Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged today to designate fentanyl as a "controlled substance" in China and impose harsh penalties on those who trade with that substance, in order to quell the crisis of opioid addiction in the United States.
The White House made the announcement in a statement after Xi's dinner with US President Donald Trump at the end of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
"President Xi, in a wonderful humanitarian gesture, has agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, which means that people selling fentanyl to the United States will be subject to the maximum penalty under the law in China," the spokeswoman said. the White House, Sarah Sanders, in a statement.
Trump had asked Xi at that dinner to criminalize the sale and trafficking of fentanyl, a potent analgesic that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and linked to the growth of deaths from opiate overdoses in the US. , where it arrives mainly from China and Mexico.
"One issue that I will raise will be the fentanyl problem that we have in the United States, which is a tremendous problem," Trump said at the start of his work dinner with Xi in Buenos Aires, whose main theme was trade and the tariff war between both powers.
"I will ask the president to do something about it, I think he can do it, if he puts it (the fentanyl) in a restricted category, we can basically stop right there (the problem) Criminalizing him in China would be a very good thing," Trump added.
In U.S.A. Fentanyl is already a controlled substance, and can only be used legally in hospitals as an analgesic, normally used for the treatment of advanced cancer, but its potency has led criminal organizations to produce it clandestinely.
That substance enters the US country "mainly" from China and Mexico, according to the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Many of the Americans addicted to prescription opiates, such as OxyContin or Vicodin, then search for heroin or illegal painkillers on the streets and unknowingly buy fentanyl or products mixed with that potent substance, something the DEA attributes part of the rise in deaths by overdose
More than four million Americans – including 250,000 teenagers – are addicted to prescription painkillers, and overdose is the most common cause of violent death in the country, ahead of traffic accidents or guns, according to the DEA.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 64,000 people died in 2016 from overdoses of opiates (including heroin and fentanyl) in the United States, which means the death of 175 Americans a day and seven fatalities every hour.