Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'drugs'

A Quick Fix

October 22nd, 2013 · 3 Comments

Given the state’s reputation as a mecca for opioid absuers, you will probably not be surprised to learn that West Virginia leads the nation in drug-overdose deaths. Yet the problem evidently has less to do with the sheer number of narcotics consumed than with a dangerous (and nonsensical) quirk of law: The state doesn’t allow […]

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High Stakes

March 6th, 2013 · 6 Comments

I was recently intrigued to learn that 45 percent of the world’s opiate alkaloids—that is, the ones incorporated into prescription medicines rather than illicit narcotics—come from Tasmanian poppies. The Australian state’s dominance in this industry is the result of several factors, starting with its unique geography; tucked away in the Southern Hemisphere and surrounded by […]

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Can’t Buy a Thrill

October 16th, 2012 · No Comments

Given that 2.4 million Americans have served in either Afghanistan or Iraq, there is bound to be a point at which some veterans who run afoul of the law will point to their combat experience as a mitigating factor. When lawyers cobble together such defenses, they will doubtless flip back to United States v. Tindall […]

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The Persistence of Myth

October 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

It has become an article of faith that the illicit drug business is every bit as sophisticated as its Fortune 500 counterparts. But a closer look at the industry’s transportation practices reveals some definite scientific shortcomings. As this Dutch study of drug-courier techniques demonstrates, trafficking networks continue to employ concealment practices that have long been […]

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Reality Check

July 26th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Compared to the Games of the late Cold War, when steroids were integral to athletic success, this year’s Olympics will be remarkably clean. Yet we also know that drug use has not vanished—how could it, give the rewards at stake at the ultra-competitive nature of those tempted to use? The big question is what percentage […]

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The Specialist

January 18th, 2012 · 10 Comments

By now you may have heard of the landmark federal conviction of Alfred Anaya, who played a key role in a drug trafficking ring that moved product from Mexico to the Midwest. What makes Anaya’s downfall so interesting is that fact that, by the government’s own admission, he never touched any drugs himself; his role […]

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Groggy

November 29th, 2011 · 2 Comments

It’s no secret that myriad small Pacific nations are having problems with First World diseases, especially those related to obesity. Fiji’s dictatorial government believes that its citizens’ expanding waistlines are due not only to food consumption, but also to overindulgence in yaqona, a mild intoxicant you may know better as kava: Fiji’s all-time favourite pastime, […]

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

September 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Knocking back a few pints with fellow scribe Doug Merlino last night, the conversation inevitably turned to sports—or, more specifically, the late 1980s heyday of Sports Illustrated, the magazine that taught us both to love the art of storytelling. We both remembered that this vintage era of SI featured a ginormous number of “as told […]

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Leisure Defines the Man

August 1st, 2011 · 11 Comments

Coming off a hugely frustrating weekend of writing, in which I ended up deleting hundreds upon hundreds of words that seemed cold and lifeless upon the screen. After much thought and a few of these, I figured out a big part of my problem: In an effort to make the story more vivid, I was […]

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Spirited Away

July 29th, 2011 · No Comments

One of the most interesting aspects of researching my slot-machines yarn for Wired was the whole extradition angle. In fact, I’d daresay that’s what attracted me to the story in the first place—the fact that the United States government deemed the crime grave enough to go an fetch someone from Latvia, a country that had […]

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Wormholes

May 27th, 2011 · 4 Comments

After much travel-related unpleasantness—most occurring by Gate F8 at the Philadelphia airport—I’m back in my beloved Atlah. Thanks so much for putting up with this week’s sporadic posting; rest assured the absence will pay off down the line, as I managed to collect some dynamite research for my next book. Getting really excited about how […]

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Would These Men Juice?

May 16th, 2011 · 3 Comments

For obvious reasons, I have been avidly following the performance of Mongolian grandmaster Dul Erdenebileg at the ongoing World Draughts Championship in The Netherlands. (Previous checkers-related posting here.) In the course of keeping up on the tourney’s matches, I noticed something rather odd: the organizing body is apparently quite serious about drug testing. The complete […]

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Charlie Don’t Surrender

March 1st, 2011 · 9 Comments

Over the past day or so, I’ve once again been flooded with mail regarding my Alcoholics Anonymous opus from last July’s Wired. The reason, of course, is Charlie Sheen’s recent decision to come out hard against the organization, which he accuses of being (and I paraphrase) a fraudulent mind-control cult with an abysmal success rate. […]

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Cancer Sticks in the Clink

January 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments

One of my favorite economics story of the millennium is the Wall Street Journal‘s 2008 A-head about the use of tinned mackerel as prison currency. It’s a fantastic testament to the primacy of money; even when removed from ordinary society, humans always find a way to regulate their commerce by creating tangible symbols of achievement. […]

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Theater of the Absurd

December 21st, 2010 · 3 Comments

The hooded lady above was not a bandit, but rather a New York City detective who worked the 21 Jump Street beat in the early 1970s. Kathleen Conlon earned her gold shield after surviving a scary incident in the Bronx: While working on an undercover narcotics unit, she was dragged into an alley, assaulted, and […]

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Juiced

November 10th, 2010 · No Comments

It’s no secret that the world of thoroughbred racing now mimics the very worst aspects of professional cycling, with so many contests determined by pharmaceutical aids. Less well-known is the impact that performance-enhancing drugs have had on other animal-centric sports, where doping has become commonplace despite the relatively meager financial rewards on offer. Pigeon racing, […]

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Near-Death Nation

November 8th, 2010 · 7 Comments

Readers who’ve been checking this space for a while may remember that I have a longstanding fascination with near-death experiences and the ways in which they can alter lives. And so I was struck by this line from a recent Wall Street Journal piece about researchers’ continuing attempts to determine why, exactly, folks on the […]

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The Leaf of Allah

August 6th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Whenever Somali Islamists have managed to carve out some measure of political influence in the Horn of Africa, one of their first legal maneuvers has been to outlaw the chewing of khat. Their stated rationale is simple: Khat causes pleasure, pleasure leads to decadence, and decadence is the enemy of piety. It is exactly the […]

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The Khat Economy

August 4th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Where would the Ethiopian economy be without the mild, broadly illegal stimulant known as khat? Apparently in quite dire straits: Coffee and khat exports earned Ethiopia close to 737 million dollars, which was 36.9pc of the total foreign exchange of two billion dollars that the country earned in the 2009/10 fiscal year with 36.5pc, 729.1 […]

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A Tooth for a Tooth

July 19th, 2010 · No Comments

(Cross-posted to Ta-Nehisi Coates) In certain precincts of Albania, where familial ties still mean everything, minor grudges have a way of spiraling seriously out of control. Take the the sad case of the Morevataj clan, which has been embroiled in a decade-long blood feud thanks to a drunken spat that ended in murder. According to […]

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Not-So-Deadly Nightshade

June 25th, 2010 · 11 Comments

One of the most controversial aspects of AA’s history is the role that psychedelics may have played in Bill Wilson’s creative process. As I discuss in the Wired piece, when Wilson experienced his spiritual epiphany in December 1934, he did so at a New York City drying-out facility. Part of his treatment there consisted of […]

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Playing the Drug War Odds

June 15th, 2010 · 7 Comments

The ship above, the gargantuan M/V Dole Chile, was recently found to be carrying $2 million worth of cocaine into Delaware’s main port. The drugs were stashed in the ventilation system of a container loaded with bananas, which the ship delivers weekly to the Port of Wilmington. All in all, a nice little catch for […]

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A Chemical Solution to a Chemical Problem?

April 27th, 2010 · 5 Comments

We’re in the midst of whipping through Nick Reding’s Methland, which is a fantastic feat of reporting. It takes an intrepid writer, indeed, to spend such a vast amount of time in small-town Iowa, connecting with tweakers and those who loathe them. While Methland has earned major plaudits for its human touch, we’ve been more […]

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The Lowdown on Brown-Brown

April 12th, 2010 · 24 Comments

If you haven’t read it already, Jon Lee Anderson’s latest dispatch from Guinea is well worth your time. The piece does an excellent job of conveying the chaos of Moussa Dadis Camara‘s brief reign, which was marred by one of the great atrocities of recent vintage. Suffice to say that Dadis and his cronies come […]

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The Trick of a Dreadful Trade

April 9th, 2010 · 5 Comments

We realize you need no convincing that life in a Bangladeshi brothel is beyond abysmal. But this NGO’s dispatch from the frontlines of the South Asian nation’s flesh trade is still a stunner. As if a prostitute’s lot in life wasn’t bad enough already, there is now tremendous pressure on brothel employees to warp their […]

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The Noble Effort

March 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments

We need to invoke khan’s prerogative today and step away from the blog, on account of yet another brutal Wired deadline. In our absence, enjoy this archive of photos from the defunct League of Nations. The one above is of the Iranian delegation, circa 1920—we reckon that was the Golden Age of women’s fashion in […]

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Let It Grow

March 1st, 2010 · No Comments

Whenever we find ourselves wandering around a massive Chinese supermarket, we inevitably gawk at the price of dried abalone. The delicacy has never crossed our lips thanks to its exorbitant cost. But millions of Asian consumers are willing to fork over the pretty penny, in part due to the marine snail’s reputation as an aphrodisiac. […]

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The Questionable Power of Horse

February 18th, 2010 · 8 Comments

In keeping with our recent paying-gig focus on addiction science, we’d like to turn your attention toward the remarkable work of Lee N. Robins, who recently passed away. In the early 1970s, after hearing rumors that tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans had come stumbling home as hopeless heroin addicts, Robins vowed to determine […]

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The Midnight Rider on Sobriety

January 29th, 2010 · No Comments

No Bad Movie Friday this week, in part because we had a change of heart about calling out the 1993 Bruce Willis vehicle Striking Distance. Yes, it was almost certainly pitched to the producers as “Die Hard meets Serpico…on the water!” And we’ll never, ever buy Sarah Jessica Parker as a Pittsburgh cop. But watching

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Reason Through the Haze

January 29th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Having finally closed the Wired story that sent us out to Kenya last fall, we’ve moved on to another big project for the magazine. This time the focus will be on addiction, which means you should expect plenty of drug-policy posts in the coming months. We’ll kick off the fiesta today by noting this paper […]

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