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China’s crackdown: Choking carfentanil’s source

A glimmer of hope in America’s opioid-addiction crisis comes from China’s National Narcotics Control Commission: It’s declaring devastatingly deadly carfentanil a controlled substance as of March 1, according to The Associated Press.

An elephant sedative often used to “stretch” or strengthen heroin, carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, 5,000 times stronger than heroin and 10,000 times stronger than morphine. The overdose-reversal medication naloxone often requires multiple doses or doesn’t work against it, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Ohio, which warns against accidental inhalation or even skin absorption.

That’s why the coroner in Beaver County — site of Pennsylvania’s first two fatal carfentanil overdoses late last year — now requires masks and gloves for staffers dealing with suspected overdoses. And why the district attorney in Westmoreland County says area police chiefs discussed halting field testing of suspected drugs.

The AP says U.S. seizures of 116 other synthetic drugs “plunged” after similar Chinese action against them in October 2015. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration clearly hopes China’s new carfentanil crackdown will work just as well, calling it a potential “game-changer.”

So should all Americans, given that this truly is a matter of life and death.


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