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CGTN: The Fight Against Fentanyl– The Facts Lay Bare the False U.S. Accusations

Beijing, China / TimesNewswire /  June 11, 2023 – On June 7,R. Nicholas Burns, American ambassador to China pointed a finger at China for not stopping fentanyl production at a forum, and stressed that the U.S will continue to pressure on the Chinese government to stop the flow of drugs into the United States. In response, Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at a regular foreign ministry briefing on June 8, that the root cause of the fentanyl crisis in the U.S lies in itself, and lessening its demand and domestic supply is the solution. On the same day, CGTN released the feature programme of The Fight Against Fentanyl”.

The feature programme “The Fight Against Fentanyl”, which premiered on CGTN television and various social media platforms on June 8, examines the issue of fentanyl abuse in the U.S. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is the No.1 cause of overdose deaths in the U.S., and the programme investigates the root cause of the crisis and asks who is to blame for the drug’s proliferation.

The United States, despite being home to just 5% of the world’s population, accounts for 80% of global opioid use. And opioids are deadly – killing as many Americans as car accidents and gun violence do.

The huge demand for fentanyl, and its devastating impact, represent a crisis that has been brewing for a considerable time. A major cause is the over-prescription of medical opioids, fueled by the greed of the pharmaceutical companies. They are guilty of underplaying the risk of addiction to opioid painkillers, while exaggerating their benefits. As Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an expert on the opioid crisis in the United States, points out, “It was marketing and advertising disguised as education and advocacy, and behind all of these, was a desire for profits by pharmaceutical companies.”

Yet the U.S. authorities, instead of looking for the cause of the crisis closer to home, have chosen to point the finger of blame at China, accusing it of being a main source of opioids. Yet, while fentanyl is widely abused in the U.S., it’s tightly controlled in China, from production to distribution. As Yu Haibin, Deputy Secretary-General of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, says, “I’ve asked my U.S. counterpart – what’s the production volume of underground fentanyl manufacturers in the U.S.? What’s America’s annual consumption of fentanyl? How much fentanyl is coming from China? They couldn’t give me an answer. Without any ground, based on individual cases of postal packages from China with fentanyl detected in them, they claim that fentanyl substances mainly come from China. These statements are groundless and are misleading the public.”

Since 2015, the Chinese government has been increasing the number of banned fentanyl substances. This is aimed at tackling the problem of criminals tweaking the chemical composition of the drug to create new variants that are not yet on the authorities’ radar. Six new fentanyl substances were added in 2015 and four in 2017, as well as two fentanyl precursors in 2018.

Also in 2018, the United States temporarily classified fentanyl analogs as controlled substances. But in 2019, China took a proactive step, and regulated all fentanyl-related substances.

The war against drugs is a tough fight, to which the whole society, from politicians to the person in the street, has to be committed. In Guangzhou, one of the busiest business centers in China, one strategy employed by the local police to break up the illegal drugs trade, is to encourage couriers to report suspect packages.

China’s approach has gained support in some significant quarters in the U.S. Mike Vigil, the former Chief of International Operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, points out, “One of the things that I’ve learned in my 31-year career is that finger pointing does not solve any issue. I have to applaud the Chinese government for everything that they’re doing against this opioid epidemic. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done between the United States and China.”

Across the globe, many countries are facing a major drugs problem. Experience has shown that the best solutions are found when the world comes together to tackle the issue.


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