Written by the former drug-dealer Niko Vorobyov, Dopeworld promises to take its readers around the world, exposing the social and economic impact drugs are globally bearing. Opening with the distressing image of ‘blood and brains … on the sidewalk’ in the Philippines’s capital, the dark reality of the War on Drugs is palpable.
Vorobyov candidly shares his personal relationship with the world of drugs throughout the book, sharing his experiences selling drugs at university, being sentenced to two and a half years for possession with intent to supply, and his time in HM Prison Isis. He also stresses his middle-class upbringing, living in Russia, America and Bath (UK), and the academic accomplishments of his parents. This reflects the notion repeatedly reiterated by Vorobyov, drugs can affect everyone regardless of their demographic status. However, this is not without inequities.
The failure of the War on Drugs is persistently made transparent, for instance in 2018 ‘Mexico’s annual body count for its drug war … reached over 33,000 murders’, recapitulating the commonality of the opening scene set in Manila. When prohibiting laws are made, there are constantly innovative and dangerous strategies generated to evade them; from El Chapo’s tunnels to drug mules, the demand and thus supply around the world is relentless. The human detriment as a consequence of the futility of these laws is manifested in Ray Lakeman’s loss of his two sons, Jacques and Torin.