"With no taste buds and no saliva glands I need a little bit of this to help me get the appetite I need to eat. It's a pain remedy as well", Mackey said.
Mackey says he doesn't wish cancer on anyone and doesn't understand how people think he's at an advantage, but he knows several mushers have complained about him.
"I think this is where they feel the sport's led and came to, and I think it's kind of unfortunate," he said. "This is a dog race and the dogs should be the number one concern."
Hooley says he believes Mackey is the reason so many mushers requested testing along the trail.
"Do we think there is a drug problem associated with the race? We don't think so, but this will certainly answer this question," Hooley said.
Workplace, Inc. is donating its services -- an important contribution to the cash-strapped Iditarod -- and will conduct urine tests for several different types of drugs including marijuana, hashish, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamine. Mushers could apply for a therapeutic use exemption, or TUE.
The tests will take place somewhere along the trail, but race officials will not say where or when. Hooley also says every musher will be tested, not just certain mushers.
"We felt it was important to test the entire field because we are saying it's important to apply this evenly across the board", he said.
It's going to take at least two days to process the results. Hooley says if anyone tests positive they could be disqualified from the race.
Mackey says he has TUE for the drug Marinol, which contains synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. He says he won't be using any other drugs.
"I don't want to jeopardize the chances of winning a new truck or the fourth title in the Iditarod," Mackey said. "Some people think there are a lot of things going on on the trail for the mushers. That I can't say is happening, I have no idea, so we have to go by the rules, abide by the rules and that's just the way it is."
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