China set to regulate all fentanyl-related drugs

Liu Yuejin vice commissioner of the National Narcotics Control Commission speaks during a press conference in Beijing on Monday

Liu Yuejin vice commissioner of the National Narcotics Control Commission speaks during a press conference in Beijing on Monday

Designating all fentanyl analogues as controlled substances from May 1 aims to prevent smugglers from skirting the law by changing formulas to make drugs similar to the painkiller.

The Chinese government has, of course, denied that China is the source of the influx of fentanyl into the United States.

The decision will take effect on May 1.

But China may not be able to enforce the new rules, Pardo says. "[Authorities] already have problems enforcing existing laws".

The quarterly Alberta Opioid Response Surveillance Report released in February said 582 Albertans died of fentanyl-related overdoses between January 1 and November 11, 2018.

The United States and China have been negotiating for better drug control since the Obama era, she adds. "The U.S. accusation lacks evidence and is contrary to the facts", Liu told reporters.

Monday's announcement from China's ministry of public security, national health commission and national medical products administration makes good on a pledge Chinese President Xi Jinping made to U.S. President Donald Trump during the G20 summit in Argentina late a year ago.

Trump has called on China to apply the death penalty for "distributors and pushers" of the synthetic opioid.

Data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have shown that when China bans a variant of fentanyl, seizures of that analog in the U.S. fall. "They are all shipped to the criminals through evasive means, through worldwide packages", Liu said. "The amount is extremely limited and can not be the main source of the substance in the U.S". "If the United States truly wants to resolve its fentanyl abuse problem, it needs to strengthen its domestic work".

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According to a 2018 report by the U.S.

Such imports of prescription medicines and controlled substances are illegal, and China has become the main source of fentanyl in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice says.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that relieves extreme pain.

"This could be a game changer on what is considered to be the worst and most unsafe, addictive and deadly substance of them all".

A new study published last month by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a rise in drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl from 2011 to 2016 across the US.

China will also speed up the formulation of a series of normative documents for fentanyl-related criminal cases, as well as the construction of relevant monitoring system and research labs, to comprehensively improve the level of monitoring, early warning, on-site investigation, detection and identification, and hazard assessment of new-type drugs.

China's production of the drug has always been a source of tension between the two countries.

China does not have a monopoly on fentanyl production, she adds. "Even if tomorrow the United States wouldn't get fentanyl from China, others would step in".

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