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White House diverting blame for fentanyl problem: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-09-19 19:27

Photo taken on June 22, 2022 shows the White House and a stop sign in Washington, DC, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

More than 109,000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in the United States in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Joe Biden administration claims that the vast majority of illicit drugs causing the most damage in the US originate from beyond its borders. Most drug overdose deaths within the US involve illicit synthetic drugs, particularly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, that can be produced anywhere, including in the US, using precursor chemicals widely available for legitimate purposes.

It is disingenuous then for President Biden to include the People's Republic of China on its list of major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries in a memorandum issued to the US Secretary of State on Friday. Especially as he acknowledges that is a particularly difficult challenge for countries such as China with large chemical and pharmaceutical industries to prevent precursor chemicals from being diverted to the production of illicit drugs. Despite that, the memorandum still points an accusing finger at China as a cause of the US' drug problem, with Biden strongly urging China to tighten its chemical supply chains and prevent such diversion.

It has long been universally acknowledged that with its population accounting for less than 5 percent of the world's total, the US consumes 80 percent of the world's opioids. It is the US government's weak governance that should bear the main blame for the country's rampant opioid problem.

In a country where taking drugs is viewed as an expression of "liberty" and where even the law enforcers turn a blind eye to recreational drug use, the rampancy of opioids and other drugs in the US should surprise no one.

Unwilling to admit its own failings, the US has introduced the idea of "fentanyl precursors" to shift the blame to other countries.

Iron and steel are necessary to make guns, but the Biden administration cannot blame countries that produce the metals for the rampancy of gun ownership in the US that results in so many fatal mass shootings in the country. It's on the US soil that the seeds are sown that grow into the evil plant called "opioid overdose".

China included all fentanyl-related substances in the supplementary list of controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with nonmedical use in May 2019. And it has now put 38 types of precursor chemicals, including a category of ephedrine substances, under control, surpassing the 14 varieties regulated by the United Nations. The US hasn't taken any corresponding measures.

The US should stop throwing stones in its glass house, and put its house in order rather than blaming others for its own failings.

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