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


First, I would like to confirm with you the issue of overall control of fentanyl-related substances that you just mentioned. As neither of us are experts in the field, will the new regulation actually be able to block existing loopholes? Will the regulation cover all aspects no matter how illicit drug makers change the chemical compositions or structures? Or is this an open announcement that can be amended to adapt to different situations? I have another question. You must know that U.S. President Donald Trump is very concerned about the issue. In a Twitter post last December, he called for China to impose the death penalty on distributors and pushers of fentanyl-related substances as a means to solve the problem. As a Chinese law enforcer, what is your opinion on this? Finally, some Americans have been concerned that no matter what policies the Chinese central government introduces, local governments may not implement them or even totally ignore them due to corruption? How do you respond?Thank you.

Chen Shifei:

The purpose of drug control, in addition to preventing abuse, is to minimize the impact on legitimate medical needs and safeguard necessary clinical use. Therefore, in the process of argumentation for listing all fentanyl-related substances under control, we have mainly taken following measures: First, we have fully evaluated the varieties of all fentanyl-related substances and their potential legitimate use. Second, we have scientifically identified the scope of fentanyl-related substances, so as to avoid impact on legitimate medical use. Third, we have formulated regulations on exceptions. If any fentanyl-related substance under control is found to have legitimate application in the pharmaceutical, industrial, scientific or other sectors, we will make a dynamic adjustment between the non-medicinal and medicinal categories. Of course, with the gradual improvement of legislative techniques and administrative supervision methods, if we have better legislative methods or control measures in the future, we will make timely adjustments. Thank you.

Liu Yuejin:

The other question you've asked was about U.S. President Donald Trump's tweets regarding China's problems and speculations about the law enforcement process of fentanyl, including new psychoactive substances. Let me answer this question briefly. The Chinese government is resolutely committed to the fight against the drug-related crimes, and we have clear legal regulations on that. We have been highly concerned about new fentanyl drugs before they spread on a large scale. As many as 25 types of fentanyl-related substances and two other fentanyl precursor chemicals have been included onto our control list, exceeding the 21 categories under the UN rules. Moreover, regarding law enforcement, China has always acted strictly in accordance with the law to ensure the strict law enforcement. By scheduling the whole fentanyl-related substances, the Chinese government will crack down on all kinds of criminals in accordance with the law, showing no mercy. Thank you.

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