SCIO briefing on fentanyl-related substances control

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Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China's National Narcotics Control Commission and counter-terrorism commissioner of the Ministry of Public Security;

Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission;

Chen Shifei, deputy head of the National Medical Products Administration;

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office of China

April 1, 2019

Phoenix Satellite TV:

The United States has accused China of being the main source of fentanyl-related substances. What do you think of this accusation? In addition, this time China will add all fentanyl-related substances into the control list. Do you think this move will be helpful to address the U.S. concern? Thank you.

Liu Yuejin:

The control of fentanyl-related drugs in China is very strict. Fentanyl-related drugs produced by legal manufacturers have never been abused, nor can they flow into the United States. China's law enforcement authorities have investigated and cracked down on several illegal cases of processing and trafficking fentanyl-related substances to the United States. All these cases were committed by both domestic and foreign criminals in collusion with each other. The drugs were transported to the United States in disguise or hidden in international parcels, but the number was extremely limited. It cannot be the main source to the United States. So, the U.S. accusation lacks evidence and goes against the facts.

The Chinese government has always adhered to the principle of strict drug control, earnestly fulfilling its international drug control obligations and actively participating in tackling the global narcotic drug abuse problem with the attitude of a responsible major country. The manufacturing, trafficking and abusing of fentanyl-related substances is an international problem, which is unlikely to be solved by relying solely on the efforts of a single country. It requires the joint efforts of all countries. The Chinese government is willing to work with the international community, including the United States, to study ways of responding to this global problem and controlling the use of psychoactive substances such as fentanyl.

We believe that the abuse of fentanyl-related substances in the United States is due to its own internal issues. The first is due to traditional causes. There is a widespread tradition of abuse of prescription painkillers in the United States, and Americans, who make up 5 percent of the world's population, consume 80 percent of the world's opioids. The second cause is the profit motive of drug companies. In order to maintain considerable profits, large-scale pharmaceutical companies have the tendency to fund experts to do research and conclude that opioids are harmless. Pharmacies are eager to sell them and doctors prescribe excess drugs, all of which form a complete profit chain of overlapping interests. Thirdly, supervision is weak and prescription drugs are not well regulated. Abusers can travel to another state to get more prescription drugs, and doctors can repeatedly prescribe the same drugs without supervision. This is a glaring loophole in the medical system. The fourth cause is cultural in nature. There is not enough publicity about the dangers of drugs. Some people have even linked drug use to "freedom," "personality" and "liberation" and more than half of the states in the U.S. have "legalized marijuana." These factors combine to create a large-scale abuse of fentanyl-related substances in the United States.

I believe that if the United States really wants to solve its fentanyl-related substance abuse problem, it needs to strengthen its work domestically. It should find the causes of the large-scale abuse of fentanyl-related substances, identify the abusing groups as well as the source of fentanyl-related substances and the channels used to smuggle and traffic the drugs. It must identify the crux of the problem and find the right solution. They must also strengthen drug prevention education, starting with reducing the demand and curbing the spread of fentanyl-related substance abuse. While intensifying domestic efforts to crack down on drug-related crimes, they should also carry out international cooperation and strengthen intelligence exchange, evidence sharing and joint investigations, instead of blaming other countries. Thank you.

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