Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution that's Changing how the World Gets High

Mike Power

Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution that's Changing how the World Gets High

A few years ago, deals were done in dimly-lit side streets or on the phone via a friend of a friend. Today, you can order every conceivable pill or powder with the click of a mouse. But the online market in narcotics isn't just changing the way drugs are bought and sold; it's changing the nature of drugs themselves. Enterprising dealers are using the web to engage highly skilled foreign chemists to tweak the chemical structures of banned drugs - just enough to create a similar effect, just enough to render them legal in most parts of the world. Drugs such as mephedrone (aka miaow-miaow) are marketed as 'not for human consumption', but everyone knows exactly how they're going to be used - what they can't know is whether their use might prove fatal. From UK dancefloors to the offices of apathetic government officials, via social networking sites and underground labs, Mike Power explores this agile, international, virtual subculture that will always be one step ahead of the law. 4.2 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution that's Changing how the World Gets High

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication May 2013
ISBN 978-1846274596
Publisher Portobello Books
 

A few years ago, deals were done in dimly-lit side streets or on the phone via a friend of a friend. Today, you can order every conceivable pill or powder with the click of a mouse. But the online market in narcotics isn't just changing the way drugs are bought and sold; it's changing the nature of drugs themselves. Enterprising dealers are using the web to engage highly skilled foreign chemists to tweak the chemical structures of banned drugs - just enough to create a similar effect, just enough to render them legal in most parts of the world. Drugs such as mephedrone (aka miaow-miaow) are marketed as 'not for human consumption', but everyone knows exactly how they're going to be used - what they can't know is whether their use might prove fatal. From UK dancefloors to the offices of apathetic government officials, via social networking sites and underground labs, Mike Power explores this agile, international, virtual subculture that will always be one step ahead of the law.

Reviews

The Guardian

Steven Poole

Fascinating and vividly written … His is an informed and thoroughly hip intervention into a public debate that is too often evidence-hostile and tabloid-panderingly disingenuous. But it's not just techy and wonkish; Power's book is funny as well.

04/05/2013

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The Sunday Telegraph

Richard Davenport-Hines

Power is a sure guide through this cyberworld … Power is not impervious to the moral ambivalences of this frenetic world: he criticises media exaggerations and “moral panics” about drugs while boasting of his part in “a sting operation” that he “set up” for a newspaper. Nevertheless, his conclusion that in the digital age, traditional prohibition enforcement is bound to fail seems as undeniable a fact as the M25.

30/04/2013

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The Observer

Carole Cadwalladr

A pretty scary read … There are no answers in this book. Power, a raver in his day, once saw taking ecstasy as an extension of personal freedom; now he sees a drugs industry populated by rogue chemists, super-labs and criminal gangs. Maybe, though, he writes, the web will "strip drug culture of its mystique". Drugs are just "carbon, hydrogen and a few other elements". Transgression is not an element, just a way of seeing. It's us who are the problem, he seems to suggest, not the drugs.

12/05/2013

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