Venezuelans with transplanted organs are dying due to a lack of drugs

Venezuela is in crisis. The South American country has been a sore festered with political turmoil and socioeconomic woes for years now. Unemployment is a pandemic in the country and, thanks to the devaluation of their currency, what little food can be had there, is largely unaffordable by the nation's people. As a result of these conditions, crime has become rampant, countless businesses in the country have shuttered and shortages of the staples we take for granted have become commonplace. Reuters reports that the shortages have begun to effect an unexpected, exclusive group of Venezuelans: organ transplant recipients.

According to Reuters, there are around 3,500 organ transplant recipients living in Venezuela today. Thanks to modern medicine, theses recipients have been able to lead largely normal lives. But as the country's ability to afford medicines made in other countries, make their own drugs or pay medical personnel diminishes, the lives of its organ transplant recipients are being put at risk. The drugs needed to keep their new organs from being rejected by their bodies have run out. So far, at least seven of the country's citizens have died as a result, with 35 additional transplant recipients reporting that their new organs are now being rejected by their bodies.

The suck doesn't stop there: thanks to the fact that only around half of Venezuela's dialysis machines are operating, tens of thousands of people waiting for lifesaving surgeries are at risk of dying as their blood can't be cleaned of toxins. The doctors who are still working to keep people alive in the country are exhausted and frustrated by the conditions they're now forced to work in:

"It's incredibly stressful.

Read the rest

Incentives matter: after back surgery, a routine urine test resulted in a $17,800 bill the patient was expected to pay

At a followup visit a year after Elizabeth Moreno had a disk removed to successfully treat her crippling pain, her doctor asked her to leave a urine sample; a few months later, Sunset Labs LLC of Houston sent her a bill for $17,800. Read the rest

The pharma billionaires whose family company created the opioid epidemic are disintegrating into a bickering mess

The Sackler family is best known for the buildings adorned with their names thanks to their acts of philanthropy, which is either motivated by a public spirit, or by the desperate need for some reputation washing as the public becomes increasingly aware that the family fortune was built on the perfection of shady techniques for marketing addictive drugs, which reached its zenith when Perdue, the family pharma business, created the Oxy epidemic, by falsifying addictiveness research and aggressively recruiting doctors to hook their patients on their lethal products. Read the rest

Hiding meth in a burrito is no way to treat a burrito

It's hard to find decent Mexican food in Canada. We're lousy with Taco Bells and, out west at least, we've got Taco Time. But these are just chains offering a cartoon version of the real deal. The first time I went for burritos with friends in San Fransisco's Mission District, I damn near cried.

The food was so good, I regret having not hired a poet to capture the emotion surrounding my meal. I've spent the past three months in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Same deal: the Mexican cuisine here is phenomenal. Hell the gas station down the street from me serves up fresh carnitas. It tastes like heaven. Back home in Alberta, gas station food tastes like death. I love Mexican cuisine! The thought of returning to Canada, with its sub-par joke tacos, fills me with ennui.

So, when I read how cops in Los Angeles discovered that criminals were moving crystal meth through the city disguised as burritos, I took it kind of hard.

According to The LA Times, two LA patrol officers were conducting a routine traffic stop when they discovered the occupants of the vehicle they'd pulled over were packing 14 beefy-looking, tinfoil wrapped burritos. The burritos turned out to be jammed full of around 25 pounds of methamphetamine. Obviously, arrests were made, but the thing that bothers me is this: while they got the drugs and a handgun off the street, no body even mentioned the fact that they'd desecrated those burritos. I just don't get it: in a world so bereft of decent Mexican food, doesn't anyone care about the damn burritos? Read the rest

Motorists falsely arrested on DUI charges describe the life-ruining results

Imagine driving home from work clean and sober, getting stopped by police, then arrested on suspicion of DUI. Several people describe the months of stress and thousands of dollars they spent to clear their names. Read the rest

The inexperienced man-child frat-rat that Trump made deputy drug czar got fired from his only real job for not showing up

Taylor Weyeneth is America's number two official in charge of drug policy. He's a 24-year-old former Trump campaign volunteer whose resume is singularly unimpressive: apart from being a frat brother in good standing at St John's University and organizing a single charity golf tournament, the only real jobs he's ever held were working in his daddy's chia seed factory (which closed when his dad went to jail for illegally processing Mexican steroids) and working as a legal assistant at the New York white shoe law firm of O’Dwyer & Bernstien. Read the rest

A detailed look at how US police forces collude with spy agencies to cover up the origin of evidence in criminal cases

Since the 1970s, spy agencies have been feeding police forces tips about who to arrest and where to look for evidence, despite the illegality of their practicing surveillance within the USA. Read the rest

Scientist who synthesized the active ingredient in the powerful psychedelic salvia also broke ground on open access publishing

Salvia divinorum is a plant that is legal in most of the USA and the world, a uniquely powerful psychedelic whose effects are as short-lived (5-10 minutes from first onset to the end of the experience) as they are profound (users generally need to have a "sitter" nearby because they lose control over their bodies and perceptions). Read the rest

Using ranch dressing for bongwater is bad, but mouthwash is good

Justin Caffier was good enough to play human guinea pig in the quest for the ideal liquid to put in a bong. Colloids and emulsions quickly got ruled out after his disastrous attempts at using ranch dressing: Read the rest

As more published reports tout ayahuasca benefits, researchers push back against criminalization

A newly-published overview of self-reported ayahuasca experiences indicates that the hallucinogen can help alleviate eating disorders and reduce alcohol consumption. Now, more scientists are pushing to make it easier to study the drug legally. Read the rest

The crooked Secret Service agent who stole Silk Road bitcoins did it again after pleading guilty

Shaun Bridges is the disgraced ex-Secret Service Agent who pleaded guilty to stealing bitcoin from online drug dealers while he was investigating the Silk Road; he's serving a 71-month sentence and has just had two years added to it after he pleaded guilty to stealing more bitcoin after his guilty plea, while he was out on bail Read the rest

This one type of acid reflux drug is linked to doubled incidence of stomach cancer

New research, published in the wonderfully-named journal "Gut," is enough to give you heartburn. Time to switch to Zantac.

A link between PPIs and a higher stomach cancer risk has previously been identified by academics – but never in a study that first eliminates a bacteria suspected of fuelling the illness’s development. ... During this period, 3,271 people took PPIs for an average of almost three years, while 21,729 participants took H2 blockers. A total of 153 people developed stomach cancer, none of whom tested positive for H plyori but all had long-standing problems with stomach inflammation, the study found.

While H2 blockers were found to have no link to a higher risk of stomach cancer, PPIs was found connected to an increased risk of more than double.

PPIs include Nexium and Prilosec. Noted, though, is the correlation between PPI prescription and guts that are already in trouble town:

"The most plausible explanation for the totality of evidence on this is that those who are given PPIs, and especially those who continue on them long-term, tend to be sicker in a variety of ways than those for whom they are not prescribed."

Read the rest

Japanese cops bust bonsai marijuana grower

A janitor in Osaka turned his small apartment into an impressive miniature weed farm using bonsai techniques. Unfortunately, he got busted. Read the rest

Republican lawmaker Doug Cox tricked legislature into exempting "Christian" forced-labor camps from regulation

Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery is a scandal-haunted forced-labor program that addicted convicts in Oklahoma were diverted to; they were put into back-breaking, unsafe labor for long hours with little or no pay and no care or compensation when they were maimed on the job. Rather than meaningful addiction counseling, prisoners were directed to pray and work. Read the rest

Prisoners sent to Christian "rehab" diversion programs find themselves in forced-labor camps

Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery is a "diversion program" where drug addicts convicted of crimes can be sent to get help, but an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that CAAIR is really in the business of supplying low-cost workers to factories, where they are worked seven days/week on threat of being returned to prison, and where workers who are maimed on the job are sent to prison and not given worker's compensation -- all for no pay at all. Read the rest

Aspiring pastor blames "cold medicine" after killing wife

People Crime reports that Matthew Phelps, a 28-year-old North Carolina trainee pastor, can't remember stabbing his wife. He woke up and there she was, dead, and there he was, covered in her blood.
Phelps suggested during the 911 call that cold medicine he took the night before might have led to his alleged actions.

They charged him with murder, but God knows why. Who among us can say they haven't brutally hacked their wife to death after downing some Tylenol PM? Read the rest

Historic FDA approval granted for Ecstasy trial as PTSD treatment

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies announced that the FDA has granted MDMA (aka Ecstasy/Molly) a "Breakthrough Therapy" designation as part of a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From the journal Science:

One of the main targets in the war on drugs could well become a drug to treat the scars of war. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), better known as the illegal drug ecstasy, a "breakthrough therapy" for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a status that may lead to faster approval.

The agency has also approved the design for two phase III studies of MDMA for PTSD that would be funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit in Santa Cruz, California. MAPS announced the "breakthrough therapy" designation, made by FDA on 16 August, on its website today; if the group can find the money for the trials, which together could cost an estimated $25 million, they may start next spring and finish by 2021.

That an illegal dancefloor drug could become a promising pharmaceutical is another indication that the efforts of a dedicated group of researchers interested in the medicinal properties of mind-altering drugs is paying dividends. Stringent drug laws have stymied research on these compounds for decades. "This is not a big scientific step," says David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London. "It’s been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicines. But it’s a huge step in acceptance."

Read the rest

More posts