Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic(2019)

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A TELEGRAPHBOOK OF THE YEAR.

An undercover investigation into the synthetic-drug epidemic.

A new group of chemicals is radically transforming the recreational-drug landscape. Known as novel psychoactive substances (NPS), they range from so-called 'legal highs' like Spice, to synthetic opioids - most famously, the deadly fentanyl. Designed to replicate the effects of established drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and heroin, NPS are synthesised in laboratories. They are cheap to produce and easy to transport. They are also extremely potent and often deadly. Originally developed for medicinal purposes, and then hijacked by rogue chemists, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, these chemicals' effects can be impossible to predict. What we do know is that they have triggered the biggest drug epidemic that America has ever seen, and which is now spreading internationally.

In Fentanyl, Inc., award-winning journalist Ben Westhoff goes undercover to investigate the shadowy world of synthetic drugs -- becoming, in the process, the first journalist to infiltrate a Chinese fentanyl lab. He tracks down the drug baron in New Zealand who unintentionally helped to start the synthetic-drug revolution; prowls St. Louis streets with a former fentanyl dealer to understand how the epidemic started; and chronicles the lives of addicts and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug-awareness organisers in the US and Europe. Fentanyl, Inc.is essential reading on a global calamity we are only just beginning to understand.

A riveting and deeply human examination of the synthetic-drug epidemic — and in particular the rise of fentanyl, the newest and most deadly wave of the opioid crisis.

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

Drugs like fentanyl, with arcane acronyms like 4-ANPP, K2, and NBOMe, were all originally developed in legitimate laboratories for proper medicinal purposes. Their formulas were then hijacked by rogue chemists, largely in China but increasingly in other places, too, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, a process that makes the drugs’ effects impossible to predict. Westhoff has infiltrated this shadowy world. In Fentanyl, Inc., he recounts how he tracked down a mysterious drug baron in New Zealand who unintentionally sparked one aspect of the synthetic-drug revolution. He visits the shady factories in China from which these drugs emanate, providing startling and original reporting on how China's vast chemical industry operates. He chronicles the lives of addicts and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug-awareness organisers in the U.S. and Europe.

Together, they provide the shocking full picture of a calamity we are only just beginning to understand. And yet 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.

More Information
AuthorBen Westhoff
PublisherScribe
PlaceLondon
Year2019
ISBN9781912854516
BindingPaperback
ConditionVery Good
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