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Two-Tiered System of Justice?; MTC Reveals the Dark Secrets of RX Drug Abuse; Cow Abuse Caught on Tape

Aired December 16, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight escalating outrage as people come out of the woodwork, claiming the 16-year-old drunk rich kid who killed four people and left a fifth in a vegetative state had a wildly decadent, unsupervised lifestyle. Published reports claim 16-year-old Ethan Couch lived in a Texas estate, where he allegedly threw alcohol-fueled parties.

We reached out to his attorney for comment, have not heard back. The rich teen got no jail time, none, because Judge Jean Boyd bought his claim that he was a victim of his parents` permissive pampering, dubbed affluenza. Well, now she is the target of a petition calling for her removal from the bench.

And in a moment, I`m going to talk live to this woman, whose brother was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling a little pot, proving just how unfair and discriminatory our criminal justice system is. A rich kid gets no jail time for killing four people, but another guy gets half a century for selling pot. Are you kidding me?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, and I`m fed up with our two- tiered system of justice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to need some ambulances. It`s bad. We flipped and -- oh, God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drinking heavily before Couch plowed down four people on the side of the road.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A 25-year-old Utah man may not taste freedom again until he`s 70 years old.

LISA ANGELOS, SISTER OF WELDON ANGELOS: I didn`t think that he would have ended up getting 55 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A product of something he called affluenza.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma`am, I`m telling you it`s dark. There`s four or five kids -- there`s kids laying in ditches and street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All Ethan Couch got for his actions was a slap on the wrist.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The rich kid`s lawyer argued his parents are to blame. Here is my rant, people. Have they apologized? Have they expressed sorrow for what their unruly, undisciplined kid did? Has the kid apologized? No. The closest we found was a lawyer statement calling it a tragedy. No bleep, Sherlock. Yes, it`s a tragedy.

We`re now learning how this teen allegedly lived a debauched life. This is a Google Earth view of the estate with pool listed in the lawsuit against the teen that was filed by the parents of the young man left in a vegetative state when Ethan went on the drunken joy ride and killed four others. Look at this young man. Literally a stone`s throw from his estate.

The lawsuit charges the rich teenager was unsupervised and frequently drunk. Already had prior alcohol-related offenses and was not supposed to be driving without a licensed adult in the car with him, which there was not.

Still, this teenager got no jail time, even though he was three times the legal limit in booze and high on valium, driving 70 miles an hour in a 40-mile-an-hour zone. The car he killed with was owned by his father`s company. Leading us to ask why is a 16-year-old drunk kid driving around in a corporate vehicle?

What do you think about this? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7927.

Straight out to your senior producer, Selin Darkalstanian. Selin, you`ve been digging into this case. What have you found tonight?

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, SENIOR PRODUCER, ISSUES: Jane, I pulled the accident report for Ethan Couch`s father, and in it we, found something real interesting that hasn`t actually been out there.

There`s 19 records found in his Acura that shows criminal filings, from speeding to basically causing bodily arm. That`s all sorts of criminal background that his father has.

And remember, this is the dad who owns the property that Ethan Couch was having this party at that he was driving the night he killed the four people on the road. This is an interesting twist of the story. The background of the father of where this 16-year-old boy is coming from.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So some might say the apple doesn`t fall far from the tree.

One of the victims in this horrific case is a young man by the name of Sergio Molina. The 16-year-old was apparently not a big partier. But he happened to have the misfortune of being in the car with Ethan Couch at the time of this crash. This young man is now in a persistent vegetative state, can barely move, can hardly talk. OK? He`s paralyzed.

He loved soccer. He`s considered minimally responsive, lying in bed there with his Chihuahua, Pinkie.

Here`s what Sergio`s brother told CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They told us that basically that`s as much as he`s going to rehabilitate. That that`s -- that`s all we can hope for is how he is right now for the rest of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the six months since the accident what have your medical bills totaled so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over a million dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A million dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over a million dollars.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m holding in my hand the multimillion-dollar lawsuit that Sergio`s family has filed against the Couch family and the dad`s company, Cleburne Sheet Metal, out of Fort Worth, Texas, because Ethan was allegedly driving the company-owned truck at the time of the crash.

Ethan`s parents and their lawyers are invited on any time.

Now, I want to go to Evangeline Gomez, criminal defense attorney. How strong is the lawsuit the Molina family has filed against the father, his corporation, the boy`s mother, and this young man himself, who was driving?

EVANGELINE GOMEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s been reported that the father has a -- the business has a very good reputation in the area and that it`s lucrative. So it`s not this Molina family, the other families as well that are hoping, look, the criminal justice system obviously didn`t favor us. Hopefully, we`ll get something from the civil system.

And so look, there are expenses. We know there are expenses to care for that poor child, this poor teenager. And so it looks like it may be successful. We`ll see. Again, we never know what`s going to happen.

The judges in Texas are elected. So it would be interesting to see the financial reports, election reports of those judges that will make these decisions and who their funders have been.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interesting. A petition has been started, speaking of the judge, at, asking the governor of Texas to remove the judge, the one who gave this kid no jail time, even though he killed four people and left another one in a vegetative state. The judge is Judge Jean Boyd. She is reportedly expected to retire next year. We`re going to show you a picture of her. But critics want her out now. This is the petition seeking her removal.

Here`s what one of the victim`s family members said about her extremely lenient sentence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ethan always seems to be in trouble. This was one time I did ask the court that for justice and that for money, not to prevail. And ultimately today, I felt like money did prevail.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a photo of the judge from Again, she sent this kid, who killed four people and left a fifth in a vegetative state, to rehab, at a very fancy rehab, reportedly.

She also heard a case last year, however, and sentenced a 14-year-old African-American boy to ten years in prison for killing one person with a powerful punch. We do not know what that boy`s background is. But critics are saying this ruling, compared to Ethan`s ruling points to an inequity in her ruling.

Straight out to Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Let`s start with the overall, the big picture of our criminal justice system. Is this Exhibit A of an unfair criminal justice system that treats the 1 percent a hell of a lot better than the 99 percent?

JULIE STEWART, PRESIDENT, FAMILIES AGAINST MANDATORY MINIMUMS: Well, I guess I`m not an expert on exactly the entire criminal-justice system, but I would say that this is not uncommon for people that don`t have a lot of money to -- you know, those who have money get to have the better defense attorney, and maybe that can argue this affluenza case.

I mean, I would say that just from what I understand, probation for a minor, even who killed someone in a traffic accident, is not completely unusual. I think that this case just has so many different moving parts, and it`s all tragic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal Gordon, attorney, is this Exhibit A of a criminal-justice system that treats different people differently, depending on how much money they have?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: I would say absolutely yes.

You know, there`s an old adage that says justice is available to everyone the same as the Ritz Carlton. And you can imagine that these people have lived in the Ritz Carlton or spent a lot of time in the Ritz Carlton.

This case is one of the most abominable cases that I`ve seen lately dealing with your criminal-justice system. And, you know, the thing about it is it`s gotten so bad now that people don`t even apologize for these unfair sentences and these unfair rulings that come from their courts. They think it`s OK. They think nobody is watching, and the whole world is watching. And they`re making a mockery of our system, and it`s very...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, the sister of the man who was sentenced to 55 years for selling pot. Remember, kid we`re talking about kills four people, leaves one in a vegetative state. He gets to go to a rehab that looks more like a resort. But somebody sells pot, and they get sentenced to 55 years in prison. Is there something wrong with that picture? I say yes. This lady on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma`am, I`m telling you it`s dark. There`s four or five kids -- there`s kids laying in ditches and street.




SCOTT BROWN, ETHAN COUCH`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen, that`s a consequence.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ethan Couch`s defense attorney thinks probation and rehab is a fair consequence for killing four people and paralyzing a fifth.

Let`s compare that and contrast that in our two-tiered system of justice. The rich kid, Ethan Couch, reportedly going to this rehab facility in Newport Beach, California, for treatment paid for by Daddy dearest, nearly half a million dollars a year. To me it looks like a resort.

Now, Exhibit B, this guy, Weldon Angelos, in prison for 55 years for selling about $350 worth of pot to an undercover cop. He was a father of two, still is, and music producer. Just 23 years old when he was thrown in the slammer. If something doesn`t change, he`s going to be 80 years old when he gets out. He didn`t kill anybody. He didn`t really hurt anybody at all.

His sister joins me now. Lisa Angelos, thank you for speaking up for your brother. What has this been like emotionally for you and your family?

ANGELOS: It`s been a tragedy for my entire family, especially his children. Watching them go through the holidays and all the court appearances and everything was really tough to watch little children suffer through that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`m reading here that, basically, the U.S. attorney says, "Well, that sends the message that people who engage in armed drug dealing are going to face very serious consequences."

I want to point out, yes he reportedly had a gun on an ankle (ph), but he never pulled it out. What do you think when you see a kid who`s wealthy and who suffers from affluenza, according to his lawyers and a psychologist, get probation for killing four people and leaving a fifth person paralyzed and gets to go to a fancy resort like rehab, but your brother is behind bars in prison for 55 years for selling pot?

ANGELOS: It angers me to hear stories like that. I hear a ton of violent crimes and crimes similar to that, and people -- excuse me. People are getting away scot-free or doing minute tall time. And he`s spending his, what essentially a life sentence in prison for marijuana offenses and minor gun offenses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re a very poised and graceful young woman. I`m angry. I can`t hide it. I can`t be as courageous as you are. It makes me furious.

And I want to go to the phone lines. I know a lot of Americans who are upset about this. Carol, Indiana, what have you got to say? Carol, Indiana.

CALLER: Jane, this angers me, too. Marijuana, through these 50 states, are going to be legalized pretty soon. In the `70s, you could go to jail for just having a seed.

Now this little boy, that -- his parents not only -- I don`t hold his parents responsible for the sentencing. That is the judge. But I do hold his parents responsible for getting him out of jams. It`s a young man like this that`s going to potentially be a bad seed to maybe other girlfriends, introducing them into something.

This little resort -- I`m going to tell you something. His parents need to go to either autopsies on closed head injuries. They`re the worst kind. They will leave you in a vegetative state. My heart goes out to this young man getting in the car with this -- with this psycho...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carol, I applaud you, because I agree with you 100 percent. You`re talking about poor little rich kid, the one who has affluenza, which is not really a diagnosis, by the way. It`s a made-up diagnosis.

Let`s get back to the guy who`s right now in the process of serving 55 years. He`s going to be in his 80s when he gets out, unless something happens. Why did Weldon Angelos get such a harsh sentence? Because of senseless federal mandatory sentencing laws.

OK. He`s carrying a gun in an ankle holster as he sold small amounts of pot to an undercover cop. You get a minimum of five years. Then you get 25 years for each subsequent transaction. And the worst part: There`s no patrol in the federal system. Here`s what his lawyer said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should go to jail, but he should go to jail for a reasonable period of time that is appropriate to the actual conduct.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal Gordon, attorney out of D.C., the sentence was upheld by the circuit court of appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Angelos` petition for a hearing. There`s a whole bunch of people writing to President Obama for this guy. But it doesn`t seem like there`s a lot of sympathy. What`s wrong with our criminal justice system?

GORDON: Our criminal justice system, Jane, is just simply out of whack.

First of all, I can`t stand mandatory sentences, because it takes discretion away from the trial judge and places it in the hands of advocates, who in this particular case is a prosecutor. A prosecutor determines which charges to bring and determines whether or not those charges will be subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

And when the judge -- someone pleads guilty to a charge mandatory minimum, the judge can`t do anything about it. It`s my understanding that the judge in this case was very -- he didn`t want to impose the sentence that he did, but he had no choice under the law.

So we have to tear down this wall that they`ve erected with these mandatory minimum sentences so that -- so that justice can prevail and people can get real -- really fair sentences.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then, when the judges do have the discretion, what do that do? Well, they take a rich kid and they say because he`s rich, he doesn`t deserve -- it won`t -- he won`t get the therapy he needs behind bars.

What about the therapy for all the other people behind bars? Where`s the concern for them?

Evangeline Gomez, we have more people locked up -- yes, let`s keep showing the picture of this judge who made that decision. Shame on you, lady. We have more people locked up in the United States behind bars than any other country in the entire world, many of them for nonviolent drug offenses just like Weldon. It`s a classic case. We`ve got -- what can we do?

GOMEZ: It`s a classic case, and the majority of Americans, they`re polled constantly about this issue. Republicans and Democrats alike think these mandatory minimums need to go where? Right out the window, because they are not having the effect on society that they`re supposed to.

You have a lot of criminal defendants who then do not go through a trial. The prosecutors are able to strong-arm them, and they still get these outrageous sentences. So you don`t see a decrease in recidivism, which is why people enacted these laws, because they thought, hey, we`ll see a decrease in these types of crimes. Or you won`t see such a high recidivism rate. And the studies have not proven a link between the two.

So at this point, you need federal legislation. But guess what? Federal legislation is moving a little too slow. This has been an issue for more than a decade.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It has been an issue. Julie Stewart, you`re the president and founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. You`ve been fighting to change things. We only have a couple of seconds. What`s going to change this?

STEWART: I think some members of Congress are going to get some nerve and say this isn`t working. And also I think that if we keep incarcerating nonviolent offenders at the rate that we are, we`re going to see our crime rates actually go up. Because so much money is spent keeping those people at the Bureau of Prisons, that they no longer have the money to support law enforcement fighting techniques at the FBI and elsewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are paying for all this unnecessary incarceration. And then the children who grow up without dads, they are more susceptible to getting into trouble. It`s a prison industrial complex. It`s become a business. How do you grow your business? More prisoners. It`s a shame. We`ve got to change it. And together we can.

On the other side, whoa, talk about controversy. "Sister Wives," that hugely popular show about the polygamist family -- one guy, four wives, 17 kids -- they got some good news today, and I`m not talking about an addition to the family.


KODY BROWN, REALITY TV STAR: What`s normal about any normal American family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, how do you define normal American family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say I think we`re normal. And then I go out, and I`m like, oh, yes, I can`t tell everybody about my normal family.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wouldn`t be here all together if we weren`t committed. The commitment is already there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a game-changing ruling about polygamy, and it all started with the stars of reality show "Sister Wives."

BROWN: I like to think that I`m in charge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s so not in charge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They believe in this multiple marriage. They want to live together and as long as they don`t care the marriage license, the judge says it`s OK.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight on "The Buzz," it`s a polygamist`s dream. A victory for the reality TV stars from TLC`s show, "Sister Wives." A judge has ruled it`s A-OK for Mr. Kody Brown and his four women, so-called wives, to shack up together as man and women under one roof as long as there is only one couple legally married with a marriage license.

They rocketed to fame on TLC`s hit reality series "Sister Wives."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want our children to choose this way (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t necessarily believe it`s right for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys, these are your brothers and sisters, whether you like it or not.

BROWN: Whatever is going to happen is going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When one of the couples is struggling, it shakes up the foundation of the family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The all new season "Sister Wives," Sundays at 9 on TLC.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did I mention that gang had 17 kids together? Now, after the first season Utah cops caught wind of what was going on. And they investigated the family for bigamy, forcing Kody and his four so- called wives -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is one of them -- to move to Nevada and they file a lawsuit to legalize their cohabitation in Utah.

OK. Concentrate on this one. Originally, Utah law said it`s not just illegal to have more than one marriage license. It`s also illegal to cohabitate with more than one adult in a marriage-like relationship when you`re already married to someone else. OK?

But now a judge says, as long as someone only has one marriage license at a time, the cops have no business asking consenting adults who`s sleeping with whom behind closed doors. So in other words, Kody and his gang of women, it`s legal for them. They can move back to Utah if they want.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. I actually think it`s a good idea. Marriage is one thing. It`s got to be whatever the laws are in terms of marriage. But as far as adults having more than one lover and living under the same roof with more than one lover, I say, let`s keep the cops and the government out of our bedroom.

Ann Wilde, a polygamy advocate and you were a plural wife for 33 years. Talk to me from Salt Lake City, Utah. Are you celebrating this?

ANN WILDE, POLYGAMY ADVOCATE (via phone): Yes, we certainly are. There`s about 38,000 of us that are very excited about this ruling. And we never have wanted more than one legal marriage license. We`ve always just had one, and then the rest of the ceremonies, marriage ceremonies have been a religious type of a ceremony.

But this is something that we`ve worked for, I personally for over 13 years and a goal that I didn`t think would be accomplished in my lifetime. But I was thrilled when the judge made the decision that, with religious cohabitation, there could be no discrimination.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to clarify something. I`m not pro- polygamy by any means. I am just saying that I don`t think the government should be intruding on what consenting adults do in their bedroom, as long as it`s not hurting anybody and no children are being abused.

The biggest argument against polygamy is how it`s going to affect the kids. And "Sister Wives," as I mentioned, the family has a whopping 17 kids between the four women and the guy. How do they handle their lifestyle with the little ones? Listen to this from TLC.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s OK for us to live this way, honestly. I`m sorry, but this is a nation of freedom of choice. We should have this choice, and I want my kids to know that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is nothing to be ashamed of. It`s not some secretive back room thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to go to Joni Holmes, and you are an advocate for former polygamists, former FLDS members. So you are opposed to polygamy. What do you make of the impact on the 17 children of this lifestyle?

JONI HOLM, ADVOCATE FOR FORMER FLDS MEMBERS (via phone): First of all, I really want to make it clear: it`s not legal yet in Utah. It`s been decriminalized, and there is still a big difference. It`s not legal to be in a polygamist family. But it`s not a criminal act any longer.

And I think as long as the kids are protected by the families -- you know, each individual family is -- it`s up to them to protect their families. But it`s not just about protecting their families; it`s protecting everybody in the communities.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to say that, from what I`ve researched, law enforcement in Utah went after this issue and investigated them because they were on TV. They hadn`t investigated a polygamist family for years. They usually investigate polygamist families when they feel that they`re involved in some other illegality like child abuse. And we`ll get to that in a second.

Now this family says, you know, you heard them, the way they live is normal. They feel they`re completely normal. Straight out to the street.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my question. Why would a woman want to share her man with three other women?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he`s so hot and that`s the only way she could get him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sex partners, he has a choice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I understand why he would do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doesn`t have to go out looking for it. They`re right there in his house.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, no cheating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s no cheating. Is that considered cheating then?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, maybe because she knows or maybe she`s doubting that she`s satisfying him. I don`t know. Maybe she likes that kind of stuff. Make she`s freaky. I have no idea.

Me, I don`t even like sharing food so I don`t understand how she could share her man with anybody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s straight talk from the street -- sharing your man with three other women. I personally don`t get it.

Stacy Kaiser, I will say however that women seem fascinated by certain subject matters "Fifty Shades of Gray", you know, "Sister Wives". What`s the thing with women and putting themselves in these situations that might be considered submissive, self-degrading?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, you know, I first want to say that I definitely am a believer in live and let live. That said, you know, this is not considered normal in our general society. And so it does pose a question of why they would do this. I think some of the women are involved in it for religious reasons and if you believe that`s what you`re supposed to do and you are raised to do that then that is what you`re going to do.

But I also think for some of these women, they`re looking for the sisterhood community. They like the fact that they have a support system that`s close. They have people cooking with them, washing dishes with them, helping with parenting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It sounds wonderful.

Time for "Me, My Pet and I", tweet us your pet selfies #JVMpetselfie and send them to

Oh we`ve got some fabulous ones -- Mandy and Schnelby, what a gorgeous couple you are. And there`s Joe and Buddha -- they`re meditating together, maybe not. Danielle and Freckles -- that is just plain old sweet, sweet, sweet. And Ashley and Tess, you know, you guys kind of look alike. How cute.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just had to eat every pill I had.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re found in medicine cabinets everywhere and they account for almost three-quarters of all overdose deaths in America today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what worries us because you`re endangering yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this episode of "True Life" you`ll meet two young people whose addiction to prescription meds is tearing their lives apart one pill, line and needle at a time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight`s big story, a gut-wrenching reality TV show, "True Life I`m Addicted to Pills", gives an extraordinary look into the real face of addiction. This show follows two drug users. One is a young mother who lives in a small Kentucky town with her son but being a mom to an innocent little boy doesn`t stop this woman from getting her dangerous fix.

Addicts will go to enormous lengths and it`s really scary to watch. Courtney is so addicted to pills she actually takes her five-year-old son along with her on a drug run. Watch this clip from MTV.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re going to see you out here. Hurry up.

I know it`s really sketchy to bring Josh here but I just really need to get high.

Can you be quiet? You`re making me nervous.

Come on, Josh.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And these are not illegal drugs. We`re talking about legal prescription drugs like Percocet, Oxycodone and Xanax. This extraordinary documentary is heartbreaking but it explains our legal prescription drug crisis in America. The CDC says more people today are overdosing from legal drugs than illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Straight out to my special guest, direct or MTV`s "True Life, I`m Addicted to Pills" and my friend, Katherine Linton. And I`ll just tell everybody -- first of all, both of the people you profiled are now in recovery. So I applaud them for having the courage to tell their stories and allow you to see it first hand. They`re doing a tremendous favor to America.

I opened my eye to this. You invited me to take a look at the screening and I just sat down as a guest in your party and what I saw so shocked me. I said "Katherine you have to come on and talk about this."

Now this woman is in Kentucky, I believe. But is this typical? I mean is this happening all over the country?

KATHERINE LINTON, DIRECTOR, "MTV TRUE LIFE": Yes, prescription drug abuse is happening all over the country. We picked Courtney and Dan for the show but we got submissions from all over the country. It`s one of the -- aside from alcohol, prescription pill addiction is one of the growing addictions in this country. It`s so easy for these kids to get pills. They can find it in their medicine cabinets, there`s pill parties for kids.

So I can`t tell you how many submissions we got from all over the country. This is not a Kentucky problem. This is not a Florida problem. This is an American problem, prescription pill abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know you told me when we were watching this that you were crying at certain points while this was happening and you tried to remain objective. But I don`t know how you could remain objective when you see that adorable little five-year-old boy crying for his mom. We`ll show that clip in a second.

Again I admire Courtney and Dan for having the courage to share their horrific addictions. They`re now both in recovery and I hope that they stay clean and sober.

29-year-old Dan lives in Florida where the whole state has cracked down on pills so they`re much harder to get. His addiction is so bad he started injecting the pills into his arm and when he couldn`t get pills, he turned to heroine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pretty dark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So for the past week you`ve only been buying heroine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, dude. There it is. That was stronger than I thought it was.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, he is now sober. Dr. Drew, thank you for joining us tonight. This is a crisis. Why isn`t this priority number one in our country? And who, most important who is to blame for this crisis of mood-altering, highly-addictive prescription drugs which are supposed to be administered under a doctor`s supervision but are now the number one recreational drug crises in America.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: The sad reality is and this is something that`s been going on for close to a decade now. And it`s been a tsunami. I`ve been yelling about it for years. I`ve been talking about it every single week on my program.

The fact is that when patients are cocaine addicts, if they`re heroin addicts, if they`re alcoholics, they don`t die of their illicit drug use. They die when they get to pills. And in my case my patients when they die get those pills from their physicians. They`re not getting them off the street.

If you give an addict opiates or benzodiazepines I don`t care who`s describing it, I don`t care how long they`ve been sober, I don`t care what the circumstances are -- that patient`s life is in danger. They are likely to die.

In the opening piece you just played here, three-quarters of addiction deaths are from pills, not cocaine, not heroine, pills. You see about it every day in the celebrity profiles, celebrities are dying of pills. My patients are dying of pills. And it`s coming -- it breaks my heart to say this -- unwittingly most of it is coming from my profession.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I absolutely agree with you, Dr. Drew. Katherine Linton, I mean, so many people tell me because they know I`m in recovery, 18 years from alcoholism, I just had a little back pain and my doctor gave me these incredible mood-altering pills. I mean how come -- who`s to blame in your opinion?

LINTON: I agree that doctors are very much -- they`re prescribing these pills without even questioning these addicts. I had so many addicts tell me that all they had to do was walk in with an old x-ray in these pain clinics in Florida and over the country and say -- and any kid in America knows what to look for to say this is my symptom and this is how I`m going to get a pill.

And these doctors are not screening for addiction. They`re not -- they`re just giving these kids as many prescriptions as they want. It`s easy to get in this country. That is the problem. I believe it`s the doctors and our lack of treatment systems in this country. You were talking earlier --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the drug companies running the government.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They have two lobbyists for every member of Congress according to some reports.

PINSKY: Hey Jane --


PINSKY: -- but Jane, listen to me, there are laws on the books that if doctors don`t prescribe pain medicine when a patient complains of pain, they can be guilty of a criminal offense. Doctors are being forced by the legal system to prescribe and they`re undertrained on identifying addiction and understanding the implications of giving an opiate or benzo to a drug addict. It`s a life-threatening phenomenon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there for today. We`re going to cover this all week. Dr. Drew, Katherine, I hope you come back. America needs to do something about it. We`re starting by talking about it.

Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s #hilarious, remember that scene? Here`s a hint.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been listening to what, to what Americans are saying.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That from "Saturday Night Live" and of course, you know, poking fun at the mess that happened in South Africa when a fake translator translated for President Obama. And it was a somber time but leave it to "Saturday Night Live" to discover the humor in that really, really awkward situation happening at the funeral of one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey little Rico.

Tonight in our "Animals Investigations Unit" horrifying abuse on one dairy farm exposed. Little Rico, Mercy for Animals claims animals are just like you, have feelings just like you, are punched and kicked and stabbed and allegedly dragged. It was all caught on tape.

I warn you, this is graphic content but we must bear witness. We can`t even show you a tenth of the horror. Don`t take our word for it. Go to and watch the whole video for yourself. You decide.

It was filmed in Wiese Brothers` Farm in Wisconsin a major supplier of milk to Foremost Farms USA. Foremost uses that milk to make cheese which they supply to Nestle -- the food giant. That cheese is then used on Digiorno Microwave Pizza -- that`s the whole chain.

In a statement Nestle said, quote, "Nestle is outraged and deeply saddened by the mistreatment of animals shown in this video. When we learned of this issue, we took swift action. We have advised Foremost Farms we will not accept any cheese made with milk for the Wiese Brothers` Farm." Straight out to my special guest, Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals -- Nathan spell it out. What do you say your investigators found happening on this farm.

Look at this. What is it? This is a living creature being pulled up by a -- oh God. Just tell us. Tell us.

NATHAN RUNKLE, MERCY FOR ANIMALS: Our investigator found a culture of cruelty and violence at this dairy farm. Workers beat, kicked and even stabbed cows until they bled. They attached chains around their legs and their necks and dragged them with tractors, even hoisted them off the ground.

This is unacceptable animal abuse that Digiorno Pizza and Nestle shouldn`t be supporting. It`s time for them to the step up to the plate and implement meaningful policies to prevent this abuse from happening in the first place. They have the power and we feel ethical responsibility to take action immediately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Since this video went viral cops have been investigating the Wiese Brothers Farm. The company cooperating with police they say. They fired two employees and removed a third from animal handling duties. They said "We`re shocked and saddened to see a few of our employees not following our farm`s policies for proper animal care."

You can see all of the companies involved, their statements on my Web site, But Nathan Runkle, every time you do one of these investigations the company in question always says we`re shocked to see a few of our employees. How could they miss something like that?

RUNKLE: It`s a great question. This abuse happened day after day. It happened under the watch of management. Oftentimes we find that management at these factory farms are involved in this horrific abuse. The only thing that they regret is that they`re caught red-handed in the act abusing these animals which is now exposed for the world to see.

Things need to change. We need stronger laws and corporations need to take accountability.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And consumers take note. Ultimately the power is in your hands. If you don`t like this, use the power of the purse and get involved. Go to These cows cannot speak for themselves.

Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shut up. I don`t have time right now. You`ve been a little agro lately? You could be stressed out. Now that can cause you to gain weight. It can increase your blood pressure and it makes you very unpopular at the office.

Upwave nutritionist extraordinaire, Keri Glassman, what can we do about this?

KERI GLASSMAN, NUTRITIONIST: Two things you need to check in on your diet if you`re feeling stressed out and tense is sugar and coffee. So first, sugar. If you`re consuming too much sugar, you might get a little energy boost at first, But then you drop back down and we know it also makes you gain weight.

Coffee. Coffee in moderation. I drink coffee. It has many health benefits. But too much coffee could be making you irritable and tense also giving you some heart palpitations. So if you`re having any of that, ditch the coffee or at least reduce it way back.

But something you should be consuming a lot of is a great salad like this. This salad, the Brussel sprouts, the spinach are loaded with B vitamins. People that are deficient in B vitamins are known to be more anxious. The almonds have magnesium which play a role in your nervous system. And the avocado has omega 3s which is good for cognition and mood and they also have some B vitamins.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eat healthy. Don`t stress, people.

GLASSMAN: Eat this up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to Buddy -- that`s a little turf you got there. Chester -- you are stressed for the holidays. Look at that glitter diamond. You`re giving Paris Hilton a run for her money, honey.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An extraordinary Slice of Happiness tonight. The Mimi Foundation, "If only for a Second" project, brought together 20 cancer patients to give them a moment to forget about their disease and feel carefree, and these makeovers were attempts to capture their spirit and personality and they recorded a patient`s reactions after they saw themselves after the makeover for the first time. An amazing, moving project -- love it.

Nancy`s next.