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White House Taking Steps With China To Stem Supply of Fentanyl And Its Analogs

By David Konow 09/08/16

Despite placing tighter restrictions on hundreds of synthetic drugs, China remains the primary source of fentanyl in the United States. 

White House Taking Steps With China To Stem Supply of Fentanyl And Its Analogs
Photo CNN/YouTube

If there’s been one drug that’s seemingly dominated the news lately, it has to be fentanyl. Fentanyl made major headlines this past June for taking the life of music legend Prince, and nationwide reports of fentanyl overdoses have become a regular occurrence.

In states that track fentanyl overdoses, the drug has contributed to about 10,000 deaths since 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported last week that the U.S. and China will be working to stop the influx of fentanyl into the U.S.

Fentanyl and its analogs (copies) have mostly been coming into the U.S. through China. Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that China has become the “primary source” of fentanyl in the United States, contributing to the increasing overdose rate that has plagued the country over recent years. 

Recently, the U.S. has been trying to get China to get tougher on the issue. Last October, China agreed to crack down on fentanyl and other synthetic substances like alpha-PVP (flakka), banning 115 chemicals in total.

Apparently, the crackdown hasn't been a total failure. Last week, the DEA reported that authorities have seen significantly less of six of the banned chemicals, including synthetic cannabinoids (known as K2 or Spice) and flakka.

Decreases of fentanyl have yet to be seen. A recent White House press release states that the U.S. is now hoping to work with China, which will target "U.S.-bound exports of substances controlled in the United States, but not in China.” The two countries also agreed to increase the “exchange of law enforcement and scientific information with a view towards coordinated actions to control substances and chemicals of concern.”

Ned Price, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said, “Many of the recent overdoses and deaths in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have been attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl or its analogues being mixed into heroin, further underscoring the importance of this issue for the United States.”

Price continued, “The president has made clear that addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is a priority for his administration and the federal government is increasing access to treatment for substance use disorders and expanded efforts to prevent overdoses,” including a budget request for $1.1 billion to go towards drug addiction treatment. 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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