Over the last couple of years China has felt a significant push from American lawmakers to rein in the chemists responsible for the compounds used in dangerous synthetic drugs. While synthetic drug use predominantly occurs in the U.S,, the chemicals used to make them are predominately produced in China. Imploring China to confront synthetic drug makers has not fallen on deaf ears. Chinese officials took steps to ban the production of over a hundred synthetic drugs, which had an immediate effect in America, CNN reports. There was a substantial drop in synthetic drug cases on this side of the Pacific.
“The change was just immediate in what we saw in America,” said Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spokeswoman Barbara Carreno.
In the hopes of seeing more such changes, Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg visited China last week to speak with officials about synthetic drug sales, according to the article. The visit wasn’t only about synthetic marijuana and bath salts, the synthetic opioid fentanyl was a topic of discussion as well. U.S. officials point out that Chinese manufacturers are making fentanyl and then selling it to Mexican cartels.
Fentanyl has long been a topic of concern when it comes to abuse; however, in recent years the drug has been mixed into batches of heroin by Mexican cartels in order to increase potency. The drug is also pressed into pills resembling the popular painkiller OxyContin. Users caught unaware of the presence of fentanyl are at serious risk of a fatal overdose, considering that the overdose reversal drug naloxone is less effective on the synthetic opioid. In the wake of the 2015 ban, the DEA saw dramatic reduction in synthetic drugs.
“The stuff just disappeared, and we’re hoping to see some more of that,” said Carreno “We’re encouraging them to control more substances that are illegal here even if they’re not illegal there.”
While synthetic drugs like Spice and bath salts can be acquired with relative ease in the U.S., they are far from safe. The side-effects are rarely consistent, some of which can be fatal. Inter-government cooperation can save lives, preventing heartache for countless families. You can watch a short video highlighting the dangers of synthetic drug use by clicking here.
If your loved one has been abusing synthetic drugs, please contact Hope by The Sea to help them begin the journey of addiction recovery.