The Five Best Drug Scares of 2015

Super-potent pot, formaldehyde in e-cigarettes, the supersoldier pill, MDMA in trick-or-treat bags, and "$5 insanity"


NBC News

From impossibly potent marijuana edibles to "$5 insanity," this has been a good year for drug scares. In my latest Forbes column, I recall some of my favorites:

Believability is key to a good drug scare, because if it doesn't catch on it's not much of a scare. At the same time, you have to admire claims that catch on even though a moment's reflection reveals them as ridiculous. The trick for an aspiring drug scare is to forestall reflection by being so compelling and repeatable that it gets passed around before anyone has time to think. In this annual list I recognize tall tales about drugs that rise to the challenge.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. All of them official covers for zombie outbreaks. But the government, the biotech industry and Sullum all don’t want you to know that.

    1. Zombie worried by American election. Zombie afraid no brains in America.

    2. So,they create target zombies for H&R posters?

    1. Damn, I thought I had him.

      1. Well, you didn’t. And it looks like this counts as AM Links.

        1. This isn’t a mourning lynx.

          1. *rattles tin cup against cell bars*


        2. You have no idea how surprised I was when I opened comments and you weren’t there already, staring back at me.

        3. Just in case…


          1. Well, Well, do they not celebrate *listed federal holiday* in the cold white north?

            1. Lots of whale blubber and Crown Royal.

              1. Lots of whale blubber and Crown Royal.

                Be a shame to ruin perfectly good qavsiraq with alcohol. But to each his own.

            2. Lots of drinking, fighting, and fucking!

              That’s how they celebrate.

              No need to dress up, it’s just the two of em.

      2. Fist is beyond time and space,he is a Other.

        1. Is Fist the one person it’s acceptable to other, or is othering now cultural appropriation?

          1. You didn’t watch Stargate SG 1 huh

    2. I have had it with all these mother f—ing fists on this mother f—ing plane!

  2. Forbes wouldn’t let me access the article.

    I go by the name of the King Ad Block
    I don’t wear a cup nor a jock
    I bring the shit that’s beyond bizarre
    Like Miss Piggy (Who, moi?)
    I am the one with the clientele
    You say, “Ad-Block, you block so well”

    1. It’s a slideshow, anyway. How could you do this to us, Sullum?

      SPOILER ALERT: You’ll never guess what the number one scare was.

      1. PCP candy corn?

        1. LSD Visine?

      2. Is anyone still going zombie from bath salts? Or was that just so 2012?

    2. “Error”

  3. Who was the lucky junior associate at the Redskins’ law firm who compiled this list of offensive trademarks that the feds are totally cool with?


    1. Suck it TP–you’re losing this one.

    2. I’m surprised there are some sane comments seeing it’s Thinkprogress.

    3. Green Bay has their (meat) Packers, Pittsburgh their Steelers and Dallas their Cowboys, If the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons wanted to, they could adopt a similar occupational nickname.

      Washington Red Tapers might do.

      BTW, it isn’t a supersoldier drug if it only helps you stay alert and temporarily ignore fatigue. It’s got to permanently restructure your body to peak human performance levels. We may have that drug cocktail, but I don’t think we’ve figured out how to stabilize the reaction with Vita-rays. There was the Higgins formula, that pre-dated the Erskine/Reinstein serum by over a year.

      Kevin R

  4. I slave away picking out choice stories for A.M. links and this is the thanks I get…

    You know, a pretty simple script could crawl Google news for the day’s top stories and compile them into a post.

    1. But then what would we complain about when there’s one word that makes some people here think there’s a giant cosomotarian conspiracy against them?

        1. How can you complain about that? He’s dreamy.

          1. No kidding, he’s bogarting all 3 libertarian women that exist.

            1. No kidding, he’s bogarting all 3 libertarian women that exist.

              No, he’s not. (sorry, Rico)

              1. HOW DARE YOU. What’s wrong with Soave? He’s perfectly serviceable as a young man for the ladies to pine after, as far as twinks go. Don’t tell me you go for the lumbersexuals.

                1. Is Ron Swanson a lumbersexual now???

            2. Um, no.

    2. You don’t have your orphans do that?

      1. If I taught them to read they might start following the safety instructions on the blasting caps.

        1. I never let my orphans have explosives. Picks and axes only,and they must be chained,. Safety first.

  5. Fuck it, I’m posting links anyway.

    Firefighter may lose $78K job for shoplifting $7.98 in items

    EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) ? A New Jersey firefighter could lose his $78,096-a-year job after being convicted of shoplifting $7.98 worth of items.

    A Municipal Court judge on Tuesday found 34-year-old Ashton Funk, of Northfield, guilty of shoplifting from a convenience store in Margate in August.

    Funk wasn’t on-duty as a Margate firefighter or member of the beach patrol at the time of the offense. But the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking his dismissal from the job that he’s held since 2011, saying a public employee is subject to dismissal if convicted of an offense involving dishonesty.

    1. I don’t see this as an honesty issue, rather more of judgement. Idk if this guy wanted to get a thrill out of shoplifting, or if he is so bad with money and self-discipline that he just couldn’t wait. Either way, I don’t think I would want to be on the same squad as this guy since he would probably do something stupid!

    2. . . . saying a public employee is subject to dismissal if convicted of an offense involving dishonesty.

      I would love it if the defense lawyers only response to this is ‘since *when*?”

      1. “I mean, we are talking about NJ public employees, right?”

        1. Isn’t that part of the job description?

      2. “Convicted” is the key word there.

        1. He committed the much greater offense of getting caught.

          This New Haven smoke eater managed to bilk someone he met on a rescue call for $125 K…….

          … allegedly


          Fire fighters meet people at accident scenes, and in burning buildings. After the people they are serving are rescued or handed over to a hospital, or Red Cross or whoever will be relocating them, they have the run of the victims’ residence or vehicle. You want someone trustworthy who will put out the fire and not loot the place.

          Kevin R

          Kevin R

    3. I love how they mentioned that he wasn’t on duty. Would he have been allowed to steal if he was?

      1. The Union is probably arguing that since the malfeasance wasn’t committed ‘on the clock’, his job shouldn’t be forfit.

  6. Psychic accused of scamming member of Lacoste fashion family

    BOULDER, Colo. (AP) ? A Colorado psychic is accused of swindling more than $200,000 out of a member of the family that founded the high-end Lacoste clothing company.

    The Times-Call reports ( ) that 32-year-old Becky Ann Lee has been charged with felony theft in a scam against Victoria Lacoste, a student at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

    Authorities say Lacoste started seeing Lee for Tarot card readings last year and eventually gave Lee more than $200,000, much of which Lee spent buying gold coins. She owns the Psychic Chakra Spa in Boulder.

    1. You mean the “psychic” wasn’t really a psychic? Who woulda thunk?!
      I guess you really can’t trust anyone these days.

      1. Well, she did see that they could be scammed…

      2. Helps explain ‘shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations’.

    2. They couldn’t fit “stupid spoiled heiress” in there somewhere?

    3. Didn’t Lee actually provide a service that she was paid for? Do the rich deserve to be soaked or not?

    4. A fool and his money…….

      1. Wait,didn’t South Park settle this issue?

        1. Simpsons did it?

    5. Charging a dumb French fashion heiress $200, 000 for a years worth of psychic mumbo jumbo seems like a fair and honest fee for services, not a scam.

      1. Exactly. If that’s going to be the precedent, *every* psychic, light therapist, chiropractor, homeopath, motivational speaker, etc., has to be charged with theft.

        1. This is a *bad* thing?

  7. Joyriding monkey steals bus while driver sleeps in India

    BAREILLY, India, Dec. 23 (UPI) — An Indian bus company said a joyriding monkey got behind the wheel of a bus while the driver was napping and crashed it into two parked buses.

    The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation said the bus driver was taking a nap while parked at a station in Bareilly about a half an hour before his scheduled departure when a monkey climbed into the bus and managed to start the engine.

    The driver woke up and moved to chase the monkey away, but it shifted the bus into second gear while fleeing out the window.

    “The driver managed to regain control of the bus but not before it hit two other parked buses,” SK Sharma, a regional manager for the bus company, told the Times of India.

    1. I didn’t think Ted Cruz’ kids were old enough to drive.

      1. Duh, that’s why they had to take the bus while the driver was sleeping.

      2. That’s worse than “A dog ate my homework”.

    2. I think we need a witness on that.

    3. I’m ago with the bus driver was drunk/stoned/texting and screwed up before I believe that the monkey *started the bus*.

      But if the monkey did start the bus – well I support our new monkey overlords want them to know I can round up people to work in their banana mines.

      1. I’m ago with the bus driver was drunk/stoned/texting and screwed up before I believe that the monkey *started the bus*.

        When did you get so cynical?

      2. We sure had evolution backwards, huh?

      3. Could be a push-button starter?

        1. I considered that until I read:

          it shifted the bus into second gear

  8. Texas police employ “porn dog” to sniff out child predators

    CONROE, Texas, Dec. 23 (UPI) — Police in Texas’ Montgomery County are planning to use a dog trained to sniff out hard drives and other storage devices to help investigate child pornography cases.

    The company is set to receive a K-9 chocolate Labrador retriever named Brody to assist the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in finding hidden storage devices used by child predators and other criminals.

    “It’s innovative, it’s unique, it’s cutting edge,” Montgomery County Crimestopper Jon Dumas told KHOU of the K-9s he dubbed “porn dog” due to its specific skill set. “It’s extremely catching and fitting because that’s what it’s there to do, sniff out child pornographers.”

    Man, is there anything police dogs can’t do?

      1. Shoot a dog?

    1. Wait, what? Are you sure this isn’t The Onion?

    2. So do naked, underage 1s and 0s smell different than other 1s and 0s?

      I am guessing the dog can smell the magnetic disk in a hard drive. So what about solid state memory? Can he sniff out flash drives? Shit newer computers don’t use magnetic storage media at all anymore.
      Shit, did I just give away a secret to the kiddie porn folks?

      1. What about encrypted cloud storage?

      2. If you hear a knock at the door and some dog barking today, it isn’t carolers.

    3. Remember – according to the Supreme Court, as long as the police have a *procedure* and *certify* the dog, then this is actually a completely legal tactic for the police to use. As long as they remember to keep their paperwork in order as it doesn’t matter how accurate the porn-sniffing dog actually is.

    4. Man, is there anything police dogs can’t do?

      Be “right” more than half the time?

    5. Porn Dog sees into your soul. Porn Dog smells evil.

      1. That’s just the bacon I keep in my pocket.

        To ward away mooslums!

  9. This Day in History

    1524 – Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama died in Cochin, India.

    1814 – The War of 1812 between America and Britain ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.

    1818 – “Silent Night” was composed by Franz Joseph Gruber.

    1865 – The Ku Klux Klan was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee.

    1871 – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida premiered in Cairo, Egypt, at the opening of the Suez Canal.

    1943 – Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of Allied Forces by President Franklin Roosevelt.

    1992 – President Bush pardoned former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.

    1. #5 – Because the suez doesn’t flow through Cairo


    2. I didn’t that night was very “Silent” at all for that guy Gruber. He blew the shit out of Nakatomi Tower.

      1. Any relation to the Obamacare guy?

  10. Seriously, as a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, I feel it would be a good idea for me to link to this charity appeal.

    And here’s an article by a Catholic priest’s wife in Ukraine. Yes, you heard that correctly.

    1. Speaking of the Catholic church…

      Vatican Paper Rips ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens

      L’Osservatore Romano, a Vatican newspaper that normally confines its columns toward reporting about the activities of the pope, has slammed the latest Star Wars film as “confused and vague.”

      In an unsigned column, the reviewer took issue with the film’s interpretation of evil, saying that the film’s villains did not hold a candle to the franchise’s predecessors.

      “The counterpart of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, wears a mask merely to emulate his predecessor, while the character who needs to substitute the Emperor Palpatine as the incarnation of supreme evil represents the most serious defect of the film,” read the review.

      “Without revealing anything about the character, all we will say is that it is the clumsiest and tackiest result you can obtain from computer graphics.”

      1. “Without revealing anything about the character, all we will say is that it is the clumsiest and tackiest result you can obtain from computer graphics.”

        *GASP* It was Darth Jar Jar!

      2. I have some specific issues with TFA (as we have all discussed, its lack of originality for one), but I am not sure these criticisms are deserved.
        Snoake is supposed to be vague at this point, and he was a hologram. I don’t think Kylo Ren is a particularly strong villain (I mean Fin held his own in a lightsaber duel, and Rae beat him). But the fact that he wears a mask to honor his grandfather I think is part of his character. IOW, I think the point is that we are seeing the development of a villain who is afraid he won’t live up to Vaders evil.

    2. Latvian Orthodox?!?!?
      Are they ones who go around mutilating squirrels?

      1. No, that is the Latverian Reformed Church.


        1. As an aside, I didn’t even see the new F4 because I heard it was so bad. Really sucks, because even though they are prob a harder sell then the Avengers, they were pretty much the first team that Stan Lee put together.

          I kind of enjoyed the original movie. Iaon Gryffyd(fucking Welsh, so many ‘y’s) was a decent Mr Fantastic and Chris Evans was a great Johnny Storm. But the second one was not good.

          1. The only decent Fantastic Four movie ever made was The Incredibles.

            1. I liked the 1960s cartoon on ABC.

  11. A nice happy story from right around home:…..story.html

    The tables turned for a masked gunman when he was shot and killed by an employee of the Miramar restaurant he attempted to rob, police said.

    Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, a man wearing a ski mask and gloves walked into Captain Max Seafood restaurant, 3700 State Road 7, and brandished a gun.

    After an “exchange of words” with the gunman, a restaurant employee used his own weapon to stop the attempted robbery, said Miramar Police spokeswoman Tania Rues.

    “A restaurant employee fired several shots and killed the suspect,” she said.

    Police are still investigating whether the masked man fired his weapon before he was shot.

    The unidentified employee was seen getting into the back of a police car Wednesday night as the body of the gunman remained inside the restaurant. Police were waiting for a search warrant to inspect the body for identification, Rues said.

    No one else was injured, Rues said.

    “Luckily, only the suspect was hurt, but there are other situations where innocent bystanders could have been hurt as well,” Rues said. “We would hope that people do not take the situation into their own hands.”

    Except for that idiotic last sentence, a happy ending for all.

    1. Here’s hoping the employee doesn’t get charged.

      1. It was Florida so he is prob ok. At least it wasn’t NY or Cali.

    2. They don’t want people taking their personal safety into their own hands? I would love for once to have a reporter have the balls to challenge a sentiment like that.

      The employee got to go home safe.

    3. Police were waiting for a search warrant to inspect the body for identification, Rues said.

      What? He was killed during the commission of a crime, why do they need a search warrant to inspect the body? Maybe they should get the dog to sniff him and then all is good.

    4. I honestly don’t have the numbers. But based on the news reports we all here, I have a suspicion that the percentage of police shootings that (in a sane world) would be considered unjust far outweigh the number of “bystanders” who shoot a perp unjustly. Or for that matter, the number of people accidentally shot during a confrontation. The fact is, after moving from NY 25 years ago, I lived in AZ. Then moves to KS 2 years ago. Both states have always allowed open carry. Now you they both have Constitutional concealed carry. There are no shootouts (except for cops).
      But then I am preaching to the choir here!

    5. Police were waiting for a search warrant to inspect the body for identification, Rues said.

      What? The cops need a warrant to inspect the corpse of a person CLEARLY associated with a violent crime. But they don’t need a warrant to access my cell phone remotely or to search my car or to finger blast me at the airport.

    6. The employee killed an actual criminal. Unlike cops who would have probably shot up the place and killed innocents.


  12. Bethlehem suffers as the world stays away from the birthplace of Christmas

    “We rely on the tourists who come on their own, not the pilgrim buses who go to the same shops on the main road where the guides get a commission. And there are no tourists. They are too scared to come after what they’ve seen on television. It’s killing us. The only people around are a few locals. Today so far I’ve made only 99 shekels [?17],” he says.

    “I’m Catholic. But I don’t feel Christmas at all this year. I took my son, who is three, to school this morning. It’s near Deheish. And you could smell the gas from a kilometre away. It’s getting worse and worse.”

    Although Christian leaders, including Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, have encouraged visitors, it has not helped. “Pilgrims should not be afraid to come,” said Twal in his Christmas message. “Despite the tense situation in this land, the pilgrim route is safe and they are respected and appreciated by all sectors in the Holy Land.”

    Not really the birthplace of any holiday set atop the winter solstice, but we’ll let the Christians think so. Wasn’t Jesus supposedly born in June or something?

    1. Free,
      You complete me!

      Wishing you a happy Yule! (Or generically enjoy your officially recognized Federal Day Off!)

      1. Yuletide greetings you as well my friend.

    2. Was Jesus born on December 25, or in December at all?

      Although it’s not impossible, it seems unlikely. The Bible does not specify a date or month. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles).

      Almost none of the Christmas story as featured in popular culture is based on actual theological foundations, let alone historical ones.

      1. I can be prosecuted for raping under the mistletoe now?

        1. The Bible is very clear about that. No.

          1. Absolutely

            28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

            1. My wife has a mistletoe and now I’m stuck with it.

              1. God was truly ruthless in the OT.

    3. Jesus was born somewhere around the Spring equinox.

    4. Jesus was born around Imbolc–in lambing season.

      Get it?

      Christmas is in December so that the impotence of the early church to forbid the winter celebrations wasn’t to widely commented on.

    5. I read early September in The Economist some years ago.

  13. Since Derpetologist has taken a sabbatical. This one is pretty potent.

    1. So they’re not against ridiculous, wasteful projects in principle, they just want to make sure their pet project gets a fair shot at it.

    2. What exactly is the reasoning behind claiming that high-speed rail costs $0?

      The only way that’s possible is if it’s built on 100% voluntarily donated land by volunteer labor.

      1. Magic?

        1. Well, they already bought one of those monthly, all you can ride passes.

          So basically free.

      2. I think it means $0 spent so far. Guess they left out California?

  14. Yuletide greetings to all in the Commentariat! (Except the assholes.)

    1. Well, bah humbug to you, too.

    2. The parenthetical invalidates everything that precedes it.

  15. Lets jsut roll with the punches dude.

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