China’s deadliest export to America: fentanyl

Whether Trump’s meeting with Xi results in meaningful progress remains an open question: Our view

USA Today
Date: Dec. 9, 2018
By: The Editorial Board, USA TODAY

Customs officers open packages suspected of containing fentanyl or other illegal narcotics at the JFK airport.(Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News via USA TODAY Network)

Forget tariffs. Forget all the computers, toys and textiles that the Chinese export to America. China’s most consequential export here is fentanyl, the illicit drug killing people in this country at the rate of nearly 80 a day.

Fentanyl use in the USA has surged, pushing its death toll last year to 28,466  — nine times higher than in 2013 and a rise so steep that it has helped drive down the nation’s life expectancy.

And where is this illicit fentanyl originating? About 80 percent of the pure fentanylseized by U.S. authorities last fiscal year arrived from China, often through the mail.

Since the recent summit in Argentina of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations, President Donald Trump has boasted on Twitter that Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to “criminalize the sale of deadly fentanyl” coming into the United States, a potential “game changer” in the battle against this mass killer.

OTHER VIEWS: Avoid blaming each other on fentanyl

Trump didn’t get it quite right. Fentanyl already is an illegal “controlled substance” in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said last week that it would add “all fentanyl-like substances” to its controlled substance list — a change that could be quite far-reaching. At the same time, China cautioned patience: “The relevant work is yet to be started.”

Fentanyl is a particularly insidious killer. It’s far more potent than heroin and more profitable for dealers because a kilo can be cut into so many more doses. It is often laced into heroin or pressed into fake pain pills by sellers who care nothing about accuracy, so users don’t know what they’re getting. Tiny variations in dosages can be fatal.     [FULL  STORY]