Monthly Archives: June 1999

Technology makes fake IDs look more real than ever

Joseph smiled at the bartender, asked for a beer and, when he heard the familiar request for an ID, pulled his Connecticut driver’s license from his wallet.

The 20-year-old had breezed through the drill dozens of times, but on this Friday night in April, it seemed to be taking too long. Then the bartender pulled a book from behind the counter and flipped to a picture of a Connecticut ID.

“That freaked me out,” said Joseph, who attends a university in the Northeast and is working in Fort Worth this summer. “I thought he was going to realize it was a fake and would throw me out.”

But a few minutes later, Joseph, who spoke on condition that his last name not be used, was sipping a beer. His nearly flawless ID, which he had designed on a computer and pasted together in about 30 minutes, had yet again passed the test.

Young people have used forged licenses as long as laws have prevented them from drinking. But what separates students such as Joseph from the generations of varsity counterfeiters before them is the deftness of their felonious work. Using computer technology widely available at universities, they’re able to make fake IDs so advanced that even veteran officers are duped.

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Drug fad catching parents, professionals by surprise

Michelle Hewett never suspected the cold medicine.

She knew James was using something – maybe pot, maybe cocaine or heroin. But when she searched her 16-year-old son’s bedroom one afternoon last spring, all she found was an empty Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold box stuffed under his dresser.

What a slob, she thought. And then she returned to looking for drugs.

It wasn’t until James went into rehab a month later that Mrs. Hewett learned that Coricidin – or, more precisely, the active ingredient, dextromethorphan – was one of his favorites. Nearly every other night for a year, James had taken 16 pills of the over-the-counter medication and then slipped on his headphones. The next morning, he’d often still be tripping as he headed to Clark High School in Plano, where many of his friends, he said, would be coming down from their own dextro-induced highs.

“How was I supposed to know?” Mrs. Hewett said recently. “We have enough trouble keeping up with all the mainstream stuff, but I had never heard about this. It’s cough medicine .”

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