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

Doping doggies caught after Iditarod race

If we can’t even trust our friendly four-legged athletes to not use performance enhancing drugs, which athletes can we trust?

The committee responsible for overseeing the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race found multiple dogs from the same team tested positive for the opioid pain relieving drug tramadol – one of Iditarod's banned substances – six hours after the race ended in March, according to NPR. This is the first such case of a doping scandal for the Iditarod since testing for banned substances began in 1994.

The dogs face extreme temperatures and difficult obstacles during their 1000 mile trek through Alaska, which can tempt Mushers to increase their dogs abilities for hefty prize packages.

Image: Frank Kovalchek Read the rest

A deep dive into kratom, the herb that helps with opioid withdrawal

Kratom (previously) is a widely used herb that has been very effective in treating opioid withdrawal and other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions -- it also became very controversial this year because the DEA decided, without evidence, to class it as a dangerous drug, and then changed its mind (unprecedented!) after a mass-scale petition that included interventions from members of Congress. Read the rest

Meth, Hitler and the Reich: the true, untold story of the Nazis' dependence on coke, meth and oxy

Novelist Norman Ohler became fascinated with the Third Reich's reliance on opiods and methamphetamines when DJ Alexander Kramer mentioned it to him in passing; he set out to write a novel, but in Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich he produced what historian and authority on the Third Reich Ian Kershaw called "a serious piece of scholarship." Read the rest