Healthcare

China says it’s not to blame for opioid crisis

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A Chinese drug enforcement official on Thursday said the United States’s drug policies are more to blame for the American opioid crisis than the influx of Chinese-manufactured drugs.

Yu Haibin, a leader of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, said there’s little proof that China is the source of chemicals used in fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids killed more than 20,000 Americans in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Instead, he suggested poor drug education, the over-prescription of pain killers and the legalization of marijuana in some states hurt enforcement efforts, The Associated Press reported.

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“As many states decriminalize marijuana, the public’s attitudes and trends of thinking toward drugs will also have a bad effect,” he said.

Preliminary studies have indicated that states with legal marijuana may in fact be seeing reduced numbers of deaths from opioids.

Yu urged U.S. authorities to collaborate with their Chinese counterparts to share information moving forward, according to the AP.

President Trump in October declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, which expands access for those seeking treatment and shifts funding from other programs to fund treatment efforts.

Some were critical that Trump didn’t declare the epidemic a national emergency, which would have freed up more funding. 

The Department of Justice also announced two indictments in October of Chinese nationals who allegedly trafficked fentanyl. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at the time Chinese officials needed to do more to help the U.S. crack down on fentanyl labs.

Tags China China Donald Trump Fentanyl Opioid epidemic Rod Rosenstein

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