How do so many addicts end up in Florida and California for rehab? Very often, it's through unscrupulous internet marketers, who use deceptive Google ads and high-pressure sales tactics to turn desperate people into "heads in beds."
Breakdown, The Verge
An investigation into Talkspace, a startup that uses the gig economy model for anonymous, chat-based therapy, putting patients and therapists at risk.
Addicts for Sale, BuzzFeed News
In Delray Beach, the "recovery capital of America," addicts are bought and sold for their insurance policies, and many of them are coerced into sex.
Over the last three decades, massive sulcata tortoises have become a popular American family pet. Meet the people who made that happen — and the ones that are begging you not to buy one.
Valuable Antibodies at a High Cost, The New Yorker
Santa Cruz Biotechnology, one of the largest suppliers of research antibodies in America, has been accused of dozens of horrific animal rights violations. But the government's case against them is taking years, while more violations pile up.
Eddie Davison's Life Sentence, BuzzFeed News
Locked up in a psych ward under the false premise that he was a convicted sex offender, Eddie Davison sued New York state for false imprisonment. Now the state is charging him $2 million.
The Peer Review Scam, Nature
The co-founders of Retraction Watch and I reported on a "ring" of researchers who were caught peer reviewing their own papers. We followed the investigation into the scam, and the technological loopholes that made it possible in the first place.
A Sweeter Pill, The Archipelago
How San Francisco's homeopaths may be the last saving grace for homeless veterans with PTSD who decline traditional mental health counseling.
The Pull to Pull, Racked
Cheryn Salazar's compulsive hair pulling led to her career selling wigs and makeup for those with medical hair loss. For her, customer service often means counseling people as they navigate questions of identity, beauty, and the search for a supportive community.
The Antipsychotic Boom, BuzzFeed News
A decade ago, drug companies started heavily marketing the antipsychotics Abilify, Seroquel, and Zyprexa as treatments for depression — despite concerns over serious side effects. That marketing is subsiding now as generics hit the market, but it may have created a dangerous clinical standard.
Ticks and Cowboys, Modern Farmer
On the border of Texas and Mexico, government-employed cowboys ride the river to keep a dangerous pest at bay.
The Flight of the Ladybugs, The Awl
Gardeners are increasingly buying wild-caught ladybugs as natural pest control. But they don't work, and scientists worry the harvest might harm wild populations.
Taking the Silver Cure, The Awl
A deep-dive into the internet community of people who believe colloidal silver, or tiny particles of silver mixed with water, can cure everything from cancer to HIV.