Ross Ulbricht, the convicted mastermind behind the infamous Silk Road website, has been sentenced to life in prison by a Manhattan judge.
Silk Road was an online black market where users could anonymously buy drugs, weapons and other illegal goods.
In addition to his prison sentence, Ulbricht has been ordered to pay a massive restitution of more than $183 million.
“The stated purpose [of the Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts,” Judge Katherine Forrest told Ulbricht as reported by Wired.
“Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its…creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.”
The defence claimed that Ulbricht started Silk Road as an economic experiment, but handed it off to others after a few months. However he was lured back to the site to be set up as a fall guy when prosecutors were closing in.
Vice News reported that Ulbricht’s family is planning to appeal the sentencing.
Women’s hormonal cycles may not only make them prone to drug addiction but are also affected by triggers that lead to relapse, new research has found.
When fertility-related hormone levels are high, females learn faster, make stronger associations to cues in their environment and are more inclined to seek rewards, according to a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Women represent a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs, said researcher Erin Calipari, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in the US.
“Women becoming addicted to drugs may be a fundamentally different process than men,” she said. “It’s important to understand this, because it’s the first step in developing treatments that are actually effective,” Calipari said.
The next step, she said, would be to figure out specifics of how hormonal shifts affect women’s brains and, ultimately, develop medications that could help override those.
In this study, male and female rats were allowed to dose themselves with cocaine by pushing a lever, with a light set up to come on during dosing.
That’s similar to the environmental cues, such as drug paraphernalia, present when humans are taking drugs.
When hormone levels were high, female rats made stronger associations with the light and were more likely to keep pushing the lever as much as it took to get any amount of cocaine.
Females were willing to “pay” more in the presence of these cues to get cocaine, the findings showed.
The results are transferable to humans through behavioural economic analysis, which uses a complicated mathematical equation with values for the most and least a subject will do to get a payoff, said the study. (IANS)