Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic (Hardcover)

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I read a lot of books on the opioid epidemic.  Much of the time, I find I already know everything in a new book that comes out.  Not this time.  Fentanyl, INC. sheds light on the underground corners of the internet and history that have been covered in darkness.  This book is much more than the tale of how America has a fentanyl problem.  It is more about the actions that brought us here.  What I found astounding, was that we probably wouldn’t have a heroin or fentanyl problem if we just let the people that want to get high with an approved medication approved by a doctor or a pharmacist get high.  Then, people would know what they were putting in their bodies.   Maybe we would not have as many people selling these drugs if we could get them decent jobs that payed a living wage.  Possibly they might have an unresoved mental issue and if they were to get some treatment they wouldn’t be self-medicating the best way they know how.  Also some people just wanna get high.  We let them do it by drinking or smoking grass, maybe some people want to do it with narcotics.  At any rate, users have a higher chance of dying because their drugs could be contaminated.  Fentanyl has gotten more accesible, because it can be made in a lab.  It is so potent, that a gram could potentially kill 300ish people.  Reading books like this means we can make informed decisions about laws that we vote on.  We can't arrest our way out of this situation.  I mean, people can order this stuff right to their doorstep!  I recommend this book for anyone that works around drugs, uses them, knows someone addicted, or lives in an area with a heroin/fentanyl problem.  If we educate ourselves, we may be able to help those that need it. 

— From Alex


A remarkable four-year investigation into the dangerous world of synthetic drugs--from black market drug factories in China to users and dealers on the streets of the U.S. to harm reduction activists in Europe--which reveals for the first time the next wave of the opioid epidemic

A deeply human story, Fentanyl, Inc. is the first deep-dive investigation of a hazardous and illicit industry that has created a worldwide epidemic, ravaging communities and overwhelming and confounding government agencies that are challenged to combat it. "A whole new crop of chemicals is radically changing the recreational drug landscape," writes Ben Westhoff. "These are known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and they include replacements for known drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. They are synthetic, made in a laboratory, and are much more potent than traditional drugs"--and all-too-often tragically lethal.

Drugs like fentanyl, K2, and Spice--and those with arcane acronyms like 25i-NBOMe-- were all originally conceived in legitimate laboratories for proper scientific and medicinal purposes. Their formulas were then hijacked and manufactured by rogue chemists, largely in China, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, making the drugs' effects impossible to predict. Westhoff has infiltrated this shadowy world. He tracks down the little-known scientists who invented these drugs and inadvertently killed thousands, as well as a mysterious drug baron who turned the law upside down in his home country of New Zealand. Westhoff visits the shady factories in China from which these drugs emanate, providing startling and original reporting on how China's vast chemical industry operates, and how the Chinese government subsidizes it. Poignantly, he chronicles the lives of addicted users and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug awareness organizers in the U.S. and Europe. Together they represent the shocking and riveting full anatomy of a calamity we are just beginning to understand. From its depths, as Westhoff relates, are emerging new strategies that may provide essential long-term solutions to the drug crisis that has affected so many.

About the Author

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning investigative reporter who writes about culture, drugs, and poverty, and has advised officials at the top levels of government about the fentanyl epidemic. His previous book Original Gangstas is the definitive work about West Coast hip-hop. He came up in the alternative weeklies Riverfront Times and L.A. Weekly and has also written for the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, and Vice.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802127433
ISBN-10: 0802127436
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Pages: 356
Language: English


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