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Cocaine Paste Abuse Threatens Families Throughout Southern Cone

first_img MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Authorities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile are fighting to contain the growing abuse of cocaine paste — a cheap, yellowish cocaine smoked by thousands of people throughout South America’s Southern Cone. In all four countries, the abuse of cocaine paste, also known in Argentina as paco, is far lower than that of marijuana or cocaine. Only 0.8 percent of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants use cocaine paste, according to the National Home Survey on Drug Use; that compares to 4 percent for cocaine and 12.2 percent for marijuana. Cocaine paste is often linked with criminals and those living on the fringes of society, authorities say. In fact, the proportion of cocaine paste users rises to 8 percent in the poorest neighborhoods of Montevideo, according to that same survey. Milton Romani, a Montevideo psychologist and substance-abuse expert who in April finished a six-year term as secretary of the Uruguayan National Drug Board, suggests that the abuse of cocaine paste is “a sign of the times” that first appeared in Argentina with that country’s 2001 peso devaluation, then spread rapidly across the Río de la Plata to Uruguay. “The financial crisis gave birth to a new market for drug traffickers. Cocaine base is a low-cost product that could penetrate a particular market segment, because drug trafficking follows market rules,” said Romani, an international human rights adviser. “Traffickers have to change with the times. Since they can no longer acquire large quantities of precursor chemicals, they must look at the way they make cocaine: the large laboratories in Bolivia are broken up into several drug kitchens throughout Bolivia and Argentina.” In fact, the strong dollar caused the cost of powder cocaine to skyrocket throughout the region, as did the 1998 decision to ban precursor chemicals, which by 2000 was having an impact. Both made cocaine paste a cheaper and more readily available alternative, authorities say. Between 2001 and 2005, according to a study by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute, the use of paco in Argentina jumped by 200 percent, with more than 150,000 youths taking it regularly. Even so, its users represent only 0.5 percent of Argentina’s population, said Mariano Donzelli of the Secretaria de Programacion de la Drogaddicion y la Lucha contra el Narcotrafico (Sedronar). That compares to cocaine, which is used by 2.6 percent of Argentines, and marijuana, which is smoked by 6.9 percent of the country’s inhabitants. In Chile, cocaine paste is abused by 0.4 percent of the population, compared to 0.7 percent for cocaine and 4.6 percent for marijuana, according to CONACE (Consejo Nacional para el Control de Estupefacientes de Chile). Its principal consumers are men aged 18 to 34 and from low-income groups. Cocaine paste is obtained from an intermediate phase in the transformation from coca leaf to cocaine hydrochloride. “When precursor chemicals were blocked in producer countries, those countries began to find it difficult to manufacture their final product, so they began to cut [the cocaine] with just about anything,” said Uruguayan judge Jorge Díaz, who specializes in organized crime. “Instead of exporting already purified cocaine from Colombia, they now export the cocaine paste — since production levels continue to be high — and they finish it later.” Romani said each kitchen is a small cog in the network that exports cocaine hydrochloride, which continues to generate the most business for drug traffickers, since that cocaine is shipped to Europe or the United States. Several variants of cocaine paste exist throughout the region, each with its own brand and distinct ingredients. It’s a very cheap product; a quick high costs less than $3.00. Users smoke it in a homemade pipe, and a single dose weighs less than a gram. The drug takes five to eight seconds to reach the brain, but the high generally doesn’t last for more than 10 minutes. Even so, it has devastating short-term effects including anorexia, antisocial and violent behavior, psychoses and hallucinations, according to a 2010 report by Uruguay’s Clemente Estable Biological Research Institute. “The first time a person uses cocaine paste, the pleasure is very fleeting,” Romani said. “Users then consume more of the drug to calm their anxiety and ill feelings.” Authorities say those living in poor neighborhoods eke out a living trafficking in cocaine paste, often as part of small, family-run networks. “This occurs in vulnerable sections of society because the factors that lead to all micro-trafficking are occurring there,” Romani said. “These are sustenance level networks that arose in the midst of the crisis.” The same pattern is found in Brazil, and it’s beginning to take root in Bolivia as well. Criminal organizations with specific characteristics are necessary to coordinate the importation, transportation, exportation and sale of cocaine. The effort requires a large initial investment. For example, in Uruguay one kilogram of cocaine powder costs $7,000 to $7,500, according to local officials; cocaine paste, by comparison, costs $2,000 per kilo. Díaz said shipments never exceed 30 kilos, and that shipments of 25 to 30 kilos are attempted only by very sophisticated trafficking networks. Smaller deliveries, which constitute the vast majority of shipments, usually employ “mules” or human couriers. “They find jobless youths, often drug addicts, and they pay them 10,000 pesos [about $550] per trip. The courier goes to Argentina, usually to Buenos Aires,” he said. “They even go and return by bus, bringing 10 or 15 kilos.” By Dialogo July 22, 2011 The paste is delivered to a certain area of Montevideo and from there it’s distributed to various neighborhoods that same night, since the points of sale receive their supplies on a daily basis. The mules make two or three trips a week, saving up money and getting to know their dealer. After awhile, they begin to buy some of the drugs for themselves. They transport 10 kilos for the dealer who hired them, and generally keep one kilo for their own use. Over the past few years, said Díaz, the trafficking business has spread like wildfire, and this has made it difficult to eradicate. “It’s very difficult to fight these dealers, because the dealers transport small amounts that they divide up quickly. Second, there are many small groups involved in trafficking. A sort of cottage industry has sprung up in the poorest areas: the families live off of this.” Even after a raid, he said, a family will keep selling drugs, “because if you prosecute the husband, the wife will take over; if you prosecute the wife, her mother will take over.” Added to this is the danger that small-time neighborhood trafficking rings might save up enough money in order to later export and traffic cocaine. However, few mechanisms or structures currently exist to encourage regional cooperation in battling cocaine paste. “We enforce laws on precursors, we prevent cocaine from being exported [to Europe or the United States], we have to combat coca cultivation, and we get stuck with this junk too?” Romani said. Recently, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission — a unit of the Washington-based Organization of American States — has embarked on an initiative, spearheaded by Brazil with U.S. support, to deal with the spread of cocaine paste. The joint platform involving Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay consists of a first stage for technical and scientific cooperation to determine which substances will be targeted; a second phase for coordination of specific police and interdiction operations, and a third stage for medical treatment. Yet drug abuse alone doesn’t necessarily lead to a rise in violent crime, said Mario Layera, director-general of the Uruguayan Drug Trafficking Enforcement Bureau. “What I have seen in my area is that when drug abusers don’t have money, they will try by any means necessary to get their fix. First they sell everything they have, and later they start to steal other’s property to get money,” Layera said. “But I think those actions are better classified as simple theft and not as violent crime. To put it simply, using drugs isn’t what makes me a thug or mugger. Rather, it is other factors related to my actions or my personality that lead me down that road. I think violence is caused by many factors, and we should study all of them.” Alcohol and drugs accounted for 36 percent of crimes committed by Uruguayan prison inmates, according to a recent study by the Uruguayan National Drug Board. Half of those were alcohol-related; the other half were related to cocaine paste. This means that only 18 percent of the prisoners surveyed attributed their crimes to cocaine paste. Unfortunately with cocaine paste, the first target of the violence it creates is the user’s own family. Someone who abuses cocaine paste “begins stealing from his immediate family,” Romani said. It is very important to understand certain issues, mainly drugs, especially coca, where they really originate, where they go and what routes criminals use to get them to the desired location. It is very important that southern cone countries never stop combating this social ill! It is difficult for one country to fight it alone. Cooperation between all South American countries is necessary. Without this, there won’t be any results!last_img read more

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Woodward expects few new arrivals

first_img “There is incredible depth. We could put two first teams out with 11 internationals in each. It has been a phenomenal season. We are a long way ahead in the Premier League and whilst I wouldn’t describe the way we got knocked out of the Champions League as luck things could have gone differently in that game. “We have a young squad and each of those are a year older. We are very comfortable with the make up of team and squad.” Nevertheless, Ferguson will continue to be linked with a series of star players, most recently Robert Lewandowski and Ramadel Falcao, whilst newly crowned FWA Player of the Year Gareth Bale is another United admire. The Red Devils can certainly feel bullish about attracting the top talent when it is considered their year-on-year turnover for the first nine months has risen 13.1 per cent to £278.1million. Of that, commercial income is now £114.5million, an increase of 27.9 per cent. It underlines just how strong United have become in that area of their business, and it doesn’t include the new £120million, eight-year deal with AON, which includes naming rights to their Carrington training complex and sponsorship of their training kit and overseas tours. Broadcast and matchday sectors show a 21.7 per cent and 34 per cent increase on the corresponding three months, whilst gross debt stands at £367.6million, still a vast sum, a decrease of 15.9 per cent since June 30 last year. However, total operating expenses for the third quarter increased 18.6 per cent year-on-year to £79million. That has been put down partly to the arrival of new signings, including Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, new contracts for the likes of Danny Welbeck and the growing commercial arm which means the club now have in excess of 800 staff. Press Association Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is not anticipating “a major retooling” of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad this summer.center_img Woodward was speaking to outline United’s third quarter results, which once again show an impressive rise in their commercial income. And with Ferguson admitting he was giving his squad rebuilding idea some thought, it has been anticipated further big name signings would be made. However, after winning the Premier League title this term with four games to spare, Woodward is not sure that is strictly necessary. “I wouldn’t expect there to be a major retooling of the squad,” said Woodward. last_img read more

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Simmons set for West Indies role

first_img He added: “I’ll always be eternally grateful for the opportunity given to me by Cricket Ireland, and in particular CEO Warren Deutrom, and it’s been a great partnership over the past eight years. “I’ve made some wonderful friends in that time, which has been among the happiest periods in my life. “It was a very difficult decision to leave, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to coach my home team. “They’re going through a difficult period at the moment, but I’m confident I can help to improve their fortunes.” West Indies overcame their sticky start to the ongoing World Cup to reach the quarter-finals, in which they face co-hosts New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday. Ireland captain William Porterfield, meanwhile, voiced his thanks to Simmons. “Phil has been superb for the team and Irish cricket throughout his time in charge. We’ve all improved and grown as cricketers thanks to his efforts,” he said. “He’s been a towering presence not just in Irish cricket, but across the world – where he is held in such high regard. “While it’s sad to be losing him at this time, everyone in the squad understands his reasons for wanting to coach his home country. “We wish him and his family all the very best in the future.” Deutrom added: “Everyone will miss Phil Simmons. “You don’t live in a country for eight years and not leave behind close ties and friendships. “His warmth and strength of values endeared him to everyone here – while his loyalty is unquestioned, as evident from one of the longest-ever coaching tenures in international cricket. “As Phil has contributed to us, so we are proud to have helped him develop his career to the point that he can now pursue his dream of coaching his home team. “He leaves with nothing other than our very best wishes. “Now our goal is simple, to find a replacement for Phil who will take us to our stated vision of playing Test cricket by 2019.” West Indies, who have been coached on an interim basis by Stuart Williams in New Zealand and Australia, have welcomed Simmons back in a statement on their website. West Indies Cricket Board chief executive Michael Muirhead said: ” We are thrilled with the appointment of Phil and we believe he is the right individual for our team and our region at this time, so we want to welcome him back home. “His independence of character and his resolve to stand up for what he believes in were also strong qualities that convinced us that Phil was best suited to usher the West Indies team into a new era of success.” Simmons won 26 West Indies Test caps and 143 in one-day Internationals between 1987 and 1999. West Indies have endured a difficult past few months, including a player dispute which led to a mid-tour abandonment of their trip to India last year and then Ottis Gibson’s departure as coach. But Simmons added: “West Indies have a tremendous history and prestige in the game, and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be head coach. “There is an abundance of young talent coming through the ranks, and to be able to assist with the development of the future playing talent in the West Indies is fantastic. I can’t wait to begin. “We are determined to give the supporters the brand of cricket and the level of success that we are all looking to achieve.” Former Test batsman Simmons, 51, is to leave the same post with Ireland and will be in charge of the Windies when England arrive for their tour of the Caribbean next month. Cricket Ireland confirmed Simmons’ departure on Friday. Phil Simmons is to become the new coach of his native West Indies as soon as the World Cup is over. Trinidadian Simmons has been Ireland coach for eight years, during which they have been the pre-eminent force among the associate nations and have qualified for every International Cricket Council global tournament. Under Simmons, Ireland have pulled off World Cup victories over England in 2011 and West Indies themselves just last month. They will face England again in a one-off one-day international in May, at the conclusion of their opponents’ Test tour of the Windies. Simmons said: “I’ve had eight wonderful years as Ireland’s head coach, and will always cherish the memories of those great days we’ve shared. “The players and staff at Cricket Ireland have been simply magnificent. The wins in the World Cups over full members were all special, as we showed the world just what Irish cricket is capable of. “The Irish and West Indians are very similar in their nature and outlook on life and sport. “They welcomed me into their country, and I engaged with their sporting heritage and culture – and I’m a richer, better person for it.” Ireland, who face a tough battle to qualify for the next World Cup in England in 2019 after ICC’s decision to streamline the tournament to 10 teams, will immediately begin their search for a successor to Simmons. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Grandal hits game-winning HR, White Sox beat Royals 6-5

first_img LIVE TV Last Updated: 29th August, 2020 11:29 IST Grandal Hits Game-winning HR, White Sox Beat Royals 6-5 Yasmani Grandal hit his third career game-ending home run in the ninth after a defensive miscue as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Friday night SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By First Published: 29th August, 2020 11:29 IST COMMENTcenter_img Yasmani Grandal hit his third career game-ending home run in the ninth after a defensive miscue as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Friday night.Yoan Moncada had an RBI single in the seventh, Eloy Jimenez added a two-run homer and Luis Robert also homered for the White Sox who have won 10 of their last 11 games and eight straight at home.Trailing 5-4 in the ninth, Ryan O’Hearn drew a one-out walk off White Sox closer Alex Colome. Maikel Franco followed with a liner to left-center. The White Sox caught Franco in between first and second. First baseman Jose Abreu tried to run him down but Franco got to second base before Abreu’s diving attempt of a tag. While Abreu was sitting on the ground near second base, Abreu threw to the plate. Grandal wasn’t looking for the throw and the ball got by Grandal, allowing pinch-runner Bubba Starling to score to tie the score.“A very bizarre play. As I am thinking, it’s a dead ball as soon as Abreu falls on the ground. I am looking at the runner at third and he is standing at third, he’s not going anywhere,” Grandal said. “Right after that, I have to figure out if the dugout wants to challenge or not and let the umpire know we’re trying to challenge the play. As that happens, I turn around and see the ball going through my legs. Like I said before, it’s something to learn from, make sure I am aware as to when the play is over and when the umpire is actually calling timeout.”Grandal made up for everything when he broke a 5-5 tie with a leadoff homer off Ian Kennedy (0-2) in the bottom of the inning.“I’ve caught Kennedy before and I had plenty of AB’s against him. I kind of had a pretty good idea of what I wanted off of him in order to take a good swing at it,” said Grandal.Colome (1-0) finished the game by getting the final four outs after blowing his first save attempt.The White Sox moved into a tie with the Twins for first place in the AL Central.Jorge Soler hit a two-run home run and Whit Merrifield added a solo shot for the Royals, who have lost all four of their games to the White Sox this season.“We fought so hard to get back, every time in that game, multiple times. … That’s one of the worst feelings as a reliever, getting walked off,” said Kennedy.Royals manager Mike Matheny wants to see his team take advantage of situations when opponents give them a break.“For our team to take that next step, we have to be relentless in those situations,” Matheny said. “We can’t let teams off the hook as often as we have. We’re facing major league-caliber pitching. I get it. It’s just that it’s going to continue to be the conversation. They’re going to get sick and tired of hearing about it, but it’s too big of a piece of the puzzle for us, to not make a mark early, to not figure out how to get it done late.”Royals reliever Tyler Zuber, activated from the bereavement list before the game, walked Jimenez to start the seventh on four straight pitches. He gave up a single to Grandal, One out later, he was relieved by Scott Barlow, who walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. After Franco was unable to make a running overhead catch in foul territory, Moncada ripped a single to right to put the White Sox ahead 5-4. Barlow escaped further damage by getting Robert to line out and Danny Mendick swinging.Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning with two outs, Tim Anderson hit a liner off the right thigh of Royals starter Danny Duffy. Duffy didn’t appear hurt despite getting a visit from the team trainer. Two pitches later, Jimenez teed off on a fastball, driving it deep into the ivy in center-field to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead. It was Jimenez’s 11th of the season and it measured at 452-feet.Moncada chased Duffy with a two-out single in the sixth inning. Robert reached on a single off Royals reliever Jesse Hahn and Mendick struck out but reached on a passed ball by catcher Cam Gallagher to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Nomar Mazara added another run by drawing a bases-loaded walk to extend the lead.The White Sox lead was short-lived. Reliever Matt Foster allowed a one-out walk in the seventh, then Soler followed with a two-run shot on an 0-2 pitch to tie the game at four it was his eighth of the season.With two outs in the second, Robert hit an opposite-field home run into the Royals’ right-field bullpen. It was the rookie’s 8th of the season.Merrifield tied the game in the third with a leadoff shot on a high 2-1 fastball. It was his sixth of the season. White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez then surrendered three consecutive hits. Ryan O’Hearn hit an RBI single to put the Royals ahead 2-1.Lopez was pitching in and out of trouble all night. Lopez allowed two runs on six hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.Before the game, the White Sox acquired speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson in a trade with Pittsburgh to boast their depth as they make a run for the postseason. Dyson came in as a defensive replacement in the ninth for Jimenez in left.Duffy allowed four runs, three earned on seven hits. He struck out six and walked one in the no-decision.JACKIE ROBINSON DAYGrandal and his teammates weren’t looking to make a statement by not playing on Friday. Grandal pointed to the significance of Jackie Robinson Day. If you don’t play today than what is the point? We thought today was the day to play. If it wouldn’t have been Jackie Robinson Day today we could’ve possibly taken a different route, but we thought today was definitely the one day we needed to play.”TRAINER’S ROOMINF Nick Madrigal, one of Chicago’s top prospects, returned to the White Sox. He separated his left shoulder in his fifth game with the team. The 23-year-old second baseman was selected by the White Sox with the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft. Catcher Zack Collins was optioned to Schaumburg to create a spot for Madrigal. Madrigal did not play on Friday night.UP NEXTBrady Singer (1-3) is scheduled to start for the Royals against the White Sox on Saturday. The right-hander is 0-1 in three road starts this season with a 4.02 ERA.RHP Dylan Cease (4-2) is scheduled to start for the White Sox on Saturday. He is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in his last five starts. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Royals in his career.Image credits: AP Associated Press Television News WATCH US LIVE FOLLOW USlast_img read more

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NLDS Game 1: Atlanta Braves at Dodgers lineups and pitching matchups

first_img Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco vs. Braves: 0-1, 2.95 ERA (three starts)at Dodger Stadium: 18-13, 2.85 ERA (47 starts)Postseason career: 1-0, 2.81 ERA (three starts)Hates to face: Freddie Freeman, 5 for 8, two walks, doubleLoves to face: Lucas Duda, 1 for 4, two strikeouts How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire When: Thursday, 5:30 p.m.Where: Dodger StadiumTV: MLB NetworkTHE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP HYUN-JIN RYU (7-3, 1.97 ERA) BRAVES RHP MIKE FOLTYNEWICZ (13-10, 2.85 ERA)vs. Dodgers: 1-1, 5.56 ERA (two starts)at Dodger Stadium: 1-0, 4.26 ERA (one start)Postseason career: DebutHates to face: Manny Machado, 4 for 6Loves to face: Joc Pederson, 0 for 6, 3 strikeoutsThe lineups: Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies center_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Related Articleslast_img read more

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