Chairman Alexander: China Can Become the Global Leader in Stopping Synthetic Opioids

Posted on November 14, 2018

Click or on the above photo to watch Alexander’s floor speech.

“China has already made 25 fentanyl compounds illegal, and, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, we saw an immediate and dramatic decrease in those chemicals coming to the United States. China cooperates with U.S. law enforcement agencies to combat the fentanyl crisis, but our cooperation faces challenges when a substance is not on China’s controlled substances list. So the request we made of Chinese officials was this: control all fentanyl substances as a class, just as the Trump Administration did for the United States in November, 2017.” 

WASHINGTON, November 14, 2018 — Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that China can become the global leader in stopping synthetic opioids.

Alexander led a delegation of seven senators and congressmen to China earlier this month, where he encouraged officials to help stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into the U.S.

“China has already made 25 fentanyl compounds illegal, and, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, we saw an immediate and dramatic decrease in those chemicals coming to the United States,” Alexander said in a speech on the Senate floor. “China cooperates with U.S. law enforcement agencies to combat the fentanyl crisis, but our cooperation faces challenges when a substance is not on China’s controlled substances list. So the request we made of Chinese officials was this: control all fentanyl substances as a class, just as the Trump Administration did for the United States in November, 2017.”

Alexander continued: “Scheduling fentanyl as a class and enhancing enforcement against illicit fentanyl producers are the keys to stemming the flow of fentanyl substances from China to the United States and other countries.  By adopting these measures, China would become a global leader on fentanyl control and avoid being seen as the source of the world’s most pressing drug problem.”

Alexander concluded: “At the recommendation of Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China, I made this a top priority for our conversations with government officials in China. The Chinese government officials were very generous and respectful of their time with our delegation. They listened carefully, and they agreed to continue to work with our government to address this public health crisis. Thanks to the leadership of Ambassador Branstad, our relationships with our counterparts in China, and the support of the international community I am optimistic that we can work together to make even greater strides to stop the production and flow of fentanyl into the United States, that China will stand proud in their efforts to take action against fentanyl.”

Earlier this year, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the most important health care legislation of this Congress, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called “landmark legislation.”

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act helps address the opioid crisis by:

  • stopping deadly fentanyl from coming from China to America by mail;
  • supporting research to find new non-addictive pain killers;
  • helping reduce the supply of opioids;
  • providing more opportunities for treatment and recovery; and
  • helping babies born in opioid withdrawal and mothers with opioid use disorder. 

During this year, Congress has appropriated $8.5 billion to help implement this legislation and support communities, families, law enforcement, and medical personnel who are fighting this crisis.

“We hope this new law will help create an environment so states and communities can better address the opioid crisis. But solving the opioid crisis is going to require more work, and China can help,” Alexander said of the new law.

Click here to watch Alexander’s full speech on the Senate floor.

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