dana liebelson

Dana Liebelson


Dana Liebelson is a reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. Her work also appears in Marie Claire and The Week. In her free time, she plays electric violin and bass in a punk band.

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Rick Perry Mansplains His Wife's Opinions on Abortion

| Wed Oct. 2, 2013 11:01 AM EDT

Memo to first ladies: If you express a remotely controversial opinion, don't bother attempting to defend your remarks. Your husband can do that for you.

Governor Rick Perry's (R-Texas) views on women's reproductive rights are crystal clear: He's shuttered family planning clinics across the Lone Star State, championed abstinence education, and blamed rising teen pregnancy rates on the fact that America is ignoring the Boy Scouts. But last weekend, Anita Perry, who worked as a nurse before becoming the First Lady of Texas, said that abortion "could be a woman's right." Given her husband's efforts to destroy every last abortion clinic in Texas, news of her quote spread like wildfire. But before pundits' ink could dry, the governor made sure to shut that whole thing down.

“From time to time we’ll stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and you pounce upon it,” Perry said to the press yesterday during an appearance in New Jersey with Republican US Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. Anita Perry has not made any further public comment about her remarks—although they didn't seem to leave much room for interpretation:

In the interview she said, "it's really difficult for me...I see it as a woman's right, if they want to do it, that's their decision, they have to live with that decision." In response to a follow-up question from a Texas Tribune reporter—"are you saying that you believe abortion is a women's right, to make that choice?" Anita Perry said, "Yeah, that could be a women's right. Just like it's a man's right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I don't agree with it, and that's not my view." In the past, Anita Perry has done fundraising for a group called the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, which supports abortion rights. The Washington Post pointed out that Rick Perry pushed for his controversial (among social conservatives) executive order requiring HPV vaccines after his wife made a speech on the subject.

Perry will retire at the end of his third term. State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democrat famous for staging a marathon filibuster against Texas Republicans' restrictive abortion bill, is expected to run, probably against Greg Abbott, the Republican state attorney general. Abbott, who opposes abortion, has not said whether he would make an exception for rape or incest, but noted that "we just don't discriminate against a child because of their beginnings."






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Zombie Apocalypse Drug Reaches US: This Is Not a Joke (Graphic Image)

| Thu Sep. 26, 2013 3:00 PM EDT

Krokodil, a highly addictive designer drug that aggressively eats through flesh, has reportedly arrived in the United States. A Phoenix CBS affiliate revealed this week that two cases involving krokodil had been phoned into a local poison control center and quoted one of the center's medical directors, Dr. Frank LoVecchio, saying he and his colleagues were "extremely frightened." While the US Drug Enforcement Administration has not yet received a sample of the drug for analysis, and thus cannot confirm it was krokodil, Barbara Carreno of the DEA told Mother Jones that the agency often learns about new synthetic drugs (including the infamous bath salts) through local poison-control centers. "We've been scrambling to see what we know about the cases in Arizona," she added. "This concerns us very much." 

Krokodil, technically known as Desomorphine, has a similar effect to heroin, but is significantly cheaper and easier to make. In the last few years, it's been wreaking severe havoc on the bodies and lives of Russian youth. The drug earned its nickname—the Russian word for crocodile—because of the ghastly side effects it has on the human body. Wherever the drug is injected, the skin turns green and scaly, showing symptoms of gangrene. In severe cases, the skin rots away completely revealing the bone beneath. Other permanent effects of the drug include speech impediments and erratic movement. Rotting flesh, jerky movements, and speech troubles have prompted media outlets to tag krokodil the "zombie drug." According to Time, the average user of krokodil only lives two or three years, and "the few who manage to quit usually come away disfigured." Quitting is its own nasty business. Heroin withdrawal symptoms last about a week; symptoms for krokodil withdrawal can last over a month.

Krokodil use has skyrocketed in poor rural communities in Russia in the last few years, despite the troubling side effects. The Federal Drug Control Service in Russia told Time that in the first three months of 2011, it confiscated 65 million doses of the drug. Desomorphine didn't originate in Russia; the potent painkiller was patented in the United States in 1934. It only became a recreational drug about 10 years ago, when it surfaced in Siberia. The Independent reported in 2011 that up to 5 percent of Russian drug users have used krokodil—as many as 100,000 people. Zhenya, a former user in Russia, told the Independent that when she used to inject krokodil, she was "dreaming of heroin, of something that feels clean and not like poison. But you can't afford it, so you keep doing the krokodil. Until you die."

The main ingredients in krokodil are codeine, iodine, and red phosphorous. The latter is the stuff that's used to make the striking part on matchboxes. Sometimes paint thinner, gasoline, and hydrochloric acid are thrown into the mix. Like meth, it's fairly easy to cook up in a home kitchen. You need a stove, a pan, and about 30 minutes. The drug is then injected directly into the vein, producing a high that lasts about an hour and a half. According to the Week, each injection costs about $6 to $8, while heroin is up to $25.

Carreno of the DEA says that krokodil isn't a controlled substance yet because the agency has to have more evidence that it's a public health problem. "You don't want a federal agency going around making things illegal willy-nilly…We'd have to see more than two cases before we control it," she notes. "But people are mixing codeine and gasoline, and shooting it into their veins. What do they expect?"

In the mean time, if you want to feel disgusted and never eat lunch again, look at the graphic picture below of a krokodil user. For more gruesome images, go here.



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