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Although occasionally you get a pretty tame drug to test drive, the nature of the job means you're probably going to get one without a lot of documented information about its effects on humans. We test antipsychotics, barbiturates, opiates, insufflated cannabis (read: snorted weed extract), and steroids, just to name a few. Sounds like fun? For how long? A few days? A week? Still fun after a month straight?
Which probably feels closer to a year in snorted stoner time.
In one study we did involving an antidepressant, at least 70 percent of the participants became violently ill. The subjects had dizziness, fainting, racing heart rates, seizures, wrenching stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. The medical staff had to make some tough decisions and arrange people according to the severity of their illness, sending plenty of folks off to the ER. This study was supposed to last a week, but it was canceled after about six hours of everybody's insides trying to get outside.
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"Promises were made ... of the non-butt variety ..."
We require subjects to be healthy, but that doesn't mean they can take these trials lightly. There was one guy who took the same dose as everyone else in the study, his vitals were checking out fine, and everything was good. But then one night he came to complain that the circus in our parking lot was keeping him awake with the loud noises and lights. We might have video games and pool at the facility, but we do not have a clinic circus. The man had been in a completely dark, windowless bedroom. He was sent to the hospital and later to his personal doctor, and it turns out that he'd been hallucinating because the drug had dug up a latent mental illness. Imagine that: You sign up for some easy money at a drug trial for a few weeks, and find out you have a permanent mental illness just hiding in your brain like a psychological ninja.
While your average subject is a college kid making some weekend scratch, or a single mom who just got laid off, you do get the occasional errant weirdo. Arguably the most common complaint by roommates is someone either exposing themselves or masturbating. One guy that amazingly lasted for three studies with us kept coming up with any thin excuse to get staff members to take a look at his junk. He'd claim to have a rash, "accidentally" get caught changing or showering, or that age-old standard: "Naked sleepwalking."
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"My doctor says vigorous handjobs are the safest way to wake me. I wrot- have a note."
Some companies allow for the testing of minors with a parent's consent, but ours took only adult subjects. Regardless, we'd still get parents trying to pimp out their children for these tests. On at least one occasion Child Protective Services was called because the children were obviously not being properly cared for. Oftentimes it was clear that the parents were attempting to sell their own children into medical testing just to fund certain ... habits.
Damn you, Candy Crush. Damn you to hell.
One particularly scarring time, I was doing a pre-study exam of a patient with genital herpes. She'd also had an ileostomy, which is basically a hole your surgeon leaves open so your intestine can leak out waste. Already grossed out? Close this article. Now. Run away and never look back. Nobody is responsible for what happens to your brain in the next paragraph but you.
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Enjoy some parting puppies and be on your way. Last chance.
As I was examining her, I noticed the herpes had spread to her ileostomy hole. I took a deep breath and asked specifically how the herpes had spread to the hole in her guts. She confessed that she and her boyfriend (who gave her the herpes in the first place) use that orifice during sex.
Good luck scrubbing that mental image. If you're lucky, we have a drug for that ...
Isaac's mom is proud that he finally did something in the medical field, sort of. He's a Workshop Moderator here at Cracked and helps schedule interviews for personal experience articles just like this one. Shoot him a message here if you've got a unique story you'd like to tell the world.
For more jobs you probably shouldn't go for, check out 18 Professions That Will Make You Appreciate Yours.
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