China fentanyl, related substances to their list of controlled drugs .
The Chinese government will add fentanyl-related substances to their list of controlled drugs from May 1, in a move aimed at curtailing the manufacturing and distribution of one of the world’s most powerful opioids.
The new laws are likely to be interpreted as win for US President Donald Trump, who has taken a strong stance against fentanyl and was full of praise for China in December 2018 when President Xi Jinping first agreed to the move.
“This could be a game changer on what is considered to be the worst and most dangerous, addictive and deadly substance of them all,” Trump posted on Twitter at the time.
An extremely powerful synthetic drug, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl was used in one in four overdose deaths in the US in 2018, killing just over 18,000 people in one year and overtaking heroin and oxycodone as the country’s most deadly drug.
On Monday, China’s Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission and the National Medical Products Administration came together to make the announcement at a press conference in Beijing.
Liu Yuejin, deputy head of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, called the move a “major innovative measure” in the country’s contribution to the global war on drugs.
The top anti-narcotics official said the new regulation would prevent drug labs from evading the law by simply tweaking chemical structures of their products.
Liu stressed that China would enforce its laws “even more comprehensively” after the latest announcement and “bring violators to justice without mercy.”
But John Pomfret, author of “The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, from 1776 to the Present,” said although it was positive news, it remained to be seen just how seriously the laws would be enforced.
“China needs to crack down on the production of Fentanyl precursors, too, and there’s been no movement on that front yet. Still, this is an important step in the right direction,” he said.