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Fentanyl, Inc.: Book summary and reviews of Fentanyl, Inc. by Ben Westhoff

Fentanyl, Inc.

How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic

by Ben Westhoff

Fentanyl, Inc. by Ben Westhoff X
Fentanyl, Inc. by Ben Westhoff
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Drawing material from official reports, drug databases, scores of interviews, and years of personal research, Westhoff presents an unflinching, illuminating portrait of a festering crisis...Highly sobering, exemplary reportage delivered through richly detailed scenarios and diversified perspectives." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] frank, insightful, and occasionally searing exposé...Westhoff's well-reported and researched work will likely open eyes, slow knee-jerk responses, and start much needed conversations." - Publishers Weekly

"So many substance abuse books are a mix of hysterical in tone and a disappointing 'paint by numbers' in their execution, but [Fentanyl, Inc.] really stands out for its research, journalism, and overall analysis...It is also a great book on China, and how China and the Chinese chemicals industry works, backed up by extensive original investigation...Definitely recommended." - Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"In Fentanyl, Inc., Ben Westhoff lays bare the twisted history that led to opioids wreaking havoc on twenty-first century America. If you want to understand the bloody cycle of addiction and death gripping the nation, you need to read this book." - Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco and Gangster Warlords

"This is an exceptionally useful and well-timed book. I hope anyone concerned about this era's new addiction epidemic will read it and put its messages to use. Ben Westhoff very skillfully combines pharmacology, politics, law enforcement, and gripping international intrigue in his account of America's number-one public health problem. I hope Fentanyl, Inc. is widely read and influential." - James Fallows

The information about Fentanyl, Inc. shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Ben Westhoff

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning investigative reporter who has covered stories ranging from Los Angeles gangsta rap to Native American tribal disputes to government corruption. He is the author of two previous books: Original Gangstas about the birth of West Coast rap, and Dirty South about the southern rappers who re-invented hip-hop. He has written at length about culture, drugs, and corruption in the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Village Voice, Vice, Oxford American, and elsewhere.

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