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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

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about culture, drugs, and poverty. His books are taught around the country and have been translated into languages all over the world. His new book Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic is the highly-acclaimed, bombshell first book about fentanyl, which is causing the worst drug crisis in American history. Westhoff was interviewed about the book on Fresh Air and Joe Rogan, and published an excerpt in The Atlantic. Since the book's publication, Westhoff has advised top government officials on the fentanyl crisis, including from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and the U.S. State Department. His previous book Original Gangstas: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and the Birth of West Coast Rap is one of the best-selling hip-hop books of all time. It received raves from Rolling Stone and People, and a starred review in Kirkus. S. Leigh Savidge, Academy Award nominee and co-writer of Straight Outta Compton said it "may be the best book ever written about the hip hop world."Westhoff's work has appeared in the Library of Congress, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Playboy, Vice, Oxford American, Pitchfork, and others. He's been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Entertainment Journalism Awards, Religion Newswriters Association, Best Music Writing, Best of Southern Food Writing, L.A. Press Club, and the Missouri Press Association. He has been interviewed as an expert commentator for CNN, BET, A&E, and ITV, and is the former L.A. Weekly music editor and Voice Media Group Senior music editor. He's a contributor to the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, and his 2011 book on southern hip-hop, Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop was a Library Journal best seller.



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