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Hacker Barnaby Jack Died of Drug Overdose 195

DrDevil writes "Barnaby Jack, the computer security expert who died mysteriously a few days before he was due to give a presentation on hacking pacemakers at last year's Black Hat, died of a drug overdose. The coroner initially withheld the report, which led to much speculation given the timing of his death. Mr. Jack appears to have taken a cocktail of drugs (PDF) and was found dead by his girlfriend. His girlfriend stated that he had used drugs regularly."
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Hacker Barnaby Jack Died of Drug Overdose

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  • Re:Bad things (Score:5, Informative)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @11:51AM (#45865285)

    Actually medications are very rarely banned - what usually happens is doctors just stick to prescribing the safer drugs unless they prove ineffective, in which case they switch to the riskier ones. You know, that whole "Do no harm" oath they take.

    As for the recreational stuff - the point of legalization is not necessarily to voice approval, its an acknowledgement that prohibition doesn't actually work and never has, no matter how draconian the punishments (remember that story about a couple people in a garden and an apple? Or maybe the one about Al Capone?). And that most of the evils associated with the drug trade are due to it's illegal nature, not the drug itself. Since it can't be stopped we may as well legalize it so we can deprive the really horrible, violent people who control the black market of the massive revenue stream that provides most of their funding. Not to mention bringing production into a safer more regulated environment and stopping the militarization of the police force and the erosion of civil liberties. And of course improving the security of the borders - do you really thing a foreign terrorist would try to smuggle his dirty bomb through customs when he can just buy a ticket on a well-established drug run instead? Oh, and reducing human trafficking - slavery is more profitable when you can piggyback on established drug routes instead of having to do everything yourself.

    Besides which, the only recreational drug currently getting any traction towards legalization in the US is marijuana, which is far safer than alcohol by any measure you care to name. And most of the really nasty synthetic stuff was explicitly created as a cheaper or legal alternative to something illegal. If you could buy medical grade cocaine at the corner store with only the usual commercial markup, how many people do you suppose would choose black-market heroin instead?

  • by Guido von Guido II ( 2712421 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:24PM (#45866103)

    You're missing the point. As you pointed out, legality and known purity is not going to prevent all overdoses, but it would prevent some.

    If you're buying drugs on the street, it's difficult to tell exactly how pure. This means that by taking the same mass of a particular drug, you're not going to get precisely the same amount of active ingredient. If your latest dose is sufficiently purer than your typical dose, then you may overdose.

    What complicates this is that many addicts will go off of their drug of choice for a period of time and lose their tolerance. When they start using again, their bodies can't handle as much but they try to use their old dose and overdose.

  • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @03:16PM (#45866409)

    I am surprised this got modded insightful. Nothing against the parent but knowing your dose wouldn't help in cases like this. It was an OD from a cocktail of heroin, cocaine, Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) and Alprazolam (aka Xanax). Even if they were legal, no sane doctor would ever advise taking all four together. This was nothing more than death from reckless drug use. You could legalize everything, provide safe usage guidelines and people would still die like this. Its the same as speeding, losing control of your car and dying in a car crash caused by your own recklessness. you knew the limit, you were taught to follow it but you ignored it.

    Basically the worst thing you can do is mix this stuff together. They do it to have one drug counteract the other eg. coke is a stimulant and heroine is a depressant. The two are combined to get the extreme euphoria of heroin but having the coke combat the sedation (most heroin users shoot up and pass out). Those two used together is called a speedball [] and has killed quite a few famous people, and many more regular users.

    Why he also chose to throw benadryl and Xanax on top of that deadly mix is beyond me.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @03:22PM (#45866439) Homepage

    While all of this is true to an extent, the bigger problem is mix and match. There is very little real data on the effects of mixing multiple classes of drugs other than to tell the user 'it's dangerous, don't do it'. Most ODs are from either naive users, as you point out, or users who get drunk (typically), then add a slurry of other drugs, then go somewhere dark to pass out and then just quit breathing.

    Most ODs would be thwarted by having the presumptive victim in the same room as other people who have managed to keep enough of their brainstem function so as to remain breathing spontaneously. Calling 911 or just kicking the victim in the groin is pretty easy, even for the lay person.

    (Channel to the OD scene in 'Pulp Fiction'... )

  • by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:05PM (#45866915) Homepage

    I've yet to see any proof that wasn't just heresay from those with a profit to protect.
    Come, bring your evidence.
    If you bring a researcher, bring his benefactor as well. You will see patterns form.
    Marijuana is harmful to profits, THAT is the ONLY harm there EVER was from the use of marijuana.
    Even smoking has produced no cancers. No deaths. Not even hangnails.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde