Return to Transcripts main page


Forced Cuts Take Effect; Florida Sinkhole Getting Bigger; Govt.: Chavez "Fighting for His Life"; Prescription Drug Abuse Skyrocketing in Tennessee; Detroit Broke

Aired March 2, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Alina Cho, in for Don Lemon tonight.

Let's get up to speed on the hour's top stories.

The cuts nobody in Washington ever expected are now officially in place. President Obama signed an order required by law that put into effect, $85 billion in automatic pending cuts. The president and Republicans are pointing fingers over their failure to avoid the cuts. We will get an update from Washington in just a minute.

It's the worst possible news for a family in Florida. Rescue crews at the site of a sinkhole have called off their search for a man who fell in and was buried two nights ago. The sinkhole is said to be too dangerous, too deep and unstable. The hole opened up and swallowed Jeff Bush who was sleeping in his bed at the time. Emergency officials say the entire house is off-limits because it could collapse.

Venezuela's president is fighting for his life tonight. That's according to the country's vice president. Hugo Chavez announced in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The government hasn't said what type of cancer Chavez is battling but it now says he is receiving, quote, "intense treatment" at a military hospital in Caracas.

Cardinals that will choose the next pope are still arriving in Rome. And they will meet Monday morning to set a time for that special election to choose a successor to Benedict XVI.

Benedict stepped down officially on Thursday after giving a final blessing to thousands of faithful who were gathered in Vatican City. Many cardinals met personally with Benedict just hours before his papacy ended.

Now back our top story. Those forced government spending cuts were designed to be such a terrible option that they weren't supposed to be an option at all. But now they are, $85 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs are now in place. The president used his weekly address to warn again, of what lies ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And cost us jobs. The economists estimate that it could cost us more than 750,000 jobs and slow our economy by over one half of 1 percent. Here's the thing -- none of this is necessary, it's happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single, wasteful loophole that helps reduced the deficit. Just this week, they decided that protecting special interest tax breaks for the well-off and well- connected is more important than protecting our military and middle class families from these cuts.


CHO: Republicans counter that the president is on a fear campaign and the cuts only happened because of his failure to lead.


REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: This debate has not always been easy. But making Washington confront its spending problem after decades of inaction was never going to be simple. All it will take is for the president and his party to get serious and lead.


CHO: President Obama signed the spending cuts order last night as required by law. Now, Washington is bracing for the fallout.

Our chief congressional Dana Bash is in Washington with more on the cuts and another looming fiscal crisis that's just around the corner -- Dana.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alina, when you look at the list of where the cuts hit, it really makes you realize that no part of the government is spared from food inspection to loan programs for small businesses, to airports to education programs. As for the people who made it happen, well, they are still blaming each other failing to come together to alleviate the pain that they caused and they never intended it to happen.

OBAMA: These cuts are not smart. They'll hurt our economy and cost us jobs and Congress can turn them off any time, as soon as both sides are willing to compromise. And in a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work. It's inexcusable.

REP. BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Listen, this is not the smartest way to cut spending. That's why last year, the House acted twice to replace the sequester with cuts and mandatory spending. What I would call a much smarter, more targeted reductions in spending. I have been over there for 22 years. I have watched presidents of both parties, leaders of both parties kicked this can down the road, kicked it down the road, kicked it down the road. And I made up my mind two years ago that we're not going to do it anymore.

BASH: Meanwhile, anyone out there suffering from Washington crisis fatigue, beware, because more deadlines are right around the corner. March 26th, furloughs from the spending cuts that went into effect last night will start to take effect. And that means that workers will be forced to stay home without pay.

Now, each department or agency is going to handle it differently. For example, the Pentagon, they say that workers will be furloughed one day a week for 22 weeks. Now, the next deadline to look for is March 27th, the very next day. Government funding runs out on that day and the government will be shut down unless Congress acts.

Then the next is sometime between mid-May and August. The nation will once again hit the debt ceiling and risk defaulting on its debt, and on its loans. Republicans in Congress will demand spending cuts in exchange for a vote on raising the debt ceiling.

Now, there is a bit of good news. That is the president and the House speaker both signaled that they will work hard to make sure that the government does snot shut down, it sounds like a no brainer, but in this climate of grid lock. You never know, especially since the parties still do have different ideas and priorities of how to fund the government. But the House is starting to move legislation this coming week to keep the government running -- Alina.


CHO: All right. Dana Bash in Washington -- Dana, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, one prominent Republican isn't buying all the dire predictions over those spending cuts. He is Mitt Romney. Remember him?

The former GOP presidential candidate called the cuts a real opportunity to help the economy recover. And he blames politics for getting in the way.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an opportunity. See, I look at the sequester and also the expiration of the Bush tax cuts as an almost once in generational opportunity for America to solve its fiscal problems. If we do it, we can become more competitive globally and America can lead the world for the coming century.

I mean, as I see this as a huge opportunity, and it's being squandered by politics, by people who are more interested in a political victory than they are in doing what's right for the country, and it's very frustrating I have to tell you. The hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment just slip away with politics.


CHO: Meanwhile in central Florida, disappointed rescue crews made a very grim decision tonight, they have called off their search for the man who was swallowed up by a massive sinkhole. It happened at this house, not far from Tampa. The sinkhole opened up right beneath the bed where Jeff Bush was sleeping two nights ago. Rescuers tried everything to get to him.

But today, they decided that it's just too dangerous to keep trying.

CNN's John Zarrella is there for us -- John.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alina, county officials are saying they wish they could have done more, but they simply could not risk any lives. So, with that, they ended the official search for Jeff Bush, although, of course, no one had been inside that house since last Thursday anyway because it had been unsafe. What they were doing is they have been around the periphery of the area, trying to see exactly the dimensions of the sinkhole. They're saying now it maybe 30, 40, probably 50 feet deep, but no more than at this point about 20 feet wide.

So, now what do they do? They move from this point on to demolition, because they simply can't do anything else. They can't go. In fact, one sinkhole expert talked about just how unique this sinkhole is.

ROSS MCGILLIVRAY, ARDAMAN AND ASSOCIATES: This is an incredibly unusual condition. I have been doing this for a long time and I have never seen one like this condition.

ZARRELLA: If there's good news out of this, the experts here are saying that they do not believe after doing samples of the soil on this side of the street and down the street, they do not believe that houses beyond the three that were initially evacuated, they don't believe that there's a compromise to any beyond that.

But they say the people living in those three homes will not be able to go back in them, probably never again -- Alina.


CHO: All right. Thank you, John Zarrella, joining us from Seffner, Florida, tonight. Thanks for that report.

A fast moving brush fire in Florida has shut down interstate 95 and forced the evacuation of some 300 homes. That blaze, north of Daytona Beach, has not yet been contained. So far, it has destroyed a barn and a chicken coop. The forest says high winds and low humidity are fueling that fire. Unfortunately, tomorrow is likely to bring more of the same weather-wise.

Well, a nurse refuses to perform CPR on a woman who collapsed right in front of her.


911 DISPATCHER: Is there anybody that works there that's willing to do it?


911 DISPATCHER: Or, are we just -- or are we going to let this lady die?

GLENWOOD GARNDES: Well, that's why we're calling 911.


CHO: Incredible. Just ahead, the dramatic call. You just have to hear to believe.

Plus this --


CHO: A bus full of passengers veers into on coming traffic after the driver blacks out at the wheel. We're going to show you how this one played out, next.


CHO: We want you to look at the video we just got into our newsroom. It shows some terrifying moments aboard a bus in Poland. Take a look.

Passengers saved the day when their driver passed out while behind the wheel. The women are being called heroes. They took the wheel and brought the bus under control. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt and the driver turned out to be just OK.

A truck driver is lucky to be alive tonight. His rig crashed on a slippery bridge. It happened in Waterloo, Iowa.

Take a look at that -- wow -- he escaped as the cab caught fire, but the flames spread to one of the trailers which plunged over the side to the road below. You just saw there. The load of magnesium then exploded. Nobody incredibly was hurt.

Well, this next story is one that's frankly hard to believe. An elderly woman, unconscious on the floor, needing CPR or she will die. Nobody is willing to help. Nobody. They say they can't. It's policy, at this senior assisted living center.

Here's Kelsey Thomas of CNN affiliate KGET of Bakersfield, California.


911 DISPATCHER: Fire department, what's the address of your emergency please?

GLENWOOD GARDENS: Yes, we need someone out at Glenwood Gardens as soon as possible. We have a lady that looks like she's fainted or had a heart problem or something. What is the address?

KELSEY THOMAS, KGET REPORTER (voice-over): It's 11:07 Tuesday morning, 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless has collapsed in a dining room at Glenwood Gardens. She is unconscious and barely breathing. Fire and ambulance crews are on the way. It takes about four minutes of question and answer for Tracy Halverson, the dispatcher to assess the situation.

911 DISPATCHER: We need to get CPR started that's not enough, OK?

GLENWOOD GARDNES: Yes, we can't do CPR at this facility.

911 DISPATCHER: Hand the phone to the passerby. If you can't do it, I need hand it to a passerby. I'll have her do it.

Or if you've got any citizens there, I'll have them do it.

GLENWOOD GARDENS: No, no, it's not --

911 DISPATCHER: Anybody there can do CPR, give them the phone please.

I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby, or that stranger (INAUDIBLE).

If this woman is not breathing enough, she's going to die if we don't get this started. Do you understand?

GLENWOOD GARDENS: I understand. I am a nurse. But I cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR to do this. We're in a dining room.-

911 DISPATCHER: I will instruct them. I will instruct them. Is there anyone --

GLENWOOD GARDENS: I can not do that.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, I don't understand why you're not willing to help this patient.


911 DISPATCHER: OK, great. Then I will walk you through it all. EMS takes the ability for this. I'm happy to help you. OK? This EMS protocol, OK?

GLENWOOD GARDENS: Can you get (INAUDIBLE) right away? I don't know where he is. But she is yelling at me and saying that we have to have one of the other residents perform CPR. And she will instruct and I'm not going to do that. And make that call.

911 DISPATCHER: Is there anybody that works there that is willing to do it?

GLENWOOD GARDES: We can't -- 911 DISPATCHER: Or, are we just -- or are we just going to let this lady die?

GLENWOOD GARDENS: That is why we are calling 911.

911 DISPATCHER: We can't wait. She can't wait right now. She's stopping breathing. She can't wait for them to get there.

THOMAS: A little more than five minutes into the call, Bayless remains untouched, barely breathing on the dining room floor.

GLENWOOD GARDENS: He' saying we don't. So, you can talk to my boss and I don't know --

911 DISPATCHER: OK, they're refusing CPR, they are going to let her die. By the facility. Yeah.

GLENWOOD GARDENS: When will the fire department be here? When will --

911 DISPATCHER: They're coming as quick. They have been on the way all this time. But we can't wait, this lady is going to do die.


911 DISPATCHER: OK, well then, if -- if you get anybody any stranger that happens to walk by that's willing to help, I understand if your boss is telling you, you can't do it. If there's any -- as a human being I don't -- you know, is there anybody that is willing to help this lady and not let her die?

GLENWOOD GARDENS: Not at this time.

THOMAS: A little more than seven minutes after Glenwood Gardens dialed 911, Bayless is taken in an ambulance to Mercy Hospital Southwest where she later died. We went to Glenwood Gardens and asked why the staff refused to even try to resuscitate Bayless.

Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director, told me it is the policy of Glenwood Gardens that staff does not attempt CPR. He said the policy is in place because it's not a nursing facility. It's an independent living facility. And there are no nurses on staff to provide assistance and residents are made aware of this when they move in the building.

Yet there was a nurse on scene after Bayless collapsed.

Toomer wouldn't explain that. He issued a statement that said in part, "In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed. As with any incident involving a resident, we will conduct a thorough internal review of this matter, but we have no comments at this time." Toomer wouldn't give me a copy of the facility's policy. He said the staff is supposed to call for assistance during an emergency. And that's exactly what they did.


CHO: All right. Thank you very much. In the world of prostitution, anyone can be a recruit or a target. And now, we are learning that social media is a big part of the problem. We'll explain, next.


CHO: Welcome back. It's 21 minutes after the hour.

As parents watched their daughters become young women, many never lose that cold hollow fear that sits in their gut every time she leaves the house. Social media, if you think about it, has changed lives in many ways, even introducing young women to the world of prostitution.

Our Laurie Segall explains.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started with a friend request on Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mentality was, he is cute. Let me accept him. And then once I accepted him, he would message me.

SEGALL: They quickly developed a relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sold me the biggest dream in the world. You know, I thought like he really did like me and we were going to live this fairy tale life together.

SEGALL: What she got was a nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She pretty much was like I'm going put you outside and you are going to walk and catch dates. I was OK with it because I liked him. Well, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Wanted to have kids, he really made it believable.

SEGALL: In a mouse click, Nina became part of a growing number of victims recruited into sex trafficking on social networks. The other end of her friend request, a pimp.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been beaten with a pistol. I have been duct taped and put in a closet for 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The money part. (INAUDIBLE) wanted money, that's why I did it.

SEGALL: Lisa, who asked us to hide her identify, was trafficked for much of her life. She is free now, but still receives more than 20 messages a day from pimps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, what's up with you cutie. What's up with you boo?

SEGALL: Pimps are now using different social networks to do everything to connect and brag about money.

ANDREA POWELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAIR GIRLS: Almost all of our girls that we are working with now, age 11 all the way up to 22, they are being recruited online. It's Facebook. It's Tagged, which a lot of people do not know, it's a creepy Facebook and then Twitter, actually, Instagram to a smaller degree.

SEGALL: Andrea Powell's organization FAIR locates and rescues women trafficked like Nina.

POWELL: Pimps look for girls who are really looking isolated. So, girls who are dressed provocatively.

JACK BENNETT, FBI CYBERCRIMES CHIEF, SAN FRANCISCO: Minors will friend people whether they know them or not, just to appear to be popular. And somebody who is a pimp can use that information to start looking at what makes a person tick.

SEGALL: Pimps were doing exactly that in Virginia's affluent Fairfax County. Revealed in a major 2012 case, gang members were using social networking sites like Facebook to solicit women. One of the defendants sent over 800 solicitations on Facebook, many to women still in high school. One common move, having a woman reach out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to have to sit next to my ex-pimp and help him recruit girls.

SEGALL: Those same pages used to recruit are also used to rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can go in and see who liked him. That can lead me to look for girls that look like they need help.

SEGALL: Law enforcement sources say that Facebook reacts swiftly when notified of illicit activity on specific accounts. Facebook says it takes human trafficking very seriously and has built technical systems to flag and block such material. says it has numerous tech and educational tools to empower and protect users, and has a dedicated team to respond to unauthorized conduct on the site.

Nina and Lisa, whose names were changed to protect the identities are both still in the social networks where they were recruited. Nina said she is no longer looking for a boyfriend on Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More pimps tell you the same thing. You kind of get the clue. And you know, life is not a fairy tale.

SEGALL: Lisa starts school this semester. When she enrolls, she plans to log out of Facebook for good. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: Laurie joins me now. Laurie, this is just an incredible story. I mean, I think it's pretty safe to say that most of these kids know their way around social media and computers better than parents do.

So, let's talk about protection. I mean, how can mom and dad protect their daughters from threats like this?

SEGALL: I mean, Alina, you said it right there. Parents don't really, many parent's aren't on Facebook and this isn't technology that they grew up with. So, you know, we spoke to the FBI, they have a tip sheet on their Web site and the number one -- one of the number one things they say, you know, is make sure if you're a parent, you educate yourself on Facebook, on Twitter, you know how your children are using the services.

And the other thing they say is put the computer in the living room. You know, this might not be that popular at home, but if you put it in the living room, your children, you know, you are going to be able to monitor a little bit better. Go through, go through those privacy settings, tell your -- have a conversation, tell your children, don't accept a friend request from a stranger.

I mean, this conversations need to happen because as you see, this is a growing problem, and we don't even know the scope of it. We just know that it's becoming -- it's definitely becoming relevant and this is actually happening on these networks, Alina.

CHO: Wow, put your computer in the living room. That's just a simple thing and it could help.


CHO: All right. Laurie Segall, thank you so much.

SEGALL: Thank you.

CHO: Coming up, $85 billion, that's how much the government has to slash in federal spending -- military, education, transportation, the IRS, they'll all be effected. Some worry it could be enough to send the U.S. back into recession. We'll have a reality check from Tom Foreman, next.


CHO: President Obama has been warning for weeks about the potentially dire consequences of those forced spending cuts, how they could affect things like unemployment and the overall economy, and he repeated those warnings in his weekly address.


OBAMA: As a nation, we've already fought back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes and we'll get through this, too. But at a time when our businesses are finally gaining some traction, hiring new workers, bringing back jobs to America, the last thing that Washington should do is to get in their way. That's what these cuts to education, and research and defense will do. It's unnecessary. And in a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are still looking for work, it's inexcusable.


CHO: The president paints a dire picture, but could the cuts tip the economy back to a recession? Our Tom Foreman has more from Washington.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the key question, Alina, if you take $85 billion out of the discretionary spending -- remember, we're not talking about the entitlement, but just the discretionary spending -- is that enough to tip our economy into a big problem? Because you think it's a kind of small number compared to $3.8 trillion in the budget. Is that enough though to create another recession?

Let's look at the evidence and see what we can find. Gross domestic product was not growing much at the end of last year. At one point, we thought it actually moved down. Now it's moved up a tiny, tiny sliver. Not enough to make it a positive indicator. But not low enough to call it a negative right now. So we are going to call it sort of neutral.

Employment we know has been a problem. It has not been getting worse. But it also has not been getting better at a very fast rate. So that is another neutral. Housing though in this country. Housing has actually been a very bright spot lately. So we will make that green. So in all of these possible indicators of what would define us moving to another recession. This one is positive. These two are sort of neutral. And the sequester is negative. What does that add up to?

In the end, most analysts say what it adds up to is probably not a recession. We may have some more difficulty economic times, and things could slow down a little bit more, but it seems unlikely that we are actually going to move backward. We will just keep crawling, crawling slowly forward with our economy.


CHO: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much. And coming up, watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your hand if you have been in jail more than once. More than twice? Three times.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHO: We will take you inside a Tennessee jail where the cells are so over crowded many prisoners are sleeping on the floor. And it's all because these inmates can't kick their addiction to pain pills. Our Poppy Harlow is next.


CHO: Pills meant to numb pain are destroying women's lives. It's happening in Tennessee. Where prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing in that state. Jails over crowded with female addicts trying to kick the dangerous habit.

CNN's Poppy Harlow spent the night inside one Tennessee jail talking with young women caught in the grim trap of prescription drug abuse.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's what we do. We sit around and talk to each other and sing songs and play cards. Basically a normal day.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cell Block six.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put a little on her.

HARLOW: Where toothpaste goes on the eyes and Doritos on the cheeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. You can do it on my cheeks or eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do it with a Dorito.

HARLOW: A new normal for the young women lockup in east Tennessee.

(on camera): To give you a sense of how bad it is here, people here are more likely to die from overdosing on drugs than they are from homicide or from car crashes.

We are heading into the Clark County jail here and we are going to spend much of tonight with some female inmates.

Sheriff, thank you.


HARLOW: So, how many women in jail tonight.


HARLOW: And how many of them in some way related to prescription drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guesst-mation probably 95 percent of them are in here for prescriptions drugs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open up cell six, please.

HARLOW (voice-over): The women I'm about to meet have been here anywhere from a month to a year and counting.

(on camera): Nice to meet you. Poppy.

As soon as we say other hellos. Our cameras fog up, the eight women double bunked in these cramped quarters have all showered. The shower -


HARLOW: So there's eight bunks in here but a lot of nights they have four or five more women that sleep on these mats on the floor and that is sort of the norm here, it's the reality these days of over crowding, especially of the female population.

What do you call it out there?



HARLOW: You want to be on the streets.


HARLOW (voice-over): In the streets of Newport, Tennessee, it's the pill trade that is driving crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They went down that fast, it's done.

HARLOW (on camera): It's done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They made the buy. Got sights on it.

HARLOW: So the buy has happened and now apparently the woman selling the pills is heading out of town so they are trying to catch her, driving pretty fast to catch her. And see if they can pull her over for any traffic violations and then see how many pills she has on her.

The sheriffs' two cars right there, you see, are on their way. We just let them pass us.

(voice-over): The woman they pull over is 47. And tells the officers she has been abusing prescription drugs since she was 14.

HARLOW: The drug buy that they just busted her on, she sold two of these roxycodone pills for a total of 70 bucks, $35 a pop. So she admitted to abusing prescription drugs and also selling some pills to feed that addiction.


HARLOW: How frequent is it to have women involved in this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More frequently than men?

HARLOW: More than men? Really?


HARLOW: The females hide the pills better than men. Females are good at hiding stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's me again. Have not seen you in a while. Just keep going with me. You are fine.

HARLOW (voice-over): This will be the 13th time she will join the women back here at (INAUDIBLE) County Jail.

(on camera): Raise your hand if you have been in jail more than once? More than twice? Three times? Four times? Five? Six? Seven? Eight? You think eight times? And you are all under 33 years old?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Most of the female population here -- female population is in here for drug probation violation.

HARLOW: Yes. How many of you have used prescription drugs illegally? Everyone. How many of you have sold prescription drugs illegally? Half of you.

Charlie Ray (ph).

(voice-over): 20-year-old Brittany Cureton promises me her fifth time in jail will be her last. She shows me her three-year-old son and her belly. She is eight months pregnant. And already having contractions?

(on camera): You are going to have your daughter in jail?


HARLOW: Is that hard for you?


HARLOW: But you are clean, right?

CURETON: Almost five months.

HARLOW: That's great.

(voice-over): She said she used to pop three or four roxies a day.

CURETON: I really don't know how to put it. I used to try to hide the pain all the time. Because I went through a lot as a kid and I was raped when I was younger and molested and beaten as a child.

HARLOW: Brittany, like most of the women in cell six and more than half of all prescription drug abusers started using after getting the pills from a friend or a family member for free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once you are so addicted you will do whatever you have to do to maintain, to be normal.

HARLOW (on camera): Did you do that?


HARLOW: What did you do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Theft, aggravated burglary.

I could not get up and fix breakfast if I did not have one because -

HARLOW: You did not feel normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you cannot do anything without them, they destroy everything -

HARLOW: ... in their path.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They take everything.


CHO: The pill problem is so bad in Tennessee that some of the jails have seen a 300 percent increase in female inmates, 300 percent. So, what is being done to combat that state's pill problem? We will have the second part of Poppy's story when we come back.


CHO: Back now to an in depth look at women, locked up in jail and struggling to beat pain pill addiction. Tennessee's jails are often over flowing with women hooked on pills. CNN's Poppy Harlow talked with one 20-year-old inmate named Brittany, eight months pregnant, nearly five months clean. Brittany is not alone. Her sister is in the cell next door.


HARLOW (on camera): So right through this wall, your sister is?


HARLOW: How old is she?

CURETON: We are twins.

HARLOW: You're twins?

CURETON: Fraternal.

HARLOW: Fraternal.

CURETON: Approximately eight minutes apart.

CURETON: If I beat three times that means I love you. See. I love you too. That's what it means.

HARLOW (voice-over): Oh. Throughout the night, I get to know these women. And the demons of their addictions.

(on camera): What was the lowest of the low for you guys? What was the moment where you feel like I hit bottom?

KEYANNA CURLEY, INMATE: My kids. Having them at somebody else's house. And I'm not there for their kindergarten graduations. This will be the first holiday without my kids.

HARLOW: Because of what?

CURLEY: Because I'm an addict.

HARLOW: Here are the women that spent time with, I have been here, three, four, five, six, seven times.


HARLOW: This isn't the rehabilitation for them, is it?

FONTES: No. It's not. Incarceration alone is not rehabilitation. What it is is, it is an opportunity to keep them in a secure facility that you try to keep them clean.

HARLOW: Why do you think so many more women here in jail?

FONTES: That is a good question for everyone. You know, I think a lot of it is they are easily influenced by these guys that they are meeting and these people that are out there using.

HARLOW: Chief.


HARLOW: Poppy, nice to meet you.


HARLOW: Thank you for having us.

(voice-over): Nearly half of Tennessee's more than 100 county jails are over crowded and that includes Anderson County jail just outside of Knoxville.

JOHNSON: Good morning, ladies.

HARLOW (on camera): You got women sleeping on the floor. A lot of women sleeping on the floor. How many women are in here for prescription drug abuse and that there just aren't enough beds?

JOHNSON: I tell you it's over 90 percent. And we have only got 48 beds and today I've got 66 females and this year, a couple months ago, I had 97.

HARLOW: Wow and that is not abnormal?

JOHNSON: No. No. I mean over the last 10 years we've had a 300 percent increase in average daily population in females?

HARLOW: 300 percent?

(voice-over): And they can't build their way out of the problem.

(on camera): So a year from now, you're going to have 200 plus more beds here?

JOHNSON: 200 plus more beds. Our capacity from 1994 was 166 beds and next November we will have 566 beds.

HARLOW: You think you will fill them up?


HARLOW: No question.

JOHNSON: No question.

HARLOW: This is costing the community here $10 million, it's something that taxpayers can't afford, but it's something they have to do, because they can't have just these inmate sleeping on the floor.



HARLOW: Good luck. Thank you for being so open and welcoming us. OK. Good night.



CHO: Poppy Harlow joins us now from New York. Such an emotional story, Poppy and well done.

It is clear there's a big problem here with pain pill addiction and it's clear that these women are sleeping on floors and as you say, they can't build their way out of this problem. So, what is the state doing if anything to try to fix it? HARLOW: Well, they are taking a few steps and I will get to that in a moment. But Alina, jail is not working, I mean the bottom line is that addicted women tell us it's so much easier for them to get prescription pills and pop those pills than it is for them to get into treatment.

Often they go try to get help. The waiting list to get into treatment centers in Tennessee is often months long. There aren't enough treatment clinics so they face that. In terms of what the state is doing. Pain clinics now have to register with the state, so they are a little more closely monitored. And also, pharmacists have to basically cross check any prescriptions that they give out with a historical database. But a real problem in a state like Tennessee is it borders eight other states and states do not often share their information so someone can just cross over state lines and get more of these pills.

CHO: Oh, interesting. I did not think about that.


CHO: I was moved by this young woman that you focused on. Brittany who at the time was eight months pregnant.


CHO: She has had her baby now, how is she doing?

HARLOW: She is doing very, very well. She's in treatment and she is going to be in treatment until May. She was released in January from prison. She had a beautiful little girl. Look at her there with her son and her little girl. Addison Marie, her grandmother said they are doing very, very well. When she gets out of treatment, she is going to try to get custody of her three-year-old son back and she told me that night in prison. She said "The way I look at this is that I now have a second chance at life."

And so, we are rooting for her, I look forward to talking to her when she gets out of rehab in May. We are rooting for al; of them. But this problem is not being addressed correctly and there needs a lot more focus on it.

CHO: Well, it's clear. Thank you for bringing that to light. And it's great to see Brittany in happier times with that newborn baby. Poppy Harlow, thanks so much.

Coming up, the city of Detroit, so broke the state could soon take over. You're going to hear from Detroit's mayor about this when we come back.


CHO: Detroit is so broke the state of Michigan is taking over. The city is on the hook for more than $14 billion. Here's what the governor said about that.


GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: If you go across the country and talk to people, there is probably no city as more financially challenged in the entire United States. If you look at the quality of services to citizens, it's ranked among the worst. So we went from the top to the bottom over the last 50 or 60 years.


CHO: Well, as these things go, naturally Detroit's mayor says the state is to blame.


MAYOR DAVE BING, DETROIT: The state has not been as good to Detroit as I think they should have been because we lose revenue sharing based on our population loss. And so there's just a myriad of things right now, and most of it revolves around revenue. And, you know, we can't cut our way back out of this problem. I think we've cut as much as we can cut. We've got to think about how we can raise revenue again.


CHO: Well, either way, the city is in trouble. Detroit has 10 days to appeal the governor's declaration. If the city ends up filing for bankruptcy, it would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

And you thought you've gotten angry over a missed flight. We'll have an airport outrage, next.


CHO: You go to the airport, you miss your flight, what do you do? Tip, don't follow this guy's lead. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fasten your seat belt. Extreme turbulence ahead. A Chinese executive traveling with his family missed not one but two flights. And when he, his wife and his two sons weren't allowed to board after missing the second's flight boarding announce. What went flying was computer equipment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this episode of China Uncensored, watch a Chinese official go nuts.

MOOS: And watch bystanders back off.

Get me away from this guy, who turned out to be, Yen Lin (INAUDIBLE), the vice chairman of a state-run mining company and an adviser on the Chinese political committee. Not to mention an expert desk kicker, though that might have hurt. He definitely meant to hurt the glass doors leading to the airplane. And when he couldn't break through, he slammed the sign on the desk. And just in case the husband may have missed a little something, his wife picked up an object and smashed it on the floor. We haven't seen a rampage like this since the British guy ransacked a T Mobile store because they wouldn't give him a refund or a drive through customer who couldn't get chicken mcnuggets because this Ohio McDonald's was serving breakfast. She not only smack the server when they finally shut the window on her, she managed to smash a hole in it.

(on camera): The Mcnuggets slugger ended up being sentenced to 60 days in jail. She also paid a $1500 fine for damages to the window.

(voice-over): The funny thing was 15 seconds after she broke the window, the next guy through the drive through was handed his food. The angry T Mobile guy ended up with fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What that guy did - kudos to him.

MOOS: But the air raid rampager attracted comments like what a contemptible self-important arse. The Chinese air traffic system has a hive of delays but there's little sympathy for tantrums for those considered elite.

Yen has been suspended from his job and he's already apologized saying "I failed to be a qualified political adviser, as well as a good father." One of his sons seem to try to defuse his dad or at least disarm him. Eventually security stepped in, you, sir, are caught on camera.

That's no boarding pass, buddy.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHO: All righty, then. I'm Alina Cho. Thanks for joining us. CNN presents "Waco - Faith, Fear and Fire." That begins right now.