American Morning

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April 13th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Heroin cheaper than six-pack of beer

CNN's Carol Costello reports on who Mexican drug cartels are preying upon.
CNN's Carol Costello reports on who Mexican drug cartels are preying upon.

By Ronni Berke and Carol Costello

Massapequa, New York (CNN) - Doreen and Victor Ciappa thought they got a second chance when their 18-year-old daughter, Natalie, survived a heroin overdose last May.

Her mother recalled how, after the overdose, Natalie promised to stop using, insisting she didn't need rehab.

"She said 'oh no, I'm not going. I'll get myself off it,'" Doreen said.

Doreen Ciappa says she had no idea the packets she found among Natalie's belongings after her first overdose were actually heroin. "I had spent hours on the internet trying to figure out what they were."

During the year before the overdose, Natalie had changed. The straight-A student, cheerleader and accomplished singer had lost weight and began seeing less and less of her old friends. She was spending a lot of time alone in her room, writing songs and poetry. She started hanging out with a new boyfriend. Soon, she was missing curfew and fighting frequently with her parents. Despite their suspicions, the Ciappas say it never occurred to them Natalie was using heroin.

Within weeks of the first overdose, she went out to a party and never came home. Natalie had overdosed again, this time fatally.


Filed under: Drugs
April 13th, 2009
07:00 AM ET

Fast Forward

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The stories that will be making news later today:

At 10am ET President Obama and the First Family play host to some 30-thousand people for the traditional White House Easter egg roll on the south lawn.

A town full of Bernie Madoff victims is getting its day in court. Fairfield, Connecticut claims it lost tens of millions of dollars in employee pensions in his 65 billion dollar ponzi scheme. A judge will decide whether to lift the freeze on assets of investors who allegedly served as "feeder funds" for the scam.

At 1pm ET a life-line from the tax man. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman delivers a speech at the National Press Club highlighting the agency's new plan to help taxpayers in financial distress. It allows IRS employees to adjust or defer tax payments for people having trouble paying their taxes.

At 11:35am ET President Obama and Vice President Biden will speak at a Transportation Department event highlighting road and infrastructure projects funded by stimulus money. The focus is a 68-million-dollar project in economically-depressed Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Investigators in New Hampshire are sifting through the ashes and trying to determine what sparked a massive fire that burned through dozens of summer cottages at a christian center. High winds fanned the fire, which broke out yesterday. No one was injured.

Tonight the New York Mets christen their brand-new ballpark Citi Field. The Mets will host the San Diego Padres in the first-ever regular season game at Citi Field. The bailed-out financial giant Citigroup paid 400-million dollars for the naming rights, which, as you might imagine has created some controversy.

Filed under: Fast Forward
April 13th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

What's on Tap – Monday April 13th, 2009

Here are the big stories we're following for you today.

  • He’s being described as the “good shepherd” this morning.  Captain Richard Phillips' is now safe.  Three of his pirate captors are now dead.  Another is U.S. custody after the Navy Seals pulled off a pinpoint and flawless rescue operation on the high seas.  Maritime experts are saying this should be a wakeup call to the growing piracy problem.  Right now 200 people are still being held hostage in Somalia and their captors aren’t in sharpshooters’ crosshairs.
  • We're getting lots of comments on our viewer hotline about the dramatic rescue and how to stop the rampant piracy off Somalia’s coast.  We want to hear from you on this story and whatever else is on your mind.  Call us at 877-MY-AM-FIX and you could be on the air today.
  • This morning we begin a special series called Drug Nation.  It’s a serious look at drug addiction in this country and how it’s affecting every community, from inner cities to the tranquil suburbs.  We're also searching for solutions.  Today: Heroin and its grip on kids in this country.  A bag of this poison can be cheaper than a six-pack of beer – and some children thinks it's safer.
  • And - breathe easy, America.  You finally have a new first pup.  The campaign promise fulfilled.  The Obamas are getting a Portuguese water dog.  What are the Obama girls calling it?

Filed under: What's On Tap
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