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China Bans Fentanyl, Bowing to U S. Pressure

Only this year did Mexico expand its “chemical watch list” to include ingredients used in fentanyl production. America’s destructive divided politics hurt efforts to stop the smuggling of the powerful and deadly drug. Unable to get sufficient help from either Mexico or China to stem the flow, the Biden administration instead is focusing on educational efforts to curb drug use.

  • “But due to the openness, anonymity, convenience, cross-border nature of the Internet, any country would have a difficult time completely eradicating illegal information.”
  • Manufacturers in China can operate in the shadows because the country does not have enough inspectors, and has spotty regulatory design and lax enforcement.
  • Fentanyl citrate, pictured here, is a Class II controlled substance and one of the most powerful opioids on the market.
  • However, many local authorities are economically and politically affiliated with producers—and therefore reluctant to crack down.

Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who leads the ongoing trade negotiations with Beijing, told the Senate last month that he would like China’s commitment to curtailing opioid production codified in any final agreement. Negotiators met in Beijing last week to continue hashing out an agreement and are scheduled to meet in Washington again on Thursday and Friday.

Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile. “The growing involvement of Mexican cartels and advanced money laundering schemes have exacerbated the problem”, the report said. On top of relocating some manufacturing to India, Chinese traffickers were re-routing shipments via third countries and using new marketing methods to circumvent local regulations drafted by Beijing. “Requests are often delayed for days, allowing any illegal operation to vacate or clean up the premises”, the report said. However, the advisory body warned there “remain significant gaps in U.S.-China antidrug cooperation”.

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It has frequently been used for pain relief after removal of tonsils and adenoids in children. Data from 2017 and 2018 show the volume and absolute number of U.S. seizures of fentanyl-related compounds shipped by mail dropping drastically after U.S. Customs and Border Protection stepped up its screening of incoming international packages. However, vendors still manage to send the packages within aluminum alloy bags through international mail carriers complete with tracking numbers, so customers can monitor the itinerary from halfway around the world. Vendors continue to operate openly on platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Wickr, MeWe and Vimeo, advertising a head-spinning array of chemicals tagged with an obscure but internationally used numerical naming system. In November 2018, Chinese police — acting on a tip from the U.S. — seized more than 26 pounds of fentanyl and 42 pounds of other drugs from the lab and eventually sentenced nine people from the city of Xingtai in Hebei a year later in a major Chinese-U.S.

china bans fentanyl

Photo by Sgt Gordon Hyde / US ArmyThen, at the behest of the US and in line with its own law enforcement priorities, China placed controls over all fentanyl exportation, including to Mexico. But, China has tens of thousands of private chemical factories capable of producing so-called precursor ingredients used to manufacture fentanyl. Manufacturers, as well as Chinese organized crime groups, are responsible for most of the fentanyl flooding into our country and contributing to the opioid epidemic. It’s a synthetic opioid pain reliever, known to be 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. In fact, fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled if it becomes airborne.

“We believe that the United States is the main cause of the problem of the abuse of fentanyl in the United States,” he said, citing weak enforcement and a culture of addiction. He noted that the United States consumed 80 percent of the world’s opioids while making up only 5 percent of the world’s population. Its march across the country, and particularly its penetration of the Northeast and Midwest, has resulted in a higher death toll by overdoses than H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence caused at their peaks. By declaring that all varieties of fentanyl are now controlled substances, China made good on a pledge that the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, made to President Trump late last year. China won’t stop criminal gangs from providing the chemicals used in Mexico to manufacture fentanyl.

“The cutoffs were temporary,” said Louise Shelley, a George Mason University professor who researches fentanyl supply chains and studied the impact of the pandemic on sales. Chen chose to operate from a base in Ningxia, where he worked at a company selling materials used in steelmaking. “With globalization and supply chain management run by Web-savvy criminals, you don’t have to have this big, scary criminal network,” said the ICE official, who participated in the joint investigation.

Illicit Fentanyl from China: An Evolving Global Operation

Beijing — China said Monday it would soon begin regulating all fentanyl-related drugs as a class of controlled substances. The change has long been pushed for by U.S. officials, including President Trump, as a way to stem the flow of lethal opioids from China. The towns of Nogales, Arizona., left, and Nogales, Mexico, stand separated by a high concrete and steel fence.

china bans fentanyl

The drugs are completely different in chemical structure from fentanyl, but experts warn they can be just as deadly. Initial seizures of the drugs come from mailed packages originating in China, where their production is not controlled. That may complicate Chinese authorities’ efforts to limit illicit fentanyl manufacture since some producers may claim they are not violating the law given that fentanyl is an approved product. Though many fentanyl eco sober house rating analogs are reported in drug seizures by crime labs in the United States, fentanyl remains the dominant synthetic opioid. In 2017, there were twice as many overdoses involving synthetic opioids as there were involving heroin or prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are driving drug overdose deaths in the United States, and it is unlikely this will end soon.

“You just have to be able to run a business and take advantage of modern technology.” Potential clients could inspect grainy snapshots of nondescript powders and pills on Facebook. Occasionally, Chen replied directly to loyal customers, even paying for a Lyft ride to the hospital as compensation when one customer complained he had overdosed on Chen’s product. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration notes that the detected amount of Chinese fentanyl shipments has dropped dramatically since the ban. China’s government refutes this, saying its ban and crackdown on Internet advertising, sales and shipments have been effective.

“Is this a way of China attacking our democracy? I would think so. There’s so much fentanyl right now in this country that it’s enough to kill every single man, woman and child in the United States,” Puerta said. “He was just an innocent kid. He made one dumb decision, and he died. Daniel didn’t deserve to die. We’re not supposed to bury our children,” Puerta told Fox, heartbroken over his son’s sudden death. His friends would often go to him for relationship advice, Daniel’s father, Jaime Puerta, told Fox News. Daniel was 16 years old during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when he reached out to a drug dealer on Snapchat.

It’s often administered via injection or transdermal patch, or in lozenge form for pain after surgery, for difficult-to-manage chronic pain and for people who have developed a tolerance to other opioids. More Chinese vendors are moving to password-protected websites, where access is given only to trusted customers. They are moving away from public social media accounts, for security reasons and because many companies, including Instagram and Reddit, have implemented rules that make it harder for illicit drug vendors to operate.

The most common brand name is Demerol, which comes in both tablet and liquid forms. It is usually taken with or without food every three or four hours as needed for pain. Opioid medications bind to the areas of the brain that control pain and emotions, driving up levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain’s reward areas and producing an intense feeling of euphoria.

EXCLUSIVE Limited Chinese cooperation hindering U.S. fentanyl fight -congress report

This gave the Chinese government the ability to strictly regulate and control their production and distribution. However, this was done on a case-by-case basis, which was a time-consuming process. Meanwhile, it also allowed illegal fentanyl manufacturers to get around the law by creating different variations of the drug. Fentanyl has played an outsized role in the ongoing opioid crisis, with fentanyl recently surpassing heroin as the drug most cited in overdose deaths. In March, the Center for Disease Control released a report that said fentanyl-related deaths have risen 12-fold between 2013 and 2016. The report also noted that people of color have been hit exponentially harder, with fentanyl-related deaths leaping 140.6% each year in the black community and 118.3% in the Hispanic community.

china bans fentanyl

U.S. lawmakers say the crime syndicates in China operate with the knowledge of the Communist Party. And because so many more variants exist, and new ones are constantly being created, banning them as a broadly defined class could be far more effective. In August, while Congress was debating the STOP Act — which sought to curb fentanyl and other opioids from entering the States via international mail — Trump claimed on Twitter that the drug “comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China” and urged congress to stop “this poison from killing our children and destroying our country.” In January, Trump said that Xi promised him at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that China would fully ban all fentanyl. Inadequate regulatory capacity at the national level in China has resulted in provincial authorities enforcing drug manufacturing rules issued by the central government.

Broad controls may have unintended consequences, shaping the drug market by pushing the development of chemicals that fall outside of the law. Morphine is another powerful opioid often administered via syringe for severe pain. It can come in pill form, usually as extended-release eco sober house ma tablets and capsules, and is prescribed only to relieve difficult, chronic pain that cannot be controlled by the use of other pain medications. Mexican cartels have also begun distributing fentanyl products, using ingredients largely made in China.

After all, the remedy is multifaceted and goes well beyond cutting off the supply of any particular drug. The ban will stop carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, acrylfentanyl and valeryl fentanyl from being legally manufactured and sold in China, effective March 1. That could have a big impact on illegal imports to the United States, as China is the main supplier of fentanyl to the US. Though methadone is used to relieve severe chronic pain, it’s most commonly known for preventing withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opioid drugs, as a part of their recovery process. Patients are warned not to break, chew, crush or dissolve extended-release tablets because the rush of oxycodone into the system could cause serious health problems, including overdose and death.

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Fentanyl drug traffickers are sentenced in court last year in Xingtai in northeast China’s Hebei province. The court sentenced at least nine fentanyl traffickers in a case that was the culmination of a rare collaboration between Chinese and U.S. law enforcement to crack down on global networks that manufacture and distribute lethal synthetic opioids. Analysts said an entire new class of synthetic opioids — a family of compounds called benzimidazoles — is now showing up in U.S. drug busts and leading to overdose deaths.

Beijing’s Deadly Game: Consequences of Excluding Taiwan…

In June, the Food and Drug Administration requested that Opana ER manufacturer Endo Pharmaceuticals pull the drug from the market. It was the first time the agency has asked that a opioid pain medication be pulled “due to the public health consequences of abuse.” Endo announced in July that it would pull the drug. China has a vast pharmaceuticals and bulk chemical manufacturing sector, making compounds sold globally intended for legitimate purposes in medicine and industrial processes. Synthetic opioid vendors shield themselves behind layers of interlinked companies registered in these sectors or related fields such as biotechnology.

Other substances on sale included a sometimes deadly synthetic opioid also known as “pink,” and synthetic cannabinoids. Mass quantities of fentanyl, a low-cost and highly potent synthetic drug, are being produced in China and brought illegally to the United States, contributing to a growing U.S. opioid crisis. The rise of fentanyl in the United States can be traced back to China’s large chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which manufacture vast quantities of the drug and its analogues to export to the western hemisphere with little regulatory oversight. This report examines how China’s illicit chemical production and inefficient U.S. and international counternarcotic efforts have contributed to dramatic increases in fentanyl-related deaths in the United States.

You can’t get heroin by prescription, but many heroin users start off abusing prescription opioids, then turn to this illegal opioid. Codeine is one of the weakest opioids, often given when painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen fail to work. Because it decreases activity in the part of the brain that controls coughing, it’s frequently mixed with other liquids to develop cough syrups for colds and flu.

December 28, 2022

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