U.S. President Donald Trump said his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping has agreed to assist the United States in combating the influx of the synthetic opioid fentanyl from China, the primary source of the drug.
Fentanyl is fueling a deadly and unprecedented opioid crisis in the United States that Trump has officially declared a public health emergency. Medical experts blame fentanyl use for killing Americans by the tens of thousands each year.
“Every year, drug trafficking destroys millions and millions of lives,” said Trump during a joint press conference with the Chinese president in Beijing on Thursday. “Today, President Xi and I discussed ways we can enhance coordination to better counter the deadly drug trade and to stop the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities.”
“A special emphasis will be placed on the new phenomenon: fentanyl, destroying lives by the millions,” he continued. “We’re going to be focusing on it very strongly, the president and myself.”
Speaking to reporters after Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed that Chinese President Xi agreed to take new steps against the opioid crisis.
“On the critical issue of opioids, we’ve made some good progress on actions to curb the flow the harmful narcotics into the United States in order to save American lives,” he said in Beijing.
Referring to Xi, he continued, “The president committed to take new actions, including agreements to control the export of new fentanyl precursors, sharing intelligence on drug trafficking, and exchanging trafficking information packages to identify individuals and criminal networks responsible for trafficking.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the potent synthetic opioid accelerated the unprecedented 64,070 drug overdose deaths in the United States last year by 21,145 fatalities.
Using U.S. State Department data, Breitbart News determined that the 2016 drug overdose deaths more than doubled the terrorism-linked fatalities across the world.
Beijing has disputed the U.S. government’s claim that most of the fentanyl fueling the historic number of overdose deaths in America originates in China.
However, the U.S-China and Economic and Security Review Commission learned from American law enforcement and drug investigators that “China is the primary source of fentanyl in the United States.”
“China is a global source of fentanyl and other illicit substances because the country’s vast chemical and pharmaceutical industries are weakly regulated and poorly monitored,” it noted in a report titled “Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States.”
The commission found that the deadly opioid is not only shipped through the U.S. borders along Mexico and to a lesser extent Canada, but it is also sent directly to the United States.
In May, Robert Perez, the acting executive assistant commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations support, told lawmakers that the agency’s fentanyl seizures skyrocketed by more than 200-fold from 2 pounds in 2013 to 440 pounds last year.
He acknowledged that interdicting fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, primarily smuggled through official ports of entries (POEs) and the international mail system, presents a “daunting task” for the federal government.
“Fentanyl is the most frequently seized illicit synthetic opioid, but CBP has also encountered various types of fentanyl analogs,” revealed Perez.
The low cost of the incredibly potent drug makes it accessible and desirable for addicts.
“Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, is a Schedule II drug—meaning it is legally available only through a nonrefillable prescription,” noted the U.S-China commission.
“The combination of the drug’s potency and affordability has made fentanyl an increasingly common drug in the United States, often mixed with heroin or cocaine — either intentionally or without the user’s knowledge — to increase its euphoric effects,” it added.
Although China shares a border with the world’s top heroin producer, Afghanistan, U.S. officials believe there is no evidence that Afghan drug traffickers are mixing the drug with fentanyl.
China has claimed to join the United States in fighting the production of fentanyl, but the efforts have proved to be inadequate, pointed out the commission.
“The U.S. and Chinese governments have taken steps to increase counternarcotics cooperation and strengthen regulations governing chemical flows,” it reported. “However, these efforts have not adequately adapted to drug exporters’ increasingly sophisticated production and distribution methods.”
“Chinese law enforcement officials have struggled to adequately regulate the thousands of chemical and pharmaceutical facilities operating legally and illegally in the country, leading to increased production and export of illicit chemicals and drugs,” it added.