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Adrian Lamo’s drug abuse – Documentation

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A mugshot of Adrian Lamo.

One of many mugshots of Adrian Lamo.

This article is on the subject of Adrian Lamo. We will document his abuse of prescription and other drugs.

Meeting with SF Weekly reporter Matt Palmquist in April 2003, Lamo’s appearance was described briefly by Palmquist, including “black and green spots mottle his yellow teeth . . .”[1] Tooth decay is a common symptom amongst amphetamine users. Palmquist also described another symptom of Lamo’s: “. . . his face rippling from the occasional tic.”[1] Tics are another common symptom of abusers of psychoactive drugs. That is, Adrian Lamo in 2003 was exhibiting obvious symptoms of drug abuse. Indeed, Lamo then admits to having had an amphetamine overdose within the past year: “Ever since an amphetamine overdose last year, Lamo says, he’s apt to start convulsing . . .”[1] Further, Palmquist reiterates: “The convulsions are the result of a neurological disorder, which Lamo says stems from an amphetamine overdose he endured last year.”[1] Through his interactions with Lamo, Palmquist came to understand the importance of drugs in Lamo’s life at the time, and in no uncertain terms stated: “As with most of the steady influences on Lamo’s life, drug use is something he regards as a necessary element of his lifestyle . . .”[1] Indeed, Lamo did not hide his drug abuse lifestyle, finally admitting: “‘. . . substances that disassociate you from your senses have played a big part in my life,’ Lamo says.”[1] In sum, Adrian Lamo admitted to the abuse of both amphetamines and psychoactive (dissociative) drugs — having overdosed on the former, and the latter playing “a big part” in his life — in 2003, and going back at least a year prior.

Xanax pills

Adrian Lamo's favorite drug: Xanax.

Palmquist wasn’t the only journalist to have noted Lamo’s symptoms and admissions of drug abuse. Jennifer Kahn of Wired thoroughly documented the same behavior in 2004. She describes Lamo: “In person, Lamo is not quite as I imagined him. He’s beset by facial tics, including one that makes it look like he’s winking.”[2] She also describes a strange admission on his part, in an unexpected late-night phone call from him: “. . . Lamo reveals that he recently went to a doctor . . . To Lamo’s annoyance, the doctor gave him prescription sleeping pills and a four-week supply of Paxil, which he refuses to take. He was hoping to score Xanax . . .”[2] He then goes on to describe to Kahn how he obtains the drug: “”If you say ‘I want Xanax’ up front, they say ‘Oh boy, only Paxil for you!’ . . . But if I go back in two weeks and say, ‘The Paxil isn’t working, plus I’ve started getting these little, like, electric shocks throughout my body’ – then they think you’re showing signs of petit mal seizure, which is one of the side effects, and they give you Xanax.”[2] Kahn, also in no uncertain terms, states: “Lamo actually is seizure-prone, ever since he overdosed on prescription amphetamines back in 2001. Now, he explains, he sticks to depressives and dissociatives.”[2] She quotes Lamo boasting: “The dissociatives are amazing . . . You can look at your face in the mirror and completely not recognize it.”[2] Towards the end of the article, Kahn describes Lamo as distancing himself from her once she had been made aware of his drug abuse: “What pushed Lamo over the edge, I learned, was that I had asked his friends about his drug use and whether they ever worried about his health.”[2] In sum, Kahn documents the exact same symptoms and behavior Palmquist witnessed: facial tics, seizures, and a pattern of careful planning and execution in obtaining and abusing prescription drugs, namely amphetamines and Xanax (a fast-acting sedative and hypnotic).

In 2010, Adrian Lamo was interpellated in a parking lot by police officers, after having called them regarding the theft of his backpack, in which he claims he kept his “prescription anti-depressants he’d been on since 2004.”[3] Recall that Lamo had admitted to abusing prescription anti-depressants (namely Xanax) that year — 2004 — to Jennifer Kahn of Wired.[2] The responding officers described Lamo as incognizant: “. . . they [responding officers] just kind of exchanged a look and told me to get on the stretcher,” recounts Lamo. He was forcibly admitted to hospital and placed under an involuntary 72-hour psychiatric hold, which was then extended by a peace officer to a total of nine days of involuntary psychiatric confinement. Lamo claims the symptoms observed by the officers and leading to his nine days of confinement were due to his undiagnosed “Asperger’s Disorder.”[3] It remains unclear if Asperger’s Disorder would cause the types of symptoms observed by the responding officers that lead to nine days of involuntary confinement in a psychiatric institution.

In conclusion, Adrian Lamo is a documented, admitted, and proud prescription drug abuser.

It remains to be seen what effect this fact will have on the US Army’s case against PFC Manning — given the above documented facts pertaining to the star witness (who seems quite eager to testify in court).

[1] ‘A Duty to Hack,’ Matt Palmquist, SF Weekly, Apr 16 2003 <http://www.sfweekly.com/2003-04-16/news/a-duty-to-hack/>
[2] ‘The Homeless Hacker v. The New York Times,’ Jennifer Kahn, Wired, Dec 2004 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.04/hacker_pr.html>
[3] ‘Ex-Hacker Adrian Lamo Institutionalized for Asperger’s,’ Kevin Poulsen, Wired, May 2010 <http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/05/lamo/>


Adrian Lamo on drugs during BBC interview?

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Watch the BBC interview with Adrian Lamo below, dated July 30, 2010. Particularly striking is his slurring and apparent cognitive disconnect at around the three and a half minute mark…

For those thinking this slow, slurred speech may be due to Lamo’s claimed Asperger’s Syndrome, compare Lamo’s slurring to Gary McKinnon’s very eloquent BBC interview here.

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August 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

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