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China Crime The Internet

How the Web Makes a Real-Life Breaking Bad Possible 194

gallifreyan99 writes "The real revolution in drugs isn't Silk Road—it's the open web. Thanks to the net, almost anyone with a basic handle on chemistry can design, manufacture and sell their own narcotics, and in most cases the cops are utterly unable to stop them. This piece is kind of crazy: the writer actually creates a new powerful-but-legal stimulant based on a banned substance, and gets a Chinese lab to manufacture it."
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How the Web Makes a Real-Life Breaking Bad Possible

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  • Why wait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:27AM (#46107935)

    Legalize everything and fight abuse with proper education, not the duck and cover shit!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:47AM (#46108011)

    Yes, the drugs war is about monopolising the production and supply of certain chemicals, as has been obvious since VIetnam and continues to be clear with Afghanistan.

    In particular, it has nothing to do with protecting people from harm.

    However! this doesn't mean that taking recreational (medical uses not included here) drugs is a positive experience. It can be relatively harmless, as with the occasional puff of cannabis, but ultimately it's about escaping reality. And, if you're trying to escape reality, it means you have some problem with reality. Deal with that.

    And that's before you get onto the not-so-benign physiological effects that many drugs have, which in the case of new synthetic randomness is likely to be unknown. I know a few extremist libertarians are genuinely misled into thinking that any sort of drugs regulation is wrong, because "the market" will weed out those who kill too many people (let's hope you or your daughter aren't the ones killed, eh?), but we have society for a reason.

  • Re:Why wait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:48AM (#46108019) Journal

    "Legalize everything and fight abuse with proper education, not the duck and cover shit!"

    that fails to satiate the power grab of being able to arrest dissenters at any time for having a tiny bit of drug planted on or near them by the Powers That Be.

  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:53AM (#46108039)

    The "traditional" drugs are known risks with known treatments; we should simply legalize them and offer support and treatment to those who want it. There would be less suffering and as a society, we'd be a lot better off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:55AM (#46108045)

    However! this doesn't mean that listening to recreational (medical uses not included here) music is a positive experience. It can be relatively harmless, as with the occasional listen of Beethoven's 9th, but ultimately it's about escaping reality. And, if you're trying to escape reality, it means you have some problem with reality. Deal with that.


    Seriously, you're clueless if you think recreational use of drugs is ultimately about "escaping reality". You're equating "fun" with "escaping reality".

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:02AM (#46108067) Homepage

    See, there are two sides to this story and they always talk past each other. One side says drugs are cool, and everyone should do a little, just to see what it's like and if it's not your thing then it's OK. They only see the positive effects. The other side works in emergency rooms and treatment centers and only sees the negative effects, and warns everyone to stay away, don't even try drugs once because we hear that story everyday of the guy who tried it once, liked it, and ruined his previously promising life.

    What do these two views have in common? Fucking druggies. People who are wholly incapable of controlling themselves so they ruin it for everyone. There is a certain kind of person that freaking loves drugs. They'll structure their entire lives so that they can do drugs, and they don't care about who they harm in the process. They will steal from and hurt people they love. Hunter S. Thompson said, "You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug," and he knew what he was talking about. Other people don't care for drugs at all. I've known veterans who have been prescribed the best sorts of opiates for legitimate medical reasons, and all they do is complain about how their minds "feel fuzzy and can't think straight". This fuzzy feeling is exactly what pleases druggies the most.

    So, what do you do? Legalize drugs and let druggies run wild? Put them all on an island where they don't pay rent, eat for free and get all they drugs they want? Hell, why should I work for a living when I can just do that? Keep drugs illegal and scare away most of the good people? Who knows, maybe I've been looking all my life for methamphetamine and just don't know it yet because I've never tried it because I'm scared of going to jail. The main problem that both sides have is the fucking druggies. If it weren't for them, we could have safe, legal drugs and it wouldn't be a goddamn problem.

  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:08AM (#46108099)

    Brilliant! It won't actually do much to reduce recreational drug use, but it will mean a lot more restriction on companies developing legal drugs. Big pharmaceuticals should love that, because in the end, only a few of them will be left who are actually able to pay for the licenses and security associated with drug development under such restrictions. Crony capitalism at its best!

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:21AM (#46108139) Journal

    The opinion of the "chief of operations" at the DEA on decriminalization []

    "Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again."

    This is why we're not going to offer support and treatment.
    This is why there will not be less suffering in our society.

    It's not just enough for there to be a change in public opinion, there has to be a change in political will and a massive bureaucratic upheaval to push out everyone who has invested decades in being afraid of the public's consumption of drugs.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:44AM (#46108195) Homepage

    Some become addicted to drugs, others drink or gambling or base jumping. They're part of the human spectrum and you'll never get rid of them. Some would argue (and I'd agree) that a healthy civilisation needs all types of personalities to function. However because of their type of personality they need to be protected from themselves when it comes to really dangerous stuff and drugs comes into this category. Whats the solution? I don't know. Complete prohibition never works , but then a free for all would be a disaster for all concerned too. *shrug*

  • Re:Why wait? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:32AM (#46108321) Homepage Journal

    that's not true

    meth, heroin, and coke are for more addictive than alcohol

    so it's as hard to quit as nicotine, but as inebriating as alcohol. meaning you can't quit, like nicotine. but unlike nicotine, which actually enhances concentration, on meth/ heroin/ coke, your focus is for shit. so you can't hold a job/ maintain a relationship

    that's why society outlaws drugs

    not because society is hysterical killjoys. but because highly addictive hard drugs really do destroy lives. just the drugs: not social attitudes, not personal psychological, the actual chemicals. no one is immune to basic biochemistry, no willpower is stronger than the pharmacology of addiction

    marijuana, the hallucinogens, etc., they should be legal: not highly addictive + highly inebriating at the same time like hard drugs

    and addicts should get treatment, not jail

    but legalize meth? heroin? coke?

    no, never

    because even with the negative prohibition effects (funding drug cartels, etc), drug addiction itself to highly addictive HARD drugs, is still more harmful to society than prohibition

    the war on hard drugs is not new. and will never end. it's just a maintenance function of civilization. no, we'll never get rid of hard drugs completely. but that's not the point. the point is just to minimize the negative social effects of drug addiction by minimizing the addict population. we're also never going to completely stop rape, murder, robbery. so we give up fighting that too?

    we just need better tactics: portugal for example has a better attitude than the usa. but the war on drugs still goes on in portugal. dealers are still criminals in portugal. in fact, addicts are still criminals: they just get treatment instead of jail, as it should be in the usa

    it didn't start with reagan. and the war has been going on every since we noticed droog would spend all day eating fermented fruit at the caveman campsite instead of helping with foraging and hunting. why does islam prohibit alcohol? too many useless wasted human shells on the street. why did the usa even experiment with prohibition? it wasn't just busy body prudes. because alcohol really does destroy lives

    study the opium wars: []

    the drug dealing british weakened and defeated china, and won hong kong, just so it could keep pushing drugs on china, destroying chinese society. something which china is still humiliated about, and gave rise to the boxer rebellion and the revitalization of modern china against imperialism. but the foundation of the rebirth of chinese pride and nationalism was a reaction was against imperial and colonial enforced drug addiction by british drug dealers. like fire water on native americans. drugs themselves are the actual problem. drugs are the tool of destruction

    it was a problem then. it's a problem now. it always will be a problem. like war, slavery, racism, etc., drug addiction is just one of those timeless tragedies of the human experience

    how we handle hard drug addiction? yeah, we need to change that. we need better tactics, absolutely

    but the war on hard drugs will never end

    it's just a maintenance function of civilization

  • by TractorBarry ( 788340 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:32AM (#46108323) Homepage

    Trying to stop people altering their consciousness with chemicals is a waste of time. As long as people aren't driving around under the influence, or otherwise endangering third parties, who gives a shit ? If someone is stupid enough to get addicted to something that's their problem. Give it to them free and give them free treatment until they get clean (i.e. don't force them to become petty thieves to sustain a habit)

    The real problem with drugs is that they can cause people to lose their societal conditioning and they will no longer play the game and act like a good sheeple.

    Not forgetting that prisons and the court system are a great money spinner for the privileged classes.

    Look at Victorian England. Laudenum, Cocaine, Opium, Heroin all available over the counter from the local chemist. High society parties where people would have a good dinner then sit around sniffing glue and ether. Did society collapse ? Did people spend all day high doing nothing ? No. A myriad of wonderful mechanical inventions came about, amazing stuff got built and people got on with their lives.

    If that's what happens when people can get high in peace bring it on.

  • 3D print the drugs (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:38AM (#46108335)
    Surely, if we are close to a Star Trek replicator and can 3D print human organs (!), surely printing out a simple molecule as many times as is required should be trivial. Trivial! So please, 3D printing fans, show me where we can 3D print molecules.
  • by PeerWat ( 247790 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:37AM (#46108495)

    It's only because drugs are all banned that the problems exist. If someone wishing to get high could take a drug which has been regulated, they would be less interested in taking any old crap their mate recommends, in what could be a completely incorrect dose.

    Surely, as technology improves the number of drugs will increase? Just banning every single drug is barely feasible now, as the article makes clear, and the problem is just going to get worse. If society is going to tolerate the consumption of any kind of mind-altering substance, we will have to learn to investigate and regulate them.


  • by Demonoid-Penguin ( 1669014 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:54AM (#46108535) Homepage

    Obviously enforcement of every bespoke chemical being synthesized to order is impractical even by the standards of the drug wars; but are substances such as the one described in the article actually 'legal'?

    In Australia where the story is based, maybe (Designer Drugs Legislation), but would it be enforced? No. Sythetic Cannabis analogs are illegal here under the same legislation, but before seizing them they have to be run through Lidcombe labs where there is a long waiting list, in the meantime the distributors are making a lot of money - and have legal heavyweights that can and have stalled the process.

    One of the things the sensationalised story overlooked is that the same compound could be manufactured to order almost anywhere in the world - China just happens to give the story more zing.

    It should also be noted that these and other "designer" drugs are not very enjoyable. The reality is that all the "good" drugs (relatively harmless, few unpleasant side effects) are either illegal or heavily taxed and subject to production and distribution monopolies.

    In New South Wales they have laws in place that can make possession of a length of garden hose and a milk bottle illegal. The laws against drugs have a purpose and it's not to stop people taking them. Good luck banning them - I studied organic chemistry and pharmacology, everything on your spice rack, even your lawn itself has non-amine precursors. But that'd involve a bit of work and an outlay. Give me a truck, a woodchipper, a chainsaw, and malicicious intent and I can actually get paid big money to legally collect large amounts of (very) rich *amine* precursors for Alpha Methyl PhenEthyl Amines (MMDA and speed/Ice etc) - as could any number of people who likewise have no motivation to get rich from recreational drugs - or compete with very competitive existing marketers, and the host of "officials" who live off them. By rich I mean 5 - 8% and in semi trailer loads. Continuously.

    The drug industry, the other industry that calls their clients "users".

  • Re:Why wait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:09AM (#46108593)
    So why should we buy that "hard" drugs are bad enough to ban them, based on the experiences of the Opium war? Wouldn't instead the conclusion be that the harsh ban caused more problems and societal weakness than the drug use did?
  • Re:Why wait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:31AM (#46108659) Journal

    Perhaps you should try the drugs you write about first.

    More or less everything you write about nicotine, meth, heroine and cocain (I asume that is what you mean with coke) is: wrong.

  • by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:12AM (#46108859)

    Currently caffeine is a free-for all. Highly addictive.

    Where do you get this? How do you define "highly addictive"? Are you reading stories of people sucking dick for caffeine?

  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:37AM (#46109661) Journal

    Which is bald-faced lie. Case in point: Portugal. Other cases in point: the dozen-plus states that have medical marijuana laws on the books. It's too soon to declare Washington and Colorado's legalization experiments a success, but I would hardly be surprised if these states did not descend into anarchy.

    He lies to protect his job, and to protect the powers that be. Without criminalized drugs, the prisons would be half-empty, and we've gotta keep those private prison contracts satisified. Also, we need to turn poor, stupid 18 year olds who make a mistake with drugs into felons so they will either be trapped in minimum wage jobs when they get out, or will become hardened criminals who will then scare the white middle class enough to justify the taxation required for the police state. Mexico might not be a blood-drenched narco state, and then why would their honest, hardworking people flee north to pick our tomatoes and clean our houses for cheap?

    Just like every other war in history, the war on drugs is a racket. The poor suffer and die, the middle class pays for it, and the rich get richer.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @11:50AM (#46110643) Journal

    It should also be noted that these and other "designer" drugs are not very enjoyable. The reality is that all the "good" drugs (relatively harmless, few unpleasant side effects) are either illegal or heavily taxed and subject to production and distribution monopolies.

    We've only scratched the surface of what's possible. You're right, many of the current "research chemicals" are worse than their natural counterparts. JWH is absolutely less fun and more harmful than THC. Whatever they're passing around on blotter these days is no match for real LSD.

    But for that matter, LSD was an unknown research chemical once. And it's at least as good as any natural psychedelic. I have it on good authority that MXE, discussed in the article, is more enjoyable than Ketamine. At this point we don't know what the side effects are, but it's possible that it's safe.

    There are receptors in our brain that we don't even know what they bind. The receptors that we do know the ligands of, have allosteric sites that could bind novel chemicals. The drugs we know of could be improved upon, we don't know until we try.

    So yes, don't take "spice" or bath salts. But don't be surprised if something new and amazing comes out of these basement labs either.

  • by sudon't ( 580652 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @12:32PM (#46111159)

    Look, it's just a fancy, science-y way of (preemptively) saying, "anything that gets you high, anything enjoyable, is illegal." That is the basis of all of our drug law. They came up with all this "safety" jive when racism went out of fashion, and because they can't say what they really mean, which is that, "we don't want to see people enjoying things we don't enjoy." It's the puritan ethic.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak