shooting his three-year-old brother occurred Sunday. Fortunately, the younger brother is OK, but because the father was in another room allegedly smoking marijuana, the St. Louis County police and local media decided to make that the focus of the story.

The shooting happened around noon on Sunday. A loaded gun was hidden inside a closet, and the child was able to reach it. He and his brother played with the gun and it went off, a bullet striking the younger brother in the left shoulder. The child was treated at a local hospital for soft-tissue injury and released.

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"Free Jeff Mizanskey" Efforts Continue with Billboards and 360,000 Signatures

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Show-Me Cannabis
The billboard is on I-70 in Saline County.
Efforts to release Jeff Mizanskey, the only man in Missouri serving a life-without-parole sentence for a nonviolent marijuana charge, are continuing this month with help from Show-Me Cannabis and Change.org.

Show-Me Cannabis has bought billboard space on I-70 near Kansas City (and near Sedalia, where Mizanskey was arrested). The billboard features a photo of Mizanskey and says: "Life without parole for cannabis? It's time we fix our unjust marijuana laws."

A photo of the billboard, which is on I-70 in Saline County, not far from where Mizanskey was arrested in Sedalia, can be seen above.

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Are Mexican Drug Cartels "Marketing" Heroin to Pain-Killer Addicts in St. Louis?

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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richiec/Wikimedia
Any good business needs good advertising.
A Washington Post article this week reported on the rise of heroin coming into the United States and mentions Mexican drug traffickers' "shrewd marketing strategy": targeting areas where prescription-drug abuse is high, including St. Louis.

According to the story, drug cartels aren't making as much money on marijuana, mainly because laws are changing in the U.S., and the need for Mexican weed isn't as high as it once was. The cartels are still making money off of cocaine and human trafficking, but cartel leaders have mansions and tigers to pay for, so heroin is coming into the U.S. at a greater pace.

But the cartels aren't just picking areas of the U.S. at random. Rather, they've decided to cut in on the pharmaceutical companies' action:

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CEO of Marijuana Transport Co. with Members Named "Soup" and "Nut" Sentenced to 30 Years

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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David Ingram Henderson
If you bought some weed in St. Louis between 2006 and 2010, the man your dealer probably got it from has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

On Thursday, David Ingram Henderson, 39, of Maryland Heights, was sentenced after having been convicted last November of one felony count each of "conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana; conspiracy to manufacture over 100 plants of marijuana, and the manufacture of 100 marijuana plants."

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Study: Women and the State of Missouri Are Taking Lots of ADHD Meds These Days

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Wikimedia/Sardaukar Blackfang
Vyvanse is one of several medications used for ADHD.
Express Scripts, a St. Louis-based medication prescription company, has released a report saying usage of ADHD meds have risen substantially over the past few years -- and it's adult women, not young boys, who have increased their pill popping the most.

The study looks at 400,000 pharmacy claims out of 15 million patients with ages ranging between 4 and 64. The time frame was 2008 through 2012. Overall, the number of Americans using ADHD medication rose 36 percent during those four years.

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