Amid calls for the President Donald Trump to declare the opioid crisis a “national emergency”, two Chinese nationals were indicted on various charges of producing large amounts of fentanyl along with other powerful opioids and then distributing them in the United States. At least four people have been linked to fentanyl drug overdoses from the drugs sold by the Chinese nationals, according to Justice Department officials.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is one of the most powerful synthetic opioids on the market. It is similar to the drug morphine expect it is roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful. The risk of fentanyl drug overdoses and the resulting opioid deaths is high due to its potency. In fact, the majority of opioid deaths are linked to fentanyl drug overdoses and its analogues. As such, fentanyl deaths continue to be closely monitored. According the CDC, from 2015 to 2016, there was an increase of 22 percent in the number of opioid related overdoses – from 52,404 to over 64,000. This includes fentanyl deaths.
What is going to Happen to the Drug-Peddling Chinese Nationals?
Authorities have described the men’s drug operation as one of the more prolific drug-trafficking operations there is. Unfortunately, there is no extradition treaty with China, which means that it is unlikely that the men will be sent to America the face the charges against them.
Among the charges they are faced with is the running of chemical labs that produced large quantities of opioids. They sold these to American residents over the internet, many of which were unaware of the potency of the drugs, opening them up to fentanyl drug overdose.
Along with the two men, Xiaobang Yan and Jian Zhang, 21 other people involved with the drug-trafficking were also indicted on similar charges for bringing the illegal drugs into Canada and the U.S. through the mail service.
The news of the two Chinese nationals comes on the back of reports by the July commission into the opioid crisis that stated that there are around 142 deaths that occur every day as a result of opioid overdose. This amounts to the total deaths suffered on September 11th every three weeks that the opioid crisis carries on for, showing the scope of the problem.
The DEA’s acting administrator, Robert W. Patterson, told reporters that the situation with these men represents one of the biggest drug problems that the country faces because the men were able to produce massive quantities of illegal opioids and distribute them without being caught for some time. This is because they were able to hide their internet sales through currencies that are untraceable, such as bitcoin.
The men, who both had similar operations, would closely watch the changes in American drug enforcement policies, allowing them to adjust their drug’s chemical structures to avoid prosecution.
The authorities were made aware of the drug-trafficking organization run by Zhang after following up on a fatal overdose case in North Dakota. Yan’s drug trafficking was exposed after a traffic stop in Mississippi in 2013.
As the opioid crisis continues to claim lives in the United States, efforts from several government agencies to stem to spread of the epidemic carry on with no real end in sight. People who are abusing or addicted to opioids are advised to seek help immediately at rehab centers across the country. Do not hesitate to find the help you or a loved one may need for addiction today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.