Monday, January 30, 2012

Carlotta's Game

Cocaine in the brain - In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse, where it can bind with dopamine receptors on neighboring neurons. Normally, dopamine is then recycled back into the transmitting neuron by a specialized protein called the dopamine transporter. If cocaine is present, it attaches to the dopamine transporter and blocks the normal recycling process, resulting in a buildup of dopamine in the synapse, which contributes to the pleasurable effects of cocaine.
Researchers have discovered that, when a rewarding event is occurring, it is accompanied by a large increase in the amounts of dopamine released in the nucleus accumbens by neurons originating in the VTA. In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse (the small gap between two neurons), where it binds with specialized proteins (called dopamine receptors) on the neighboring neuron, thereby sending a signal to that neuron. Drugs of abuse are able to interfere with this normal communication process. For example, scientists have discovered that cocaine blocks the removal of dopamine from the synapse, resulting in an accumulation of dopamine. This buildup of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of receiving neurons, which is associated with the euphoria commonly reported by cocaine abusers. As cocaine abuse continues, tolerance often develops. This means that higher doses and more frequent use of cocaine are required for the brain to register the same level of pleasure experienced during initial use. Recent studies have shown that, during periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with cocaine use, or mere exposure to cues associated with drug use, can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to drug use, even after long periods of abstinence.

By The Legendary Jim Parks

Carlotta stood stoically, listening to the rich woman from
Mexico City denounce her to the kidnappers.

For two months, she had been in the safe house working the
bitch's nerves, acting as a shill for the kidnappers, a
squad of state police from Juarez whose assignment was, of
all things, anti-kidnapping and detection.

They beat the woman severely, humiliated her by making her
strip off her clothing in front of the other prisoners and
the men who guarded them. They made her believe, by turns,
that they were on her side, that it was her husband and
family's fault that she was still there, captured and held
prisoner in this anonymous, filthy house about twenty
kilometers out in the desert from the border city.

She had begun to believe them. She told them of the
wonderful presents she would give them once she was free and
back in control of her fortunes. She promised she would
never betray them.

In fact, she had started to tell them more and more about
her life and the ways they could collect even more ransom
money from her family. They had collected a half dozen
ransom payments so far. The end was nowhere near in sight.
The truth was easy to explain. These police would help look
for her long after she had been executed.

In the past two weeks, she had been allowed to go without a

Carlotta laughed at the stupid rich woman. Didn't she know
that to go without a mask in the safe house was actually her
death warrant?

The rica really believed that she had been placed in a more
privileged status.

They took Carlotta into another room and pretended to work
her over with sticks and leather straps, to burn her with
cigarettes and smack her around with their fists and feet.
She screamed as loud as she could, begging for mercy as if
the attacks were real.

That's when the most cruel of the torturers, a man trained
at the academy operated by the American FBI, began to
persuade her to tell them all about the things Carlotta had
supposedly told her earlier, lies they had told Carlotta to
plant with the woman.

She agreed eagerly. She now identified with her kidnappers
and torturers completely - much more than she ever had with
her family in the years before she had been kidnapped on her
way to an appointment at the beauty shop she used in Mexico

She denounced Carlotta in the most pejorative terms, accused
her of telling the Federales where a load of cocaine would
be delivered on the American side, of informing on state
policemen who had carried out contract killings for certain
members of the drug cartel.

They promised her they would allow her to witness Carlotta's
execution. In the cemetery of a small church, they took the
two women out of the car and held guns on them both.

Carlotta was given her last cigarette and offered a
blindfold. She stood with the cigarette between her full
lips, costumed in a miniskirt and blouse - both in black,
since she was at a funeral.

As she tied the black scarf around her eyes, they asked her
if she had any last remarks.

"Yeah, hombre," she said, "shoot the loud mouth bitch in the

The rifles and pistols spoke instantly. The rich woman
collapsed with a half dozen small bullet holes in her face.
The back of her skull was blown completely away.

Carlotta pulled the blindfold off and draped it around her

She shivered slightly. It would be her job to communicate
with the woman's daughter, to tell her that for only a few
hundred thousand pesos more, they would release her to the
family with no further problems.

Copyright 2009

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