Ben Westhoff

Journalist

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Speaking Engagements

Ben Westhoff is the author of the highly-acclaimed, first book about fentanyl, Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Crisis. He is a foremost expert on the drug’s history, manufacture, distribution, abuse, and treatment. He has traveled the world speaking with users, dealers, scientists, law enforcement, and political leaders, and was the first journalist to infiltrate a Chinese fentanyl lab.

Westhoff has advised top government officials on the fentanyl crisis, including from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and the U.S. State Department. He has appeared as a keynote speaker at summits focused on opioids and other new drugs, and has been featured as an expert commentator on national television and radio programs around the world, including CNN, NPR, BBC, and CBC. He recently testified about fentanyl in Washington DC before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional advisory commission, discussing his findings from Fentanyl, Inc. about China's role in encouraging the manufacture and export of new drugs including fentanyl. He presentation includes never-published photographs from his infiltration of two Chinese drug operations.

Praise for Fentanyl, Inc.

“This is an exceptionally useful and well-timed book. I hope anyone concerned about this era’s new addiction epidemic will read it and put its messages to use. Ben Westhoff very skilfully combines pharmacology, politics, law enforcement, and gripping international intrigue in his account of America’s number-one public health problem. I hope Fentanyl, Inc. is widely read and influential.” -James Fallows

“Timely and agonizing . . . [Westhoff’s] book is the product of a four-year deep-dive into the world of designer drugs, and it’s an impressive work of investigative journalism. He interviewed 160 people and visited laboratories all over the world; he even infiltrated a pair of Chinese drug operations.”USA Today

“Compelling…Fascinating… [Westhoff] seamlessly blends past and present in his profiles of Belgian chemist Paul Janssen, who was responsible for fentanyl's initial development in 1959; police officers; politicians; LSD drug kingpins, and St. Louis street dealers. . . . Drawing material from official reports, drug databases, scores of interviews, and years of personal research, Westhoff presents an unflinching, illuminating portrait of a festering crisis involving a drug industry that thrives as effectively as it kills. Highly sobering, exemplary reportage delivered through richly detailed scenarios and diversified perspectives.” Kirkus (Starred Review)

“Through his courageous reporting Ben Westhoff takes us to the heart of the problem. In Fentanyl, Inc., he shines a light on the human wreckage and damage caused by the most powerful and dangerous of the opioids, fentanyl and its derivatives. He shows us how addiction, mislabeling, purposefully or mistakenly mixed drugs lead to tragic ends. The drug is often created out of factories operating with the permission of the Chinese government. To solve this epidemic, we must understand it. Make no mistake; the fentanyl problem is a global issue. Fentanyl, Inc., is a must-read, pulling the curtain back and showing us how this human tragedy occurs and how insidious and addictive a drug can be.”―Katherine Tobin, Ph.D., Former Member of the U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission

“Excellent . . . Readable and alternately engaging and chilling in its account of the development, deployment, and devastating consequences of NPS . . . Politicians, police, and the public continue to debate how to handle the use of psychoactive substances in our culture and legal system. Westhoff’s Fentanyl, Inc. should be required reading for anyone who wishes to contribute to a knowledgeable discussion.”Winnipeg Free Press

"In Fentanyl Inc., Ben Westhoff lays bare the twisted history that led to opioids wreaking havoc on twenty first century America. If you want to understand the bloody cycle of addiction and death gripping the nation, you need to read this book." -Ioan Grillo, bestselling author of El Narco and Gangster Warlords 

For more information

Ethan Bassoff
Massie & McQuilkin
212 352 2055
ethan@mmqlit.com