China expands its list of controlled substances used to make narcotics
The United States should take measures to reduce its demand for drugs and intensify its law enforcement, rather than simply claim that China is the major source of the chemicals, a senior Chinese drug control official said on Thursday.
"The biggest difficulty China faces in opioid control is that such drugs are in enormous demand in the U.S.," Yu Haibin, a narcotics control official with the Ministry of Public Security, said at a news conference in Beijing.
Yu urged other countries, including the U.S., to improve cooperation with China in drug control, including sharing more data and police intelligence with Chinese authorities.
During the same news conference, the China National Narcotics Control Commission announced five substances have been included in a list of controlled substances that can be used to produce narcotics.
Of the five substances, two of them can be used to produce fentanyl, a drug that can relieve pain but has also become a popular narcotic in recent years in China and abroad, according to the commission.
The other three are major chemicals used to produce methamphetamine, Deng Ming, deputy head of the commission, said at the news conference.
The regulation, formulated by ministries including the China Food and Drug Administration and Ministry of Public Security, and approved by the State Council, will take effect on Feb 1.
"Adding the five substances to the list means their production, use, transport, import and export will be under strict administrative management, and violators will face administrative or criminal penalties," Yu said.
The State Council adopted a regulation on the management of chemicals used for producing narcotics in 2005.
The list has expanded to include 138 psychoactive substances that can be used to produce drugs such as fentanyl and cathinone, which have been gaining popularity across the world due to the lack of unified international supervision and the ease of producing them in labs, the commission said.
China still faces severe challenges in narcotics control, with increasing popularity of synthetic and psychoactive drugs.
More than 115,000 people received criminal sentences last year in China for narcotics-related violations, compared with about 81,000 in 2012, according to the Supreme People's Court.