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March 31, 2016

Authorities believe that counterfeit prescription painkillers containing fentanyl could be behind the deaths of seven people in Sacramento, California.

County health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says more than 30 overdoses — including seven fatal — have been linked to a white oblong pill with "M367" printed on one side that looks like a generic version of Vicodin. The fake pills may contain pure fentanyl, which can be 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. The coroner has yet to release the official causes of death or confirmed what caused the overdoses, The Guardian reports.

While use of the opiate is rising along the East Coast and in Canada, DEA special agent Casey Rettig told The Guardian this is the first time the drug has been seen in Northern California. One kilo of fentanyl only costs around $3,300, with a street value of "over a million in revenue," Rettig said. Authorities believe the counterfeit drug is being made in Chinese labs, then shipped to Mexico, where it is packed and smuggled to the U.S.

Kasirye said people first started being brought in for overdoses on March 24, and within days patients were admitted to every local hospital. Those who overdosed reportedly took one or two pills, which they either bought from strangers or received from friends or family. "It happens very quickly," she said. "People would start feeling dizzy after a few minutes and within 20 minutes were collapsing." Physicians are asked to be cautious when prescribing opioids, and Kasirye told The Guardian that's what could be causing addicts to buy their painkillers illegally. "For some of them, what they were saying is that they are not able to get it from their doctor any more," she said. "Many of them were actually functional, had homes, had children, had families. They're not the typical picture you hear of what an addict is." Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Among the 10 students and teachers murdered at Santa Fe High School near Houston last Friday was Sabika Sheikh, a foreign exchange student from Pakistan who was about 20 days away from returning home after her year abroad. Her murder, by a 17-year-old male classmate, "just shows how ironic life can be," Pakistani author Bina Shah told PRI's The World on Monday. "Pakistan is always perceived as unsafe for children, especially with Taliban attacks on schools here, so this was just not something anybody could have expected."

"Our perceptions of our own country's safety and security, versus our perceptions of the United States and the larger Western Hemisphere as relatively safer, are all turned upside down," Shah told host Marco Worman. "However, thanks to world media, we do know about the problem of school shootings. Every time one of these things happens, we get to see it here on cable news — CNN, BBC, we have it all here. So we're aware of this problem and we — you known, Pakistanis can't understand, they just can't understand why there are no gun control laws that would stop school shootings from happening again and again and again."

"If you ask Pakistanis how they see violence in the U.S., what is likely to be their response?" Worman asked. "People understand terrorist violence, they understand that kind of thing, but they don't understand children taking up guns and going into the schools and shooting each other, shooting their classmates, shooting their teachers," Shah said. "But we're kind of relating it to our own problems with extremist violence. We're kind of saying: You have your types of terrorism and we have ours, and it's just really a tragedy that one of our children got caught up with your kind of terrorism, with your kind of extremism."

You can listen to the entire interview, plus more on Sheikh's life, in the first segment below. Peter Weber

12:12 a.m. ET
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While helping his son apply to colleges, Freddie Sherrill, 65, heard something that surprised him: You should go to school, too.

As a child in North Carolina, Sherrill had difficulty learning to read and write, and started to act out. He began skipping school at eight, and while hanging out with teenagers, tried wine for the first time. As a shy child, Sherrill finally "felt like I fit in," he told The Washington Post. Sherrill then broke into houses and stole purses, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

After several stints in prison and rehab, he was "tired of hurting everybody around me," and in 1988 stopped drinking and doing drugs. Sherrill slowly rebuilt his life — he repaired his relationships with his wife and children, took literacy classes so he could learn how to read and write, and eventually, after eight years, earned an associate's degree. "I spent a lot of time taking chances doing negative things," he said. "It was time for me to start taking chances doing positive things."

When it came time for his son to go to college, he helped him with his paperwork, and was told by the staff at Queens University of Charlotte that he should also consider applying. His son ultimately enrolled at North Carolina A&T University, and Sherrill came up with a challenge: whoever got the best GPA at the end of each semester would give the other $100. His son graduated and is now a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch, and Sherrill, after seven years, received his degree in human service studies earlier this month. "I started a lot of things in my life I didn't finish," he told the Post. "College wasn't going to be one of them." Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2018
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A tech company that received more than $3 million from supporters through Kickstarter and Indiegogo announced this weekend that it has run out of money, and thousands of people who pre-ordered their product — headphones with surround sound used for virtual reality — are out of luck.

Ossic sold 22,000 pre-orders for its OSSIC X headphones, which cost between $200 and $300, but only 250 backers ever received a pair. The headphones were an "ambitious and expensive product to develop," Ossic said, and "what made this project so exciting, and ultimately ended up being its Achilles heel, was the complexity and scope." Over the last six months, "dedicated" employees worked for free, "doing anything they could to try and make the company succeed," Ossic said, but it wasn't enough.

The company, which also received millions of dollars from angel investors, said it would need more than $2 million in additional funds to be able to deliver headphones to everyone who placed a pre-order. "Inventing something new while also developing complex hardware is expensive," Ossic said, adding that the "unknowns that come from ground-up development with so many new features ultimately stacked up to create delays and cost overruns." In 2016, Ossic said these headphones of the future would be able to sense ear shapes and customize sound for each person, Business Insider reports. Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2018
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Over the last three days, a heatwave has killed at least 65 people in Karachi, the biggest city in Pakistan.

On Monday, the temperature reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit, and extreme temperatures are expected through Thursday. There have been several power outages, and because it is the holy month of Ramadan, most Muslims are not eating or drinking during daylight hours.

Faisal Edhi, the owner of a company that runs morgues and an ambulance service, told Reuters that most of the people who have died "work around heaters and boilers in textile factories," and lived in the poorer areas of Karachi. He said that most doctors agree they died of heatstroke, but the health secretary of Sindh province said he "categorically" rejects the idea that anyone died in Karachi from heatstroke, since "only doctors and hospitals can decide" the cause of death. In 2015, at least 1,300 people, most of them ill or very old, died in a heatwave. Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2018
U.S. Postal Service via AP

Get ready for your mailbox to smell a little sweeter — this summer, the U.S. Postal Service will introduce its first-ever scratch-and-sniff stamps.

The Forever stamps will be sold in booklets of 20, featuring 10 watercolor illustrations of popsicles designed by artist Margaret Berg of California. The stamps will be issued on June 20, with a dedication ceremony at the Thinkery Children's Museum in Austin.

The exact scent remains a mystery, and won't be revealed until next month, but the Postal Service did issue a few clues in its press release: "In recent years, frozen treats containing fresh fruit such as kiwi, watermelon, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries have become more common. In addition, flavors such as chocolate, root beer, and cola are also popular." So, maybe it will smell like a chocolate-covered kiwi dunked in root beer? Yay? Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2018
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The Syrian military said Monday that after fighting for a month, it has captured an area of southern Damascus from the Islamic State, and the capital is now, for the first time since the country's civil war began in 2011, under full government control.

Government forces were able to take back the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk and the Hajar al-Aswad district, and they will now focus on the territory held by rebels in southern Syria. President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been assisted by Iranian-backed militias, including Hezbollah out of Lebanon, and after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called on Iran to leave Syria, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters that his country's "presence in Syria has been based on a request by the Syrian government and Iran will continue its support as long as the Syrian government wants."

A monitoring group said that 1,600 people, including hundreds of ISIS militants, left southern Damascus on Saturday and Sunday, heading toward the eastern desert after agreeing to a deal with the Syrian government, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2018
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Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, is shutting down, several staff members confirmed Monday.

The magazine featured celebrities interviewing one another, and covered art, entertainment, pop culture, and fashion. Editor Ezra Marcus told CNNMoney that the magazine is "folding both web and print effective immediately," and employees found out during a meeting that the company is filing for bankruptcy. In 1989, billionaire Peter Brant purchased Interview from Warhol's estate.

The past several months were tumultuous for the magazine, with its former editorial director suing for back pay and the fashion director resigning after being accused of sexual misconduct. Catherine Garcia

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