"You can ban drugs, but you can't ban chemistry," Mike Power, author of Drugs 2.0, explains in this talk at the HIT Hot Topics Conference. And he gives a personal, investigative story to prove it.
Governments can legislate chemicals--ban a drug, say, a stimulant or a psychedelic--but what happens when chemists make a slightly different version by mixing in a new molecule? The drug becomes, legally, something different, and for as long as it takes the government to catch up on the new substance, the drug can be sold. Power went on a quest to discover just how easy that process was, out-sourcing a version of the stimulant phenmetrazine to a Chinese lab, and in a few weeks, getting the legal version delivered to his door in the United Kingdom. The lab never even learned his name.
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