New “Drugs 2.0″ book chronicles how the web is changing how we get high

February 1, 2013 — 1 Comment

Here’s one to keep an eye on: Mike Power’s upcoming book, Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That’s Changing How the World Gets High, has the attention of quite a few people in the online drug community. He’s describing the project as “a book on the next stage of the drugs war.”

Power has been doing over a year of research on the book, hitting everyone from major forum moderators to journalists to academics to the rank and file of the community. Actually, all one has to do is check out @mrmichaelpower to get a quick idea of the ambitious list of who he’s been reaching out to including billionaire Richard Branson and Neuromancer author William Gibson (plus a few less ambitious targets).

The book comes out on May 2, 2013. Here’s the pitch:

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.

Mike Power is a 42 year old British journalist whose credits include the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday Herald, Drugscope and the Big Issue.

The credentials are serious, the topic is top notch and everyone I’ve spoken to seems oh-so-keen on seeing exactly what Mike has produced. Me too.  You can take a look at the book’s Amazon listing here.

Weirder Web has a free newsletter. You can get new posts delivered to your inbox. Pretty cool. Sign up.

  • mike power

    Hello there, this is Mike Power. Thanks very much for the props and the mention. I only wish William Gibson had replied to my rather random question about transdermal betaphenethylamines, and that Branson would give me a beardy kiss and cuddle (and rewteet a link to my book and give me a damn quote some time) but alas, no reply.

    I’ve been researching Drugs 2.0 for over 4 years, really, since I broke the mephedrone story.

    I’m happy with the book and if you’re interested in this kind of thing, take a look at which is the feed i set up for stuff around the book.

    Way I see it, we’re at a very interesting crossroads – the drugs market is becoming virtualised, and drugs are mutating faster than the law can handle… that’s just a fact, neither good nor bad. Anyway, thanks again and hope you enjoy the book when it comes out.