Best street food to eat in Phuket, Thailand

IT’S well known that Aussies just can’t get enough of Phuket.

For decades, the largest of Thailand’s islands has been a travellers’ go-to thanks to its tropical climate, blissful beaches and raucous bar scene.

But perhaps unknown to most is the island’s status as an international culinary heavy-hitter.

Placed within the lauded ranks of UNESCO’s World’s Leading Cities of Gastronomy in 2011, four years later Phuket was upgraded to City of Gastronomy status due to its unique food scene.

You see, long before backpackers and tourists descended on this holiday idyll, a melting pot of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Thais and “sea gypsies” created a fusion of flavours that colours the island’s culinary palette. To this day, many of Phuket’s quintessential dishes are made by the original families who brought them here. So next time you visit this beachside paradise, forgo western food and pad thai and tickle your tastebuds like a local with these seven Phuket foodie experiences.

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food Tours

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food ToursSource:Supplied

TASTE THE MELTING POT

Get the inside scoop on the cultural medley that makes Phuket’s food scene so original on the Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour.

Walking around the old town where the rampant tourism industry has thankfully left the charm-infused houses, streets and traditional shops unscathed, this tour gives visitors a perfect overview of the eclectic dishes on offer. Focusing on Peranakan (descendants of Chinese immigrants, also known as “Baba”), alongside Indian and Malay, you’ll sample recipes that represent a blend of all cultures.

phuketfoodtours.com

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food Tours

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food ToursSource:Supplied

SLURP DOWN NOODLES

Given this mass migration, unsurprisingly you can find plenty of Chinese dishes here, in particular noodles – lots of noodles.

You could eat a different noodle dish every day for months and still not have worked through all the options. The favourite style on the island is Hokkien mee or mee Hokkien. Thanks to a healthy population of China’s Hoklo people, this lipsmacking dish of yellow egg noodles topped with everything from fish balls and shrimp wontons, to chicken and pork strips, is now everywhere. Phuket Town’s Mee Ton Poe is the oldest (and reputedly best).

Three generations of the same family have been dishing up bowls of the stuff since 1946.

Pork khao soi in Phuket.

Pork khao soi in Phuket.Source:istock

EAT YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN FRESH ROTI AND CURRY

Just as the Chinese have made their mark on Phuket’s shores, the Indian and Malay communities have too.

On the corner of Thalang and Thepkasattri roads, you’ll find two of Phuket Town’s oldest Muslim shophouse restaurants, Aroon and Abdul, side-by-side.

Run by the descendants of the original Indian families who opened them 70 or so years ago, cooks stand outside making fresh roti by hand.

And what better pairing with these freshly made, piping hot, flaky chewy flatbreads, than a chicken, mutton or beef spice-filled curry. Delicious.

Thai grilled pork satay called Moo Yang is a popular street food snack.

Thai grilled pork satay called Moo Yang is a popular street food snack.Source:istock

FIND THE BEST STREET EATS

Thailand and street food go hand-in-hand. Not only tasty, with a filling plate or bowl for well under 50 baht (less than $2) it’s a bargain too.

Satay, sticky rice and mango, spring rolls, sweet fish cakes, taro buns, fried insects, banana pancakes, deep-fried shrimp, spicy soups and Phuket’s own take on the French macaron – you can eat like a king for days here on a pauper’s salary.

The most authentic street food can be had in the lanes and streets of Phuket Town.

Many favourite stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries have been run by the same families for generations.

To make it even easier, download the Phuket Street Food app (launched via the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which provides information on the most popular dishes and location of stalls for easy reference.

Sweet Thai crepe pancakes being made at a local market.

Sweet Thai crepe pancakes being made at a local market.Source:istock

STOCK UP AT THE MARKETS

Rise early to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and make like a local by heading to one of Phuket’s fresh produce markets.

They take place daily or weekly across the island, but one of the biggest is in Kathu, between Patong and Phuket Town. The bustling marketplace is filled with stalls selling vegetables, fresh fish, meat, exotic fruits and herbs, and piles of homemade chilli pastes. On weekends, the aptly named Weekend Market, or “Talad Naka” to locals due to its proximity to Naka Temple, is more touristy, but still definitely worth a visit. Situated just outside Phuket Town, the large covered market is less about fresh produce and more about atmosphere and ready-made snacks.

Open Saturday and Sunday from mid afternoon until about 11pm, the vibrant atmosphere makes for a great alternative to dinner. Rock up, try some food, grab a beer and nab a seat to indulge in some people watching.

Bird nest cave, Phuket, Thailand.

Bird nest cave, Phuket, Thailand.Source:istock

TRY BIRD’S NEST SOUP

If you’re going to sample this Asian delicacy, Phuket is the place to do it.

As close to the source as you can get, the surrounding islands and their craggy, sea-splashed caves have the highest concentration of sea swallow nesting sites in the country and enterprising locals have built a business around the huge demand for their saliva-constructed nests.

Highly coveted by the Chinese, who believe them to be rich in nutrients and health-giving properties such as improving skin appearance and, of course, raising libido, the global industry is worth a whopping $5 billion annually.

Kanom jeen Thai rice noodles serves with fish curry and Phuket fish ball.

Kanom jeen Thai rice noodles serves with fish curry and Phuket fish ball.Source:istock

BREAKFAST LIKE A LOCAL

Skip the morning hotel buffet and instead do as a local and rise early for some quintessential breakfast dim sum (siew boi) or a bowl of kanom jeen. Best eaten 6-8am at the island’s abundant dim sum eateries, but for the most authentic try Juanhiang on Chana Charoen Rd, which claims to have been serving the delicious bite-size morsels for a century-plus.

Kanom jeen – a laksa-like dish of cold fermented rice noodles in a rich and creamy coconut-based curry sauce – is the other brekkie alternative. Whatever you opt for, make sure to get your caffeine fix afterwards with a glass of thick, sweet local coffee, or kopi.

Trafalgar’s Gavin Tollman on the brand’s new vision and the two things he never travels without

TRAVEL brand Trafalgar is in the business of creating “pinch me” moments for travellers — those moments that are so incredible, you think you must be dreaming — and its chief executive Gavin Tollman has had plenty of those.

He’s been (almost) everywhere in the world, many times over — which is no surprise when you run one of the world’s biggest travel operators — but there are a few moments of total wonderment that always take his breath away.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Venice but I do not remember a single time I didn’t feel this way: when you’re on the water taxi and you come around and you see St Mark’s Square for the first time from the water,” Mr Tollman told news.com.au.

“Every single time I see that skyline I just go, wow.

“I had a similar moment recently going to Ashford Castle in Cong, in Ireland, when I came around and saw the castle in the distance. I had that same moment when you just feel you are at one of the single most beautiful places in the world.

“It is one of the reasons I love to travel, when as soon as you arrive and see something for the first time you get that heartbeat going faster.”

These “pinch me” moments are a big part of Trafalgar’s new campaign, The Good Life, which is about letting guests experience the “real” people, places and cultural experiences of the destination they’re in — without having to worry about the logistics of their holiday.

And at a time when it’s becoming easier for travellers to plan and carry out their own trips, it’s still one of Trafalgar’s major advantages.

St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, is a favourite location for Trafalgar boss Gavin Tollman.

St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, is a favourite location for Trafalgar boss Gavin Tollman.Source:istock

“This is a campaign designed to show how we can make travel so much easier for guests, so they can get so much more out of [their trip],” Mr Tollman said.

“What we go out of our way to do, from the time somebody arrives with us until the time they leave, is make sure they simply do not have to worry about a single thing.

“It’s that ease, that effortlessness of travelling with us — there’s no worrying about checking in, there’s no logistics — it’s just getting to understand the places.”

Sustainability is another big focus for Trafalgar, Mr Tollman said. Not just in terms of environmental sustainability — and coach tours are one of the most sustainable ways to travel — but also in terms of what responsible tourism can offer destinations.

“The biggest type of tourism we have to eradicate is coming in with preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong and trying to apply them to the destinations we visit,” he said.

“That is the change we are trying to bring, one of greater understanding. And that is the positive impact tourism can have, because it is a truly sustaining force to the local economy. It’s not just about coming in to see something superficially and then leaving.”

Trafalgar has organised for its guests to visit the Vatican Museum after hours, when it’s a lot less busy.

Trafalgar has organised for its guests to visit the Vatican Museum after hours, when it’s a lot less busy.Source:Supplied

Trafalgar has just launched its Europe and Britain 2018 offering and Mr Tollman said Europe remained a massive focus for most Australian holiday-makers.

“In terms of where Australians are travelling to, Scandinavia is off the charts,” he said.

“It’s become the go-to destination. Number two in Europe is Spain. And number three is Britain. Britain has become cheaper, but whatever the reason might be, we’re seeing huge increases.

“Elsewhere in the world, Australians are going to places like Japan and Canada, which is incurring huge, double-digit growth.

“Exotic destinations are always of interest, but in terms of where the largest numbers of people are going, they’re going to these iconic areas of the world and what Trafalgar makes sure they do is have a great time without a worry in the world.”

Mr Tollman, from South Africa, has spent a lot of his life travelling — he hails from travel royalty.

His family owns Travel Corporation group (Trafalgar’s parent company), which employs many generations of the Tollman family. Travel is the family business and he is, in his own words, “perpetually on the move”.

Is there anything this seasoned traveller never travels without?

“This is a very quirky thing, but I always travel with a light yoga mat,” he said.

“If possible at my hotel, there is nothing better than waking up early and doing yoga at sunrise and greeting the morning sun. It always sets up your day.

Trafalgar offers the chance to stay at the stunning Ashford Castle in Ireland. Picture: John Menard

Trafalgar offers the chance to stay at the stunning Ashford Castle in Ireland. Picture: John MenardSource:Flickr

“And I love music, and one of the greatest changes for me has been the whole way of how transportable music is. When I’m in a hotel I don’t like listening to music on earphones so I have this incredibly small but very powerful bluetooth speaker, Ultimate Ears, and I travel with it everywhere.”

And he also has some tips for travelling parents, which he learned from many long-haul flights when his now-grown children were very young.

“Number one is, and it’s so obvious: before travelling, never ever [let them eat] sugar,” he said.

“I became the biggest advocate for on-board entertainment and back in those days. I’m showing my age, but you used to be able to get portable DVD players and I used to have two of them, one for each child. I was a huge advocate of never going with an expectation that the entertainment on the aircraft would be enough.

“Bring your own food that is good for your children and never rely on airline food. And take them to the bathroom while everyone else is eating.

“And the most important one, and I learnt this once at JFK airport, when the plane is on the descent, never ever believe your children when they say they don’t need to go to the bathroom.”

Mr Tollman started working with Trafalgar 20 years ago and today, the company offers 230 itineraries across six continents.

But is there anywhere in the world Mr Tollman has never been? Yes, he said — one of those places is Vietnam.

“My son just finished a gap year and his greatest excitement before he went to university was that he’d been to destinations I’d never been before,” he laughed.

Bombardier unveils its new $93 million jet that’s already sold out for years

THIS is the world’s biggest private jet, which costs a whopping $93 million and comes with a double bed, big screen TV and ensuite bathroom.

Bombardier’s new Global 7000 is the first jet to have four living sections — including dining and entertaining spaces, as well as a kitchen and suite for the plane’s crew, The Sun reports.

The 6.7 metre long aircraft, which has extra large windows and “aviation’s fastest in-flight internet”, has the capacity for 19 passengers to fly in the utmost luxury.

The Global 7000 is the latest in luxury flying, with four separate living compartments. Picture: Bombardier

The Global 7000 is the latest in luxury flying, with four separate living compartments. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

But even if you have a spare $93 million, you’ll have to wait as the stylish aircraft is sold out until 2021.

Aboard the top-of-the-range plane, six people can dine in comfort served from the “industry’s largest and most well-appointed galley”, while the master bedroom features a luxurious double bed and ensuite shower room.

The fancy bathroom. Picture: Bombardier

The fancy bathroom. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The plane has a range of 13,700 nautical kilometres, meaning it can travel from New York to Mumbai or Sydney to San Francisco without having to stop.

It is also the largest business jet able to land at London’s central City Airport.

The Global 7000 is currently on show at the National Business Aviation Association conference and expo in Henderson, Nevada.

The bedroom on the plane is better than in most people’s homes. Picture: Bombardier

The bedroom on the plane is better than in most people’s homes. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The dining space. Picture: Bombardier

The dining space. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The sleek interior. Picture: Bombardier

The sleek interior. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

Living the luxury life. Picture: Bombardier

Living the luxury life. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

Bombardier's new Global 7000 jet. Picture: Bombardier

AirAsia flight forced to turn back to Perth after terrifying midair emergency

PASSENGERS on board an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali feared for the lives after the aircraft plunged 20,000 feet in a midair emergency.

Flight QZ535 was forced to turn back to Perth Airport on Sunday morning, just 25 minutes into its flight, after a technical issue caused the cabin to lose pressure.

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats and passengers were told to get into a brace position as the plane plunged from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet.

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats. Picture: Nine News

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

AirAsia passengers feared for their lives. Picture: Nine News

AirAsia passengers feared for their lives. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

Clare Askew, among the 145 passengers on board, said the reaction of the airline’s crew made the ordeal more terrifying.

“The panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming, looked tearful and shocked,” she told Perth Now.

“Now, I get it, but we looked to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any, we were more worried because of how panicked they were.”

A passenger named Leah told Nine News: “I actually picked up my phone and sent a text message to my family, just hoping that they would get it. We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting.”

AirAsia passengers were told to get into a brace position. Picture: Nine News

AirAsia passengers were told to get into a brace position. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

The Perth woman said cabin crew were panicking, but left passengers in the dark.

“One of the stewardesses started running down the aisle and we thought, ‘why is she running?’ And then the masks fell down and everybody started panicking. Nobody told us what was going on,” she said.

Tracy, who was travelling with son Jayden, said: “My son said he didn’t want to get on another flight but I’ve assured him it can’t happen twice in a row. It’s really put me off flying. I fly every year on AirAsia.”

The plane landed safely in Perth, with passengers rescheduled for later journeys.

AirAsia said its engineers at Perth Airport were investigating the aircraft.

“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the airline said in a statement. “AirAsia Indonesia apologises for any inconvenience caused.”

In June, passengers spoke of how an AirAsia flight captain told them to start prayingafter the aircraft started “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 was flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was also forced to turn back because of difficulties.

Stay Away: Cleaning frenzy at Ipswich hospital to contain virus

HEALTH authorities are asking Queensland residents from Ipswich not to go to the hospital emergency department unless absolutely necessary.

The Queensland Times say staff are still dealing with an outbreak of a highly contagious norovirus including a major cleaning operation to stop the virus spreading.

No new cases have been confirmed since Wednesday but two more patients are showing symptoms. Norovirus is an infection that lasts up to 72 hours and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

As part of the effort to stop the virus spreading through the hospital, a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regime has been underway in the affected wards.

As part of the effort to stop the virus spreading through the hospital, a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regime has been underway in the affected wards.Source:Getty Images

So far, two cases have been confirmed with 11 patients showing symptoms.

But West Moreton Hospital and Health Service says testing to determine if an individual is positive for the virus can take up to 72-hours to be processed at an off-site forensic lab.

Precautionary measures are still in place at Ipswich Hospital to manage the outbreak.

Patient admission has been halted to two wards within the hospital and all visitors, including staff and other patients, have been reminded to practice appropriate hygiene, as per standard practice.

As part of the effort to stop the virus spreading through the hospital, a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regime has been underway in the affected wards.

A general increase in cleaning common, high use areas has also been implemented, a West Moreton spokesman said.

The response has diverted resources and the hospital has asked resident not to visit the emergency department unless necessary to ensure there are no delays in patient flow as a result.

The advice given by Ipswich Hospital executive director Luke Worth earlier this week still stands.

“We are working with our healthcare partners, Mater Springfield and Saint Andrews, as well as our rural hospitals to plan transfers of appropriate patients should that need arise — which it has not at present,” Mr Worth said, earlier this week.

“We’d also encourage people not to come to the Emergency Department unless their complaint is of serious nature requiring urgent medical attention, but instead to use their general practitioner or the 13 HEALTH phone service.”

Norovirus can be transmitted by touching surfaces or through direct or indirect contact with another person who is infected.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramping.

The illness generally lasts for up to two days. People can decrease their chance of coming into contact with norovirus by frequently washing their hands and disinfecting surfaces, particularly in shared spaces.

DNA study provides insight into how to live longer

Blowing out birthday cake

Every year spent in education adds an average of 11 months to people’s lifespan, say scientists.

The researchers say a person loses two months for every kilogram overweight they are – and seven years for smoking a packet of cigarettes a day.

Unusually, the Edinburgh university team found their answers by analysing differences in people’s genetic code or DNA.

Ultimately they think it will reveal new ways of helping us to live longer.

The group used the genetic code of more than 600,000 people who are taking part in a natural, yet massive, experiment.

Clearer picture

If someone smokes, drinks, dropped out of school and is overweight, it can be difficult to identify the impact of one specific unhealthy behaviour.

Instead, the researchers turned to the natural experiment.

Some people carry mutations in their DNA that increase appetite or make them more likely to put on weight, so researchers were able to compare those programmed to eat more with those who were not – irrespective of their wider lifestyles.

Dr Peter Joshi, from the university’s Usher Institute, said: “It doesn’t mess up the analysis. You can look directly at the effect of weight, in isolation, on lifespan.”

Similar sets of mutations have been linked to how long people spend in education and the enjoyment they get from smoking or drinking.

DNA

The research team also found specific mutations in human DNA that alter lifespan, reported in the journal Nature Communications.

  • Mutations in a gene (a set of instructions in DNA) that is involved in running the immune system could add seven months of life on average
  • People with a mutation that increased levels of bad cholesterol knocked eight months off life expectancy
  • A rare mutation in a gene – APOE – linked to dementia reduced lifespans by 11 months
  • And one that made smoking more appealing cut lives by five months

Dr Joshi says these genetic variants are the “tip of the iceberg”. He says around 20% of the variation in lifespans may be inherited, but only 1% of such mutations have yet been found.

However, he said that while genetics does influence lifespan, “you’ve got even more influence” through the choices you make.

Dr Joshi told the BBC: “We hope to discover novel genes affecting lifespan to give us new information about ageing and construct therapeutic interventions for ageing.”

There are also some disease mutations that clearly affect life expectancy, and to devastating effect, such as the Huntington’s gene. People with Huntington’s often die in their 20s.

However, in order to follow people until the end of their lives, many of the people studied were born before 1940.

Prof David Melzer, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “An extra year of education then may have been much more important than it is now.”

Girl’s lung collapsed after screaming at One Direction

One Direction at a concert

A 16-year-old fan’s ‘lung collapsed’ after she screamed too much at a One Direction concert, an emergency doctor told the BBC.

The girl became short of breath during the concert but continued cheering “because she was a super fan”.

When she attended the hospital straight afterwards, they found air had leaked into three different anatomical spaces.

Published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, it’s the first time a case of this kind has been documented.

Dr J Mack Slaughter treated the girl, (who remains anonymous) at the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas: “Her oxygen levels were fine. She didn’t look like she was seriously ill,” he said.

“But instead of breathing a normal 12-16 times a minute, she was breathing 22 times a minute. So we knew something was a little off by that.”

In a physical exam, Dr Slaughter also noted she had crepitus, “a crunchy sound – like the sound Rice Krispies make – when you press on certain parts of the body.”

This showed him that a “small amount of air had made its way out of the respiratory track into soft tissue.”

“Never seen before”

He found a tear in the lung had caused air to escape in three places: between the lung and the chest wall, into the chest cavity and behind the pharynx.

The combination of these three diagnoses hadn’t been seen before, Dr Slaughter said.

He said this leakage of air is “typically caused by an inciting event”, such as during an asthma attack, heavy weightlifting, diving or military flying, due to the sudden changes in air pressure.

Screaming or singing causing it is so rare, that Dr Slaughter could only find two other case reports. One was a drill sergeant while the other was an opera singer.

While it’s possible the condition was pre-existing, he said this is very unlikely.

The team performed a CT scan to make sure it wasn’t something specific to her anatomy: “The scan gave us more detail as to where the air was and how much. But it didn’t help us determine why this happened to her and not the other 19,000 girls in the audience!”

With a history of type 1 diabetes, the team also tested her to ensure this wasn’t causing her fast breathing rate.

When this was ruled out, she was kept overnight. X-rays were taken again to make sure the air wasn’t advancing: “It was stable and safe to send her home,” Dr Slaughter said.

The body typically reabsorbs the air and the tear can repair itself, he said.

Dr Slaughter treated the patient three years ago and said: “I never saw her again. I told her she’d be famous and get to go on the Jimmy Fallon show and meet One Direction but she was too embarrassed,” he said.

Other side of America’s ‘zombie drug’ epidemic

JOHN David Ball lives in excruciating pain every day.

He’s a designer who holds three degrees and used to make a six-figure salary, but these days he can’t go to work because he can’t think through the pain.

Some days, the 60-year-old can’t even walk to the front door.

He depends on powerful painkillers like morphine, and even sometimes fentanyl — a medication more commonly known as the “zombie drug”.

In August this year, news.com.au reported America is in the grips of an opioid epidemic, with thousands of people dying from overdoses across the country.

Arguably, the drug epidemic is a symptom of a health system run as an industry instead of a service, where pharmaceutical companies wield enormous power over regulators, hospitals and medical staff alike.

In fact, Louis Theroux’s new documentary, Heroin Town, reveals one in four adults in the city of Huntington in Virginia is addicted to heroin or some form of opiate.

Almost all of them started the same way: they started with legitimate pain, went to the doctor, got legal prescriptions, and became addicted.

However, legal prescriptions can’t continue indefinitely, and he reported many eventually turn to heroin — which is both cheaper, and more readily available.

The issue has evoked a powerful response from news.com.au readers, with a number of people getting in touch from the United States to explain their perspective.

They insist there’s another side to the story.

Mr Ball said this image shows the medical mesh inserted into his back, and “anyone with eyes can see I need help”.

Mr Ball said this image shows the medical mesh inserted into his back, and “anyone with eyes can see I need help”.Source:Supplied

People like Mr Ball, for example, just want a normal life.

He has a long list of chronic medical issues, but he told news.com.au it can be extremely difficult to get hold of the right drugs.

“People don’t get that (for) pain patients, the high feeling is normal,” he said. “I can deal with my life, if I get help with the pain.”

Mr Ball has severe back issues, to the point where his ribs ride on his hip bones, and he also had a colostomy for three years.

He said once he went to his local hospital, desperately seeking help, but was turned away because “the doctor said he thought I was just looking for drugs”.

The pain was so bad he succumbed to a coma for five weeks, Mr Ball claimed.

“It’s ironic I was accused of seeking opiates, almost died for the accusation, and now I need the drug I was accused of seeking,” he said sadly.

He spent six years on pain management, taking morphine every day.

“That gave me the ability to be a number one Macintosh sales man and raise two toddlers at the same time,” he told news.com.au.

Eventually, however, his doctor told him enough was enough, and cut his dose.

“I went from a viable, intelligent human being to a man who fights for pain relief. That’s my whole life. I’m in too much pain to do anything. Except exist.”

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What is Fentanyl?

Connie Bell, from Florida, has had a similar experience.

She was prescribed opiates in 2011 when she found herself unable to get out of bed due to severe pain from her arthritis.

“What I pay for my meds is outrageous and I do everything I need to do be legal. But pharmacies treat me like a second-hand citizen when the country cracks down on prescriptions due to the people in the street that abuse,” she told news.com.au.

“It’s all about the money,” said a woman called Pam, from New Jersey, who chose to withhold her surname.

“There is no help for those of us suffering from debilitating incurable diseases that cause severe pain — we are being abused, degraded, stigmatised, discriminated against and treated like criminals.”

Pam has spent the past decade urgently seeking relief from her myriad conditions.

She describes her symptoms like someone continuously beating her back with a bat, ice picks chipping away at her hips, electric shocks running down her legs, and burning ropes being tied around her ankles to the point where her circulation is cut off.

“Opioids were my last resort and I was given a quality of life,” she said.

However, in April, her doctor cut back her dose and sent her on her way.

“I am existing in a tortuous hell,” she told news.com.au. “We treat animals better.”

A huge number of people start with legal painkillers, and are forced to look elsewhere for relief when their prescriptions inevitably stop.

A huge number of people start with legal painkillers, and are forced to look elsewhere for relief when their prescriptions inevitably stop.Source:Supplied

Mr Ball said he knows opioids are claiming the lives of hundreds of his fellow Americans, but he thinks the country’s Drug Enforcement Administration has a lot to answer for when it comes to medical patients legitimately battling chronic pain.

“To be frank with you, if a drug abuser dies, too bad,” he said.

“When a person in pain has to live with that pain to save the life of a scum bucket? See where I’m coming from? The good suffer so the bad can live.”

The trouble is that while safe and legitimate options do need to be made available for people with chronic pain, the issue escalates with alarming speed.

According to data from America’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost two million Americans abuse or are dependant on prescription opioids.

Every day, more than 1000 people are treated for misusing these drugs.

Heroin use has more than quadrupled since 2010, and like the people in Louis Theroux’s documentary, nearly three out of four users report abusing prescription opioids prior to using.

Fentanyl — a synthetic drug 1000 times stronger than morphine — is also a worry.

According to the CDC, fentanyl encounters more than doubled across the country between 2014 and 2015, with New England and the Midwest hardest hit.

Most of the deaths involve illegally-made fentanyl being sold as heroin or counterfeit prescription pills.

“The current fentanyl crisis continues to expand in size and scope across the United States,” the CDC warned on its website.

However, there’s clearly no simple way to stem the tide.

Georgina Chapman’s fashion label in trouble amid Weinstein scandal

The future of fashion brand Marchesa is in question — and it’s all because of the man who put the fashion label on the map, Harvey Weinstein.

While the disgraced studio executive’s wife, Georgina Chapman, who designs the line with partner Keren Craig, announced this past week that she is leaving Weinstein, fashion insiders say it may not be enough to save the brand he helped her build.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Helzberg Diamonds had cancelled a collaboration with Marchesa that was due to hit stores this month.

Now, wedding stylist Diane Lloyd Roth, owner of L’Armoire clothing boutique in New Canaan, Conn., told the New York Post that clients are turning their backs on the fashion brand’s pricey bridal gown collection.

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman, who has left him. Pic: Getty

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman, who has left him. Pic: GettySource:Getty Images

“I tell my brides to bring [pages] from magazines, and [Marchesa is] always included. [Some clients] were going to go look at Marchesa … and now they’re getting cold feet,” she said. “They don’t want the association. The first question when someone’s getting married is, ‘Who are you wearing?’”

And with Chapman and Craig having cancelled their brand’s summer 2018 preview this past week, industry insiders reveal that Marchesa employees are feeling the heat — and not for the first time.

In the past, “Harvey would call Marchesa employees and yell at them, scare the s**t out of them,” said a top fashion publicist. “It’s a tough place [to work].”

He said that Marchesa employees’ resumes are flying around town right now. “Everyone is trying to leave.”

HL Group, which handles publicity for Marchesa, did not respond to a request for comment.

A fashion source close to the brand say that, within the company, “Georgina and Keren are keeping mum and carrying on. But they’re as nervous as their staff [is].”

Weintein, insiders say, has caused problems between his wife and her design partner Craig before.

“They almost split up due to Harvey — the way he promoted only Georgina to the press and put her on ‘Project Runway’ [the fashion-competition reality show on which he was an executive producer],” said one NYC fashion executive. She credits Craig as the brand’s true “creative. Without Keren, Marchesa wouldn’t last two minutes.”

The couple in 2012. Pic: AP

The couple in 2012. Pic: APSource:AP

That said, multiple sources have told the Post that the two women are very close, having been friends since they met at design school in London in the 1990s.

“They are leaning on each other for support right now,” the exec added. “If the brand goes under, they both suffer.”

It certainly hurts that Weinstein’s Hollywood connection tarnishes the brand. Among the actresses who have starred in Weinstein-produced films — and worn Marchesa on the red carpet — are Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Emma Watson, Renée Zellweger, Blake Lively and Kate Hudson. “Actresses won’t touch it now,” said another fashion executive.

Stylist Roth predicts some of her bridal clients will move on to designer Christian Siriano: “His dresses have the same fluffy, feminine feel.”

“I do think some stores will drop them,” said one major retailer whose stores carry Marchesa in the US. “In fashion, editors and buyers only go with what’s ‘cool.’ But they won’t suffer overseas. I think they can weather the storm.”

“Look, Georgina’s a survivor,” added the top fashion publicist. “If she can survive Harvey, she can survive anything.”

Racy ad campaign featuring naked men called out for being ‘sexist’

A WOMEN’S suit company has launched a racy new ad campaign featuring women in sleek, tailored suits alongside men in, well, nothing.

Dutch suit label Suistudio has taken their slogan “Not Dressing Men” to a whole new level by including buff, butt-naked men in the promo shots for their latest fashion line.

The photos show women dressed in well-fitted suits and clearly in a position of power, while the naked men are featured in the background and are almost used as a type of prop.

One of the pictures shows a woman sitting on a lounge dressed in a beige suit while she rests her feet on the naked man stretched out beneath her.

Another features a woman in a sleek black suit, lounging on a couch with her hand on a man’s bare butt.

The men in the ads are seen in submissive positions, with the women being the dominant focus. Picture: Suisuit/Twitter

The men in the ads are seen in submissive positions, with the women being the dominant focus. Picture: Suisuit/TwitterSource:Twitter

The campaign has split public opinion, with some praising the company and others claiming it is objectification. Picture: Suisuit/Twitter

The campaign has split public opinion, with some praising the company and others claiming it is objectification. Picture: Suisuit/TwitterSource:Twitter

The photos are all set in what looks like a luxury high-rise apartment, with the woman always front and centre and the man in the background or half out of the frame with his face concealed.

The studio is using the campaign as a statement to highlight the sexist way women are commonly portrayed in advertisements, particularly when selling products aimed at men.

Vice president of Suistudio USA Kristina Barricelli said the pictures bring focus to the normalised way women are often sexualised and used as objects in advertisements — the men aren’t portrayed in any way that women haven’t been before.

“There is nothing wrong with sex, the naked human body, and the inclusion of that in a campaign. Sex is a big part of fashion,” she told online newsite Upworthy.

“The problem is that in recent history, we haven’t seen a naked man objectified in the background. How strange! Why not?”

The ad campaign has gained a lot of attention online and there has been a backlash from people calling the ad out for objectification and claiming it is a step backwards in the fight for gender equality.

“I’m sure if the roles were reversed and this was published there would be a backlash from females saying that they are being sexualised, objectified, abused and so on. But somehow it is OK to do the same things to males. Hypocrites,” one Instagram user commented.

“Sexism is sexism, no matter if a woman dominates a man or vice versa.”

“And revenge is not a way to overcome injustice,” another user said.

While some are calling out the ad for being sexist others are saying it is empowering and praising the company for shedding light on gender inequality.

One user commented: “This ad campaign is genius. How many times have we seen a woman’s legs only or her bottom as a prop in men’s ad campaigns? All is fair in love and fashion.”

“Excellent cultural commentary! Love the irony,” another said.