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U.S.-China Official Says Countries Continue Work To Limit Flow Of Fentanyl

Mary Meehan
Ohio Valley ReSource

Officials in the Ohio Valley say recent increases in overdose deaths are largely due to fentanyl, and experts believe most of the powerful synthetic opioid comes from Chinese manufacturers.

The Chinese government announced last month it would classify all chemical variations of fentanyl as controlled substances. This closes a loophole that allowed some manufacturers to export the synthetic opioid without it being monitored for safety and medical use.

U.S.-China Business Council President Craig Allen welcomed that move but also expressed his desire for China to get tougher on fentanyl manufacturers.

At the recent National Governors Association’s U.S.-China Governors Collaboration Summit in Lexington, Kentucky, Allen called exports of the opioid from China the “dark side of e-commerce” between the two nations.

“It takes a commitment like the commitment to ban production of fentanyl to really address the issue,” he said. “But I would like to publicly express my thanks to the Chinese government to taking that step. It’s important.”

Some analysts and federal officials are skeptical of China’s ability to enforce the new restrictions due to a lack of personnel and resources.

Members of Congress have introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, which would provide funding for government officials to publicly report on China’s enforcement progress, identify suspect foreign drug manufacturers, and allow the U.S. to go after financial assets of bad players.   

The issue hits home in the Ohio Valley, where fentanyl is driving some of the nation’s highest rates of overdose fatalities. A recent Washington Post investigation found Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia together had eight of the nation’s 10 counties with the highest annual rate of synthetic opioid deaths between 2013 and 2017.

Aaron Payne tackles the related issues of addiction recovery and economic recovery for the ReSource. He is a radio guy who first took to the airwaves at WMUL-FM, the campus voice for Marshall University, where he studied journalism. Aaron was the play-by-play voice of the West Virginia Miners baseball team (and he has the championship ring to prove it). At West Virginia Public Broadcasting he covered the state legislature and a chemical spill that left more than a quarter of a million people without potable water – including him. Aaron has also been a correspondent and director of news and programming for West Virginia MetroNews. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys listening to music, reading a good book, wandering in the outdoors and watching sports of all kinds.
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