Imprisonment: Doctor who illegally prescribed 500,000 doses of opioids to serve 40 years

Dr. Joel Smithers was recently sentenced to decades in prison for the numerous illegal prescriptions he gave out.

Image source: Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority/photofunny.net
  • According to law enforcement officials, every individual who visited Smithers' practice in Martinsville, Virginia, was given an opioid prescription.
  • Patients traveled hundreds of miles to visit his practice, where Smithers only accepted cash or credit cards and not insurance.
  • Smithers and similar doctors represent one part of the chain of responsible parties who contributed to the opioid epidemic.
Keep reading Show less

The world's first psilocybin research center is opening in Jamaica

FieldTrip is advancing the realm of clinical psychedelic testing.

Photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
  • FieldTrip Ventures is opening the world's first psilocybin research center at the University of the West Indies.
  • More research on magic mushrooms follows mounting evidence of the efficacy of ketamine and MDMA.
  • Ronan Levy of FieldTrip believes psychedelics could help treat a wide range of mental health conditions.
Keep reading Show less

Elephants are now being hunted for their skin, being turned into 'ruby'-like jewelry

With the ivory trade on the decline, poachers have been capitalizing on a new, disturbing trend.

Beads made from elephant skin. Image courtest of Elephant Family
  • At the start of 2018, China banned all ivory products within its borders. As one of the largest markets for ivory, this represented a significant win for conservationists.
  • However, just as the ivory trade declined, a new demand for elephant skin emerged.
  • The skin is used in medicine and to make jewelry. What options are there for combating this dangerous new trend?
Keep reading Show less

The looming superbug crisis: Politics, profit, and Big Pharma

Here's how we stop a health crisis before it wreaks havoc on us.

  • Alexander Fleming discovered a fungus that produced a chemical that could stop nearly every bacteria in its path.
  • The 1950s are known as the Golden Era of Antibiotic Development. However, today, there is a looming superbug crisis because bacteria has mutated whilst we've focused on treating other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Many companies in the pharmaceutical industry don't want to take on the expensive risk of finding another antibiotic drug. However, a potential superbug crisis may compel us to use tax-break and patent policies to incentivize them to do so.
Keep reading Show less

Psychedelics change how you read faces. That may help alleviate anxiety and depression.

Even more intriguing is the reason: recognizing facial expressions.

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
  • A new systematic review states that serotonergic hallucinogens help users recognize emotions in facial expressions.
  • Sufferers of anxiety and depression often only read negative emotions in other people's faces, adding to their malaise.
  • While more research is needed, psychedelics could prove to be a powerful agent in battling mental health disorders.
Keep reading Show less