Episode 882: Synthetic Reefer Madness : Planet Money Synthetic drugs like "Spice" and "K2" have helped jumpstart a revolution in the drug trade.
NPR logo Episode 882: Synthetic Reefer Madness

Episode 882: Synthetic Reefer Madness

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A new generation of synthetic drugs has revolutionized the illicit drug trade. (Photo Illustration by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The business of getting people high used to require fields of poppies or marijuana, and the farmers to farm them. Over the last two decades, a new generation of potent synthetic drugs has revolutionized the illicit drug trade. These drugs are cheap, easy to make in factories, and difficult to regulate. Now, it's possible to become a kingpin with little more than an internet connection and an email address for a chemical plant in China.

Today on the show: We look at one synthetic drug — Spice — and tell the story of how it helped unleash a revolution.

Music: "Escape the Mind," "Edge of Fear," and "Spinning Piano."

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