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

Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest 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...

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Title:Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic
Author:Ben Westhoff
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Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic Reviews

  • Rama

    The Fentanyl Crisis

    On April 15, 2016, on his way home after performing in Atlanta, pop entertainer Prince's plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. He was found unresponsive and taken to a local hospital. Six days later, he passed away. Toxicology reports revealed that an overdose of opioid Fentanyl caused his demise. In January 2015, Bailey Henke, an 18-year-old kid from Grand Forks. North Dakota overdosed himself to death causing deep sorrow and dolor for his parents. Opioid Fent

    The Fentanyl Crisis

    On April 15, 2016, on his way home after performing in Atlanta, pop entertainer Prince's plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. He was found unresponsive and taken to a local hospital. Six days later, he passed away. Toxicology reports revealed that an overdose of opioid Fentanyl caused his demise. In January 2015, Bailey Henke, an 18-year-old kid from Grand Forks. North Dakota overdosed himself to death causing deep sorrow and dolor for his parents. Opioid Fentanyl put faces of the victims to its name. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 20,000 Americans were killed by fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic painkiller. This synthetic opioid is 50 times more powerful than heroin. With street names such as Drop Dead, Murder 8, China white, China girl, dance fever and goodfella, fentanyl is marketed by drug dealers as the ultimate high.

    These new drugs aren't grown in a field; they are made in a laboratory. Plants that yield marijuana and heroin were grown in Mexico and Latin America, but Fentanyl is manufactured in laboratories in China. The author dares to infiltrate Chinese drug operations, a sophisticated laboratory operation distilling outsize quantities of the world's most dangerous chemicals in industrial-size glassware. The Chinese drug industry is not run by cartels and criminal organizations, but by university-educated chemists who often play by their government's rules.

    Many health-care workers who help treat substance abusers believe the American traditional focus on “supply-side” law enforcement, which emphasizes the prosecution over treatment is futile. This approach fails to address the root of the problem: demand, and under-funded addiction treatment programs. Other alternative harm-reduction program is taking center stage in combating opioid addiction. Experts agree that it would be easy to establish supervised-injection facilities for opioid-ravaged communities in the United States to create one-stop shops where people could test their heroin and fentanyl exchange needle and shoot up safely. On-site help would be ready with Narcan, and users could also receive counseling. Information and medical assistance are slowing the opioid crisis. These facilities are showing a track record of success, but federal and many state authorities are not enthusiastic. The tension is encapsulated in an October 2018 exchange when former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced that he had incorporated a nonprofit seeking private funding to open a supervised injection facility in Philadelphia. The US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein angrily said that if one opened it would be immediately shut down by federal authorities. "I've got a message for Mr. Rosenstein," Rendell said, "They can come and arrest me first."

    How is that lethal synthetic opioid is creating a global drug addiction crisis? The author presents a grim picture of the origin of the epidemic. He observes that the harm-reduction initiatives remain diluted beneath the shifting weight and influence of political red tape, global capitalism, and the biological and psychological bondage of drug dependency. 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 organizers in the U.S. and Europe. This is a fascinating book that reads flawlessly and touches your consciousness when you read the stories of families affected by this tragedy.

  • Holly

    My copy was an ARC from ALA Annual 2019 (June, so 3 months before publication). Because of this, the book wasn't 100% finished. That being said, I thought it was an awesome book. I have read many, many others on the opioid epidemic and this is just about the only one that focuses on fentanyl and the role that other countries play. This is not a person with substance abuse disorder or their family members bio. I would recommend to everyone.

  • Gokulakrishnan Saravanan

    Good informative book on synthetic drugs.

    Biggest takeaway for me is war on drugs can never be won, at least the one on Novel Psychoactive Substances.

    Would love to read Dreamland by Sam Quinones next, regarding opioids.

  • Max

    Very insightful book into the world of synthetic drug abuse. I administer drugs (fentanyl, oxycontin) to my patients at my work so I'm always interested in learning more about them. I never knew there was a whole different world out there with these drugs centered for recreational use instead of pain killing!

    This book is pretty heavy on the facts and can be a little confusing with all of the drugs names. It's very interesting if you're interested in drugs and abuse, but don't pick it up if you'r

    Very insightful book into the world of synthetic drug abuse. I administer drugs (fentanyl, oxycontin) to my patients at my work so I'm always interested in learning more about them. I never knew there was a whole different world out there with these drugs centered for recreational use instead of pain killing!

    This book is pretty heavy on the facts and can be a little confusing with all of the drugs names. It's very interesting if you're interested in drugs and abuse, but don't pick it up if you're just expecting to read user stories. The author tries to find out where the drugs and compounds are made and travels to China to talk to the people selling and producing them, which is very interesting to read. So, great book for those looking to learn about the origin of recreational drugs and how "common" pain killers can also be abused.

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. 🌟

  • Melissa

    A comprehensive look at the rise of fentanyl, fentanyl derivatives, and the myriad designer drugs/novel psychoactive substances that have come in their wake. This is the next step in the opioid crisis, since the street heroin addicts have turned to is often cut with varying and dangerous amounts of fentanyls, often with tragic results. Westhoff met with manufacturers in China, makers of safe-testing kits in Europe, and researched the Dark Web.

  • Diane S ☔

    A far reaching and impeccably researched book on our current opioid epidemic. I've heard of fentanyl, in fact I've heard of many of the drugs discussed within this book. What I didn't realize was how far reaching the drug problem is, not contained to just the US but so many other countries as well, from Sweden to New Zealand. Just how many designer, synthetic drugs are in existence, how for every drug made illegal, another is waiting to take its place.

    This is a comprehensive view of the drug tr

    A far reaching and impeccably researched book on our current opioid epidemic. I've heard of fentanyl, in fact I've heard of many of the drugs discussed within this book. What I didn't realize was how far reaching the drug problem is, not contained to just the US but so many other countries as well, from Sweden to New Zealand. Just how many designer, synthetic drugs are in existence, how for every drug made illegal, another is waiting to take its place.

    This is a comprehensive view of the drug trade, the chemists and manufacturers who make them, to how they are marketed, effect their users and the history of some of these drugs. Some made for good, medical purposes, but a small change in the drugs chemical makeup and it becomes a powerful street drug. It's almost overwhelming, how can this wave of new drugs ever be stopped. I was also surprised that many of these powerful drugs are coming from and produced in China.

    The author does provide some solutions to better handling of the drug crisis. Not sure how these would work but better control over the drugs people are taking, treatment rather than just punishment, may be a better way than how it is handled now. Some users actually do not know s drug is tampered with, until it is too late, so a place where they could come and use their drugs under the view of qualified personnel may help. I don't know, but this book is alarming and at this point anything that can be tried, should be. Very eye opening, and frightening both, well worth reading.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Gator

    Fentanyl, Inc. By Ben Westhoff published 2019.

    This was exactly the type of book I was searching for. Since I am not in the drug culture I only know what I hear and what I hear often times is very confusing, especially when it comes to all the names of drugs that are in circulation. As most people who are kept busy with the daily grind I knew of the drug basics like weed, coke, H, meth, crack, LSD..... you know the things we’ve all heard about growing up in modern times. While in high school (I’

    Fentanyl, Inc. By Ben Westhoff published 2019.

    This was exactly the type of book I was searching for. Since I am not in the drug culture I only know what I hear and what I hear often times is very confusing, especially when it comes to all the names of drugs that are in circulation. As most people who are kept busy with the daily grind I knew of the drug basics like weed, coke, H, meth, crack, LSD..... you know the things we’ve all heard about growing up in modern times. While in high school (I’ve been out for almost 20 years now, I am 36) we started to receive information about the dangerous of pills, I especially remember someone from our school dying from

    An Oxy overdose, and I remember that teens mom taking the podium at our high school and talking to us about her son and the dangerous of messing around with these pills. Recently just a few months ago my neighbor, who was my lawn guy, overdosed on meth cut with Fentanyl, which is why I am here writing this review. After My neighbor Kevin passed away I felt a strong desire to find out what the hell is going on and so I started reading books about drugs. My first was Dreamland, AMAZING book, my second was Dope Sick, another great book, and this is my third, and this is the winner as far as information goes. The kind of intel I was searching for wasn’t in the first two books, their focus was on different topics, (Both essential and perfect for the lead up to this book.) I was searching for the information on the synthetic stuff that’s making people go nuts and eat people faces off, (as seen on YouTube) the stuff making people pass out over cars and fire hydrants by the dozens outside of head shops (as seen on YouTube) the stuff making people drop like flys by the tens of thousands here in the Addicted States of America. I FOUND IT!!!! It’s almost as if the book was published just for me, it was On pre order when I began my search so I bought it and waited and in the mean time read the first two mentioned above, but this here Fentanyl, Inc. is the one.

    The author gets into serious detail about the synthetics from A-Z, this guy did his homework.

    Not only did he do his homework but he traveled to China to infiltrate chemical companies that produce Fentanyl among other things and get the real scoop straight from the number one supplier of Fentanyl to the west. I am really impressed with his research and dedication to finding the truth about all this, id like to Personally thank him for a job well done. I’ve learned all I need up-to this point about what I was looking to learn. If you are confused about all these synthetic drugs that have bombarded the news over the past couple of years then this is the book for you, it’s fantastic.

    My beef with the book is it ends the way it starts with a story about the first Fentanyl overdose victim, but I feel the end is abrupt, not bad just too quick for me, no finesse. Second the author gives some advice for what he thinks would be a good way to approach fixing the problem however it’s too progressive for me and seems like it’s just more government breathing down our necks and setting up shop in a neighborhood near you (safe injection sites, Methadone clinics...) I don’t have the answers and truthfully I don’t like any of the solutions, it’s all quite repulsive to me and I’d prefer it didn’t exist, the drugs the junkies the deaths, however I am not naïve and I realize these issues aren’t going away any time soon. As a matter of fact from what I can gather its gonna get a lot worse before (if) it gets better. I don’t have any answers or solutions because this is one big colossal mess we as a culture are in. Having said all

    Of this I feel good about the knowledge I’ve extracted from this particular book(s) so I’m just gonna buckle up and look out the window and go for a ride, Let’s see where time takes us. Oh yeah, JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    looks at the Opioid crisis from the lens of synthetic labs that are producing fentanyl among other concoctions but fentanyl is the one that is killing huge numbers of people. Enforcement problems with fly by night labs and distribution networks popping up in the wake of the opioid crisis. Talks more about the networks than focusing on the toll. A large number of addicts is driving supply and while the networks are interesting they are ubiquitous and shapeshifting. I think a humane policy geared

    looks at the Opioid crisis from the lens of synthetic labs that are producing fentanyl among other concoctions but fentanyl is the one that is killing huge numbers of people. Enforcement problems with fly by night labs and distribution networks popping up in the wake of the opioid crisis. Talks more about the networks than focusing on the toll. A large number of addicts is driving supply and while the networks are interesting they are ubiquitous and shapeshifting. I think a humane policy geared towards the user is called for. Networks pop up and come and go like mushrooms, after a rainstorm, it is the demand side we have to work on.

  • Scribe Publications

    Fentanyl, Inc.

    Fentanyl, Inc

    Fentanyl, Inc.

    Fentanyl, Inc.

    Fentanyl, Inc.

    Fentanyl, Inc.

  • Cynthia D

    *** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review ***

    You like drugs? Public health? Policy? Politics? Interested in the current opioid epidemic? This is a good fit to itch those likes.

    I was expecting a book more focused on personal stories of drug users and fentanyl, but what I got instead was an interesting telling of the drug situation not only in the United States but around the world as well. The history around designer drugs is told in length.

    The international politics, especially b

    *** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review ***

    You like drugs? Public health? Policy? Politics? Interested in the current opioid epidemic? This is a good fit to itch those likes.

    I was expecting a book more focused on personal stories of drug users and fentanyl, but what I got instead was an interesting telling of the drug situation not only in the United States but around the world as well. The history around designer drugs is told in length.

    The international politics, especially between the US and China, is discussed and made me think about whether there were some historical reasons around China’s current lax attitude about the drug labs.

    I found this to be very educational, especially as I start taking classes on population health and societal health issues. Would recommend. It’s not a dry read like some other drug books I’ve picked up recently.

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