Author Archive | Mike Riggs


The Pros and Cons of a Heroin Shortage

Heroin seized by the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of SAC Neil Chapman (RAF)/MOD/wikimedia commons”Interdiction is critically important to increase the cost and reduce accessibility of opioids,” write former Centers for Disease Control chief Thomas R. Frieden and Brandeis University’s Andrew Kolodny in a new paper for the Journal of the American Medical […]

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Bad Opioid Policy Is Killing So Many People That New Hampshire’s Medical Examiner Is Quitting His Job

In the six years since the federal government asked pharmaceutical companies to reformulate prescription opioids so patients couldn’t use them illicitly, Thomas Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, has seen his caseload skyrocket. “It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Andrew told The […]

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America Set an Awful New Record in 2016

Preliminary data from the CDC suggest an unprecedented number of Americans died of a drug overdose last year. Mike Riggs|Oct. 7, 2017 2:15 pm Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) listens to testimony on the opioid crisis. Photo credit: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions”Preliminary data for 2016 indicate at least 64,000 drug overdose deaths, […]

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How a Blue Butterfly Stamp Brought Down One of the Dark Web’s Biggest Marijuana Vendors

Go to any U.S. Post Office and you’ll see a poster that tells USPS employees how to identify a suspicious and potentially dangerous package. Which means if your package looks like the one below, the odds of it being intercepted and inspected increase dramatically. Courtesy of USPS Those screening guidelines are meant to intercept packages […]

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Jeff Sessions Just Made the Chief of the DEA Look Like a Pot Head’s Hero

Around this time last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would begin accepting applications for a license to cultivate marijuana for research purposes. This was thrilling news for cannabis advocates, as it suggested the DEA was finally open to ending the University of Mississippi’s 50-year monopoly on legal marijuana cultivation. “The DEA just made […]

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No, Simply Touching Fentanyl Can’t Kill You

For all the ink American media outlets have spilled covering the increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths, few of the stories I’ve read explain how fentanyl works or why it’s so deadly. As a result, journalists have created the impression that fentanyl is a magically awful drug. In that sense, it has a lot in common […]

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Harvard University’s Shameful Rejection of Michelle Jones Shows Just How Far We Have to Go

Harvard’s Widener Library. Photo courtesy of QuarterCircleS/Wikimedia CommonsHarvard University made big news this week for rescinding acceptance letters to a student and a teaching fellow. Chelsea Manning, who CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to as a “traitor,” was slated to spend a day as a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy […]

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Why We Fight and Punish: A Q&A With Robert Sapolsky

“The current state of the country and the current state of political and intellectual conversation depresses me in a way that it never has before,” the libertarian economist Russ Roberts wrote in a recent essay. “I know there’s a lot of hatred in the human heart. It’s nothing new. But what appears to be new […]

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New Study Finds Heroin Users Less Likely to Overdose If They Know What Drugs They’re Actually Taking

Drug users are 10 times more likely to reduce their doses if they know the drug they’re consuming contains fentanyl, according to a new study from Vancouver’s supervised injection site. Designed as a safe place where drug users can get high under the supervision of medical professionals, Insite found that providing fentanyl test kits reduced […]

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