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Fentanyl is often refered to as "manufactured death" by law enforcement in the U.S. It is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and is responsible for an increasing amount of deaths annually. Most of these overdoses occure when it is used in combination with other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol which increase the chance of overdose. The opiode crisis as a whole is now responsible for close to fifty thousand Americans annually. Fentanyl itself is the leading killer with close to thirty thousand deaths annually. Some states like Ohio have seen fentanyl death rates recently double on an annual basis It has been prescribed for over half a century but availabiltiy has spikeed in recent years.
This drug is too concentrated to be distributed to the general population. "Fentanyl is potentially lethal, even at very low levels. Ingestion of doses as small as 0.25mg can be fatal," states the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Kirsten Madison says that more than 40% of the 72.000 drug overdoses in the US are related to synthetic opioids like Fentanyl
All Fentanyl trails seem to lead in the direction of Chinese origin. Two big factors are the scale of their national pharmachudical industry and the lack of facility/product regulation. President Trump last year made an effort to get China to crack down on opiode production at the annual G20 summit. Chinese president Xi agreed to take further steps of regulation and Fentanyl is now on China's list of regulated substances. US officials are positive that China is the main source for fentanyl and similar drugs. In October 2017, the US of authorities announced the first ever indictments against two Chinese individuals for conspiracy "to distribute large quantities" of fentanyl as well as other opioids.
Experts approve of the new agreement between the United States and China that aims to control fentanyl smuggling into the U.S. black market. At the same time they warned against expecting a quick impact on the drug’s skyrocketing death toll. The drug has been heavily distributed throughout the west and is currently in massive supply for dealers. But news of China agreeing to make fentanyl dealers subject to 'China's maximum penalty under the law' as stated by President Trump is a step in the right. Tine will tell how effective the new policies will be as they were just agreed upon in december. This is just the route of the supply. Many measures need to be taken to lower availability and usage rates of this highly addictive substance.
This trans-Pacific trade has familiar elements of the Opium Wars of the 1800s where British saturation of Chinese markets with opium lead to the creation of tens of millions of Chinese nationals, mainly in coastal cities. As early as the late 1700s the British East India Company started smuggling Indian opium into china for trade of staples such as tea. This lead to China's biggest drug epidemic in history and greatly reduced the power of the Qing Dynasty, removing China from its distinction as the worlds biggest economy