China moves to crack down on all forms of fentanyl

April 1, 2019

China said Monday it will make all forms of fentanyl illegal as of May 1, following through on a pledge to President Trump.

Ministers from a trio of public agencies announced the move in a press conference in Beijing, according to press reports on both sides of the Pacific.

The news enthused American lawmakers who’d pressed for a sweeping ban on the synthetic opioid.

Fentanyl is far more potent than heroin and is often dispatched from clandestine labs in China to U.S. communities. It kills tens of thousands of Americans per year and is fueling the evolving opioid epidemic.

“This could be a powerful first step towards limiting fentanyl-related deaths here in the United States, but we must monitor closely how China implements and enforces these new restrictions,” said Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican and a leading congressional voice on opioid issues.

U.S. officials say most of the fentanyl that arrives in the U.S. originates in China and is sent through the mail or up through trafficking routes from Mexico.

Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China’s narcotics control commission, disputed the idea that most fentanyl originates in his country and said the U.S. is to blame for its opioids scourge, citing the number of people who got hooked on prescription painkillers, according to the BBC.

China had banned various forms of the opioid, though Mr. Trump and his trade negotiators pressed President Xi Jinping to schedule the full spectrum of fentanyl analogs, so manufacturers and trafficking would not slip through legal loopholes.