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When they can't afford oxyconton, small town Americans turn to heroin

Getting High for Less: Easier Access to Better, Cheaper Heroin Cripples Small Towns | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS
Lest the name "black tar" fool you, this dark and muddy blob is actually the newest and purest form of heroin hitting the market. Black tar dealers are cashing in by selling cheaper high-quality highs to former prescription drug users in middle-class communities across America. Not long ago, we visited one of the many new venues vulnerable to heroin addiction in America: old-timey Crawford County, Ohio. And a more recent New York Times story further chronicled the startling drug craze. Nestled between major urban hubs, Columbus and Toledo, Crawford County, with 47,000 residents, a median household income of $32,000, and a broken-down industrial base, is a sitting duck. As jobs and hope have left town, stress has mounted dramatically. "There's never a day that we don't see patients for depression," says Crawford County physician and coroner Dr. Mike Johnson. Prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety meds provide a relatively easy fix, paid for with OPM*. But they can be highly addictive. And what happens when you can't convince your doctor to keep prescribing? Buy on the open market? A rich radio personality like Rush Limbaugh may be able to afford a hard-to-break habit. (In 2003 prosecutors charged him with "doctor shopping" after learning that four doctors had prescribed him about 2,000 pain pills in six months.) But few people in America's industrial blight land have Limbaugh's resources. Enter a very accessible, extremely affordable alternative: 'black tar' heroin. It's cheap. It's powerful. It's hitting the mainstream in areas like Crawford. . . .

August 16, 2011

New York gets eight inches of rain in one day, breaking all records ever

NYC Swamped by Record Rainfall - Local News - AllMediaNY
Record rainfall swept across the New York City area Sunday, as up to 8 inches of rain flooded roadways and halted trains. Kennedy Airport recorded 7.7 inches of rainfall by 9 p.m. Sunday night – breaking its previous record of 6.3 inches set in June 1984. The National Weather Service reported that it was the most rain recorded there in a single day since it began keeping records 116 years ago. Lido Beach in Nassau Country, Long Island, saw the worst of the storm with 10.87 inches by dusk. . . .

August 10, 2011

Detroit: Soul Suited

Soul Suited - Arts - Detroit Metro Times
James Hewlett sits in a west-side McDonald's, nursing a small bag of fries. He's drawing stares because it's early afternoon and he's dressed like he's about to hit the stage of the Apollo Theater. Fifty years ago. "People, they ain't used to people lookin' like this," says the best-dressed man within a mile of this McDonald's. "Somebody told me yesterday, 'Why do you dress like that?' I said, "Because life is a celebration, and every day you ought to dress like it's your last day." Hewlett, 55, is a traveling church organist and sometimes guest preacher. His look lies somewhere between Little Richard and Jackie Wilson on the rhythm-and-blues spectrum, with some of his own flair thrown on top. Today he wears a crisp gray suit despite the sweltering summer heat. His shoes were once part of an alligator. A handkerchief spreads across his lapel, arranged in folds and held in place by pins. His tie is studded with a massive fake diamond earring, while another earring juts from his ear, held in place by Superglue because his earlobe is torn. And his hair is a magnificent cascade of waves and curves, sculpted by the same hairdresser the Temptations visited back in their heyday. A woman approaches, wide-eyed. "I was just admiring you," she says. "I like your colors and stuff." . . .