The Chinese government will add fentanyl-related substances to its list of controlled drugs on 1 May 2019. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug, 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl was used in one in four overdose deaths in the United States in 2018, killing more than 18,000 people in one year.
More than 130 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids, including fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. U.S. President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency in 2017.
The Chinese Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission, and the National Medical Products Administration announced the decision in a press conference Monday; the new regulation will prevent Chinese drug labs from tweaking chemical structures of their products to evade fentanyl restrictions, CNN reports. China banned the manufacture and sale of 25 types of fentanyl previously, but the new regulation would control all variations of the drug.
Read more about the opioid epidemic and investigating drug diversion in Security Management's 2017 article "The Dirty Secret of Drug Diversion."