China’s National Narcotics Control Commission this week announced that scheduling controls against four fentanyl-class substances — carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, valeryl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl — will begin on March 1, 2017. This announcement is the culmination of ongoing collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Government of China, and reaffirms the shared commitment to countering illicit fentanyl.
“Fentanyl-related compounds represent a significant and deadly component of the current opioid crisis. These actions will undoubtedly save American lives and I would like to thank my Chinese counterparts for their actions on this important issue,” said Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “This announcement demonstrates the continued commitment on the part of both our countries to address this threat wherever possible.”
Over the past several months, DEA and Chinese officials had been meeting regularly to discuss mutual interests and shared responsibilities in countering the threat from fentanyl class substances. Representatives from the China National Narcotics Laboratory, the Narcotics Control Bureau, and the Ministry of Public Security met with DEA officials to exchange information on emerging substances’ scientific data, trafficking trends, and sample exchanges. This dialogue resulted in improved methods for identifying and submitting deadly substances for government control.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate painkiller, and related compounds are often mixed with heroin to increase its potency, but dealers and buyers may not know exactly what they are selling or ingesting. These drugs are deadly at very low doses and come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spray. Overdoses in the U.S. due to these drugs have increased exponentially in recent years, and DEA has issued national warnings about the danger.