Tuesday, January 10, 2017

China refutes claims it’s a major source of fentanyl

State-run Chinese media have expressed skepticism that the country is a key source of fentanyl. “It is unsubstantiated to assert that China is the top source of the synthetic opioids that have killed thousands of drug users in the U.S. and Canada,” said an article in a Beijing newspaper published by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

A Globe and Mail investigation last year revealed how fentanyl is manufactured in China and how easily it is shipped to Canada. The newspaper, citing China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, said such assertions “lack the support of sufficient numbers of actual, confirmed cases.”
Fentanyl can be ordered online from Chinese manufacturers, and its high potency allows it to be smuggled in small packages through regular mail. The drug is either cut into, or made to look like, other drugs including cocaine, heroin and oxycodone and sold for massive profits.

China needs to effectively crack down on the export of illicit drugs. “It’s difficult,” wrote Fangyu Zhu. “If we set regulations on one substance, they [chemists] can always find a substitution or synthesize slightly different, then it’s a new, legal substance that can be exported.”