China will add fentanyl-derived substances to an additional list of non-medical controlled narcotics and psychotropic substances starting May 1.
The decision comes after the US request to stem the flow of opioids produced in China.
The decision was announced on Monday in a joint statement by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Medical Products.
Fentanyl and its analogues will remain controlled according to the relevant regulations, the statement states.
It is believed that including all fentanyl-like substances on the checklist provides a solid legal basis for the repression of fentanyl-related crimes, said Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, at a press conference Monday.
He is also expected to effectively prevent large-scale fentanyl abuse, illicit production of fentanyl, trafficking, and smuggling of illegally manufactured products, he said.
“China holds a very clear and firm position on the fight against drug crimes,” Liu said, adding that China had previously included 25 fentanyl analogues and two precursors on its list of controlled substances.
In-depth investigations will be launched in chemical and biomedical industrial parks in key areas in search of possible illegal production of fentanyl-related substances, Liu said, adding that measures will also be taken to eliminate online information on drugs.
The competent authorities will invite the shippers to register the real names of the senders, to check the contents of the packages and to strengthen the security controls, and the customs in key areas.
China will promote cooperation and exchanges with other countries, working together to investigate smuggling cases and ending international drug mafias and their trafficking networks, he said.
“China will strengthen cooperation and coordination with other countries, including the United States, and will make joint efforts to address the global challenge posed by fentanyl-related substances.”
Non-medical use of fentanyl by individuals without opiate tolerance can be very dangerous and has resulted in numerous deaths.