By Viktoria Ristanovic
Nation & World Editor
On April 1, China declared all varieties of fentanyl as controlled substances and would officially ban the opioid from the country starting on May 1, according to The New York Times.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to President Donald Trump that he will ban all varieties of the opioid in order to help stem the flow of lethal opioids, which recently been the cause of thousands of deaths in the U.S., The New York Times reported.
“‘We firmly believe that listing the entire class of fentanyl substances will completely block the loopholes that enable lawbreakers to evade punishment by simply modifying one or several atoms, functional groups or other groups,’” said Liu Yuejin, vice-commissioner of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, according to CBS News.
“‘It will effectively prevent the massive abuse of fentanyl substances and illegal drug trafficking and smuggling activities, and contribute to global drug control with China’s wisdom and power.’”
US News reported that the U.S. has accused China of being the main source of the fentanyl influx that has added to the U.S. opioid epidemic. The vice commissioner vehemently disagreed.
“‘China’s control over fentanyl drugs is very strict,’” Liu said. “‘It cannot be the main source for the United States. The U.S. accusation lacks evidence and is contrary to the facts.’”
Illegally made fentanyl is smuggled into the U.S. predominantly from China via Mexico, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reported, according to The New York Times.
However, it has found that it has been delivered directly to the U.S. from China as well. It was primarily used to be mixed with heroin, but it “is increasingly showing up in counterfeit prescription pills and other drugs.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are the most common cause of death by overdose, US News reported. Opioid-related deaths involving fentanyl in the U.S. went from 14.3 percent in 2010 to almost 60 percent in 2017.
CBS News reported that Trump said China’s new laws could be “‘a game changer’” for the U.S.