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The Daily Buzz: July 21, 2014

Jury awards $23 billion in smoking case against R.J. Reynolds; Missouri—"America's Drugstore"—is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program; and a hallucinogenic treatment for heroin addiction heads to Afghanistan.

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Jury Awards $23 Billion in Smoking Case
In one of the largest verdicts ever against a tobacco company, a Florida jury sided with the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1996, against the tobacco company R.J. Reynolds. They chose to award her more than $16 million in compensatory damages and $23 billion in punitive damages.

Illinois Legalizes Medical Marijuana For Children With Seizures
Joining a growing number of states to loosen restrictions on marijuana use recently, Illinois has now legalized it for children as well as adults with epilepsy. Onward, and upwards!

Missouri Is Only State to Reject Prescription Drug Database
Missouri is the last state standing without a monitoring program in place to track excess prescriptions. Now law enforcement officials say the lack of a monitoring program makes it harder to tackle drug abuse in the state, while also drawing in dealers and addicts from neighboring states, earning Missouri the nickname “America’s Drugstore.”

Migrant Heads Home To Mexico—And Joins Fight Against Drug Cartel
NPR profiles Reny Pineda, a former migrant living in the US, who was forced to return to Michoacan, Mexico. There, alongside many other former migrants, he joined an uprising of civilian militias fighting against the Knights Templar drug cartel. These “vigilantes” finally got the government to take action against the drug cartels and have now been forced to disband.

Can Ibogaine Treatment Help Afghanistan’s Addicts?
Afghanistan, one of the world’s main producers of opium, has a staggering rate of addiction—about 5% of the population (an estimated 1.6 million people). Murtaza Majeed, 27, from Kabul, was instrumental in helping administer the country’s first needle-exchange program in 2005. Now, he plans to open the country’s first rehab clinic specializing in treatment with Ibogaine—a hallucinogenic drug native to western Central Africa that has become increasingly popular as an alternative method of kicking heroin addiction.