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Grassley Statement on China’s Announcement to Crack Down on Deadly Fentanyl

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Caucus on International Narcotics Control, made the following statement regarding China’s announced plans to tighten controls on the production and export of Fentanyl, which has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths in the ongoing opioid epidemic.
“Fentanyl-laced heroin has fueled the deadly opioid epidemic and has been linked to the majority of opioid overdose deaths in recent years. China is the world’s leading producer and exporter of this highly-potent drug and its chemical analogues. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Caucus on International Narcotics Control, I’ve worked to advance legislation to fight the opioid epidemic, including efforts to stem the flow of deadly drugs into the United States. I recently held a hearing to address this very issue. In October, we heard from government officials and experts from around the country who emphasized the need for China to legislate in this area. When China does so, the data shows that supply in the marketplace dramatically decreases. President Trump has also been a leader in combatting the epidemic. He and Chinese President Xi made real progress over the weekend to crack down on the illicit fentanyl and analogue market. This announcement is a welcomed development that could save an untold number of lives in the United States. I am pleased that we were able to draw attention to this issue through our hearing and other work.”
In 2017, 60 percent of U.S. opioid deaths involved fentanyl, which is an increase from 14 percent in 2010. Fentanyl is currently involved in more deaths than prescription opioids or heroin.
Grassley recently chaired a hearing on the flow of illegal fentanyl from China. He also introduced legislation to aide law enforcement in targeting manufacturers and traffickers of synthetic drugs by closing legal loopholes that allow the sale of substances substantially similar to restricted drugs. This legislation would help stop the flow of synthetic analogues, including fentanyl analogues, into our country. Earlier this year, the Senate passed sweeping legislation to help combat the opioid epidemic. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act included seven bills that Grassley led through the Judiciary Committee. Grassley also coauthored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which became law in 2016, to assist in the response to, treatment and rehabilitation of opioid addiction.