Cartels, Chemists, and the Story of Fentanyl in the U.S.

A new podcast series from VICE News and Spotify is a deep dive into the powerful opioid fueling America’s overdose crisis.

The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl causes more fatal overdoses than any other drug. It’s also a medical miracle, used for everything from surgery to cancer pain.

Over the past year, I traveled around the world and across the U.S. making Painkiller, a new VICE News podcast series about fentanyl, with the team behind our show “Chapo: Kingpin on Trial.” We trace the flow of illicit fentanyl, meeting cartel members in Mexico, an internet trafficker in China, and the DEA agents trying to track them down.

We tell the exclusive story of one of the dark web’s biggest fentanyl dealers and the death that led to his downfall. We investigate a pharmaceutical giant accused of flooding communities with prescription pills. We embed with front-line workers responding to overdoses. And we follow the lives of people all over the country to understand how fentanyl sparked the deadly third wave of America’s opioid crisis.

Watch our trailer and subscribe to Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis on Spotify now. Binge all episodes starting Monday, June 29.