The potent drug Fentanyl is widely used in medicine as a painkiller, and in anesthesia for major surgery. The intensely concentrated opiate is also a recreational street drug, with a growing number of addicted users--some of whom consume it together with chemically related opiates such as heroin.
Fusion profiles George Marquardt, an eccentric gadgeteer in Wichita, KS who became a career clandestine chemist. How important was he? When the feds finally nabbed Marquardt, the country's first “Fentanyl epidemic” dried right up.
Snip from the Fusion interview:
Fentanyl is so deadly that it’s nearly impossible to cut or create safely in a clandestine setting. But someone was doing just that: It appeared to investigators that an enterprising individual had cracked the prescription’s recipe in an illegal lab and was now selling his secret to drug dealers and other “cooks.”
They were right. Their man was a onetime science-fair champion and self-taught chemist in Wichita, Kansas, named George Marquardt.
In an exclusive interview with Fusion, Marquardt -- now 69 and an ex-convict, barred by a court from touching laboratory equipment -- discussed his skills and his trade.
“I am not a pharmacist,” he said. “I am not an M.D. I'm a fellow that will manufacture a chemical compound if you have a sufficiently large quantity of money.”
Marquardt explains to Fusion how wound up producing illegal drugs in the first place: he worked with a pal to produce heroin “using basic lab equipment and old chemistry manuals, some printed in German.”
The Walter White of Wichita
“I was perhaps about 14 or 15 years old at the time,” he said.
“This is not, you know, as remarkable as you might think,” he added. “If you look through these old laboratory manuals, this is just chemistry. Put one step ahead of the next. You work up your products. And I became skillful at feeding one reaction into the other.”
Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs like Truvada before having unprotected sex with HIV+ people can significantly reduce the risk of infection (the drugs can also be taken after potential exposure); though this use is approved in England, the NHS does not yet cover Truveda prescriptions, so people who wish to take the drug are expected to […]
Historical novelist Debra Daley posts a master guide to the intoxicants of 18th century England, which ranged from modern favorites (laughing gas, cannabis) to historic classics (laudanum) to ratafia, “a sweet liqueur flavoured with peach or cherry kernels,” which contained cyanogenic glycosides that broke down into fatal, insanity-causing hydrogen cyanide.
We’ve all heard that Nazi soldiers were fueled by methamphetamine. (This isn’t uncommon in military history. For example, see the US army’s use of “pep bills” in Vietnam.) But new research gets way more specific about the history of drugs in Nazi Germany. From CNN: Now, meth, cocaine and even opiates have been referenced in […]
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]