Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions applauded the Chinese government for announcing that it would restrict two chemical precursors to fentanyl.
“Synthetic opioids are killing thousands of people in communities across this nation, and we know that many of these substances originated in China,” Attorney General Sessions said. “President Trump and I have repeatedly brought up this issue with the Chinese government, and we are working to restrict the flow of these drugs to our country. I am pleased to see China taking steps that will protect not just their own people from this poison, but the American people, too. I hope that China will continue to take steps like this and eventually schedule all fentanyl analogues, just as the DEA is doing.”
In 2017, China scheduled a number of fentanyl-class substances, including carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, valeryl fentanyl, acryl fentanyl, U-47700, MT-45, PMMA, and 4,4’ DMAR. Last week, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that, effective Feb. 1, NPP and 4ANPP, substances that can be used to make illicit fentanyl, would also be scheduled.
U.S. Department of Justice and Chinese officials maintain frequent contact to collaborate and share data on the threat from fentanyl-class substances. Information-sharing includes scientific data, trafficking trends, and sample exchanges. This dialogue has resulted in more effective methods for identifying deadly substances for government control.
Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein both requested China’s scheduling action in meetings with then-State Councilor Guo Shengkun of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein met with then-State Councilor Guo in Beijing, China on Sept. 25, 2017 and the Attorney General met with him in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 3 and 4, 2017.
In October, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein announced the first-ever indictment of Chinese nationals for attempting to distribute massive quantities of synthetic opioids in two different regions of the United States.
It is estimated that, in 2016, more than 20,000 Americans (link is external) were killed by overdoses of fentanyl or fentanyl analogues, making these the deadliest drugs in America. According to the U.S.-China Commission, a majority of the fentanyl products in the United States originated in China.