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 history lesson on American drug use and drug laws, a crash course in chemistry and neuroscience, a multifaceted portrait of addiction and a look at how harm reduction programs can atone for the failures of the War on Drugs ... a finely woven and accessible analysis of the connection between university chemistry professors, dark web sales, drug cartels, law enforcement, and the dealers and addicts dependent on it ... Westhoff is a skilled and empathetic biographer, and this gift serves the composite of the dealers, users and bereaved of Fentanyl, Inc. Throughout the book are the human faces and voices of the crisis: their insights, their histories ... It’s in this focus on the human cost of the crisis, of empathy over criminalization, that this accomplished book feels most urgently important.
Critiquing prohibition-oriented drug policy, Westhoff explores more pragmatic responses including grassroots harm-reduction activism and supervised injection facilities, needle exchanges, and treatment programs that could lower public-health costs and reduce fatalities. ... this book will assist policymakers, activists, and general readers in understanding better how to respond to the drug crisis that is only more intractable now.
The information uncovered by Westhoff, an investigative reporter, will no doubt prove useful to lawmakers, addiction counselors, and anyone else who is dealing with opioid addiction ... But where the book really shines is in Westhoff’s ability to get inside the lives of his characters, from addicts like Henke and Schwandt, to the scientists who initially developed opioids, to the Chinese chemists who are manufacturing fentanyl knockoffs—and profiting hugely off the global rise of opioid addiction ... a feat of reporting, to be sure. And while the many details Westhoff uncovered are likely to leave some readers enraged, Fentanyl, Inc. is an important book that arrives at a key juncture in the opioid crisis.