Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 6 News List

China says US domestic opioid market crux of crisis

Reuters, BEIJING

China’s drug control agency yesterday said the US should do more to cut its demand for opioids to tackle the use of synthetic drug fentanyl, but it vowed to step up cooperation after Chinese production of the substance had been blamed for fueling the US opioid crisis.

On a state visit to Beijing in November last year, US President Donald Trump said China and the US would do more to stem what he called a “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China” from entering the US.

A year-long congressional probe into the use of fentanyl in the US found that the substance could easily be bought online from Chinese “labs” and mailed to the US due to gaps in oversight in the US Postal Service.

“China’s drug control agencies, now and in the years to come, will place greater emphasis on drug control cooperation between China and the US,” Liu Yuejin (劉躍進), deputy head of the Chinese National Narcotics Commission, told a news conference.

“But I believe that to resolve this the more important issue is for the US to strive to reduce and compress the great demand and drug consumption markets of opioids,” he said.

While China accepts that some new psychoactive substances, including fentanyl, manufactured in China are sold in the US, the substances are not readily abused and trafficked in China itself, Liu said.

Asked whether joint efforts between China and US would be affected by current tensions in the bilateral relationship, Liu said that political factors would not affect China’s resolve to combat drug manufacturing and trafficking.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were responsible for more than 33,000 US deaths in 2015. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

Beijing has taken steps to crack down on the production and export of synthetic drugs, and has placed fentanyl and 22 other related compounds on its list of controlled substances.

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