Public Enemy No.1, Drug Overdoses, Fentanyl
"[China has added to its list of controlled substances including some variants of fentanyl] but the drugs that made it to Canada [fentanyl and carfentanil], are not controlled in China."
"Fentanyl abuse has not been identified in China. The Chinese government's focus is on other synthetic drugs of abuse like methamphetamine and ketamine."
"British Columbia is the] main distribution point' for fentanyl tablets]. This may be due to its geographical situation in relation to the main producer of fentanyl in the world, China."
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Todd Shean
"They're [Chinese authorities] still aware of the problem internationally."
"China [has a] desire to move forward and step away from being always the one that everybody's pointing the finger at."
Sgt. Luc Chicoine, national drug program co-ordinator, RCMP
Because fentanyl and the even deadlier carfentanil, also now entering the Canadian blackmarket are not on the controlled drug list that China maintains, and the reason they are not on the list is that these two laboratory-produced opioid-like drugs are not circulating within China because they are not popular in China, drug marketers have no trouble accessing them on line and ordering them, often on the "black Web". While fentanyl is more deadly to users than cocaine, carfentanil, used to tranquilize huge beasts like elephants is hundreds of times more powerful, and now circulating on the street, cut into other, less powerful drugs.
No fewer than a dozen online vendors out of China are more than happy to take orders, and prepared to export carfentanil abroad. For drug dealers it's a steal, to pay as little as $2,700 a kilogram. A little bit of carfentanil goes a long, long way, and there's a huge profit waiting to be made for dealers whose scruples don't keep them awake at night, or from mixing the deadly drug with other street drugs that are more costly to extract a larger profit.
"Despite periodic crackdowns, people willing to skirt the law are easy to find in China's vast, free-wheeling chemicals industry", wrote an investigative report by Associated Press, while noting that China controls 18 fentanyl-related compounds, but not fentanyl itself. A thriving and large industry involved in chemically producing illicit drugs not far from the port city of Shanghai exists. Canadian dealers are eager to take advantage of opportunities to make a killing.
That killing relates to 332 overdose deaths from January to September in British Columbia alone, representing a 196 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the coroner's service. The dreaded carfentanil, reputed to be 200 times more powerful than fentanyl has arrived on the streets of Vancouver. And it will be turning up mixed in with cocaine and heroin, just as fentanyl has done. The death toll will continue to rise as shipments arrive in Canada.
Printer ink, toys and DVDs are some of the ingenious objects used to contain and convey these illicit drugs. In response, the RCMP has distributed over 13,00 naloxone spray kits, opioid antidotes which if used sufficiently swiftly when an overdose occurs, can serve to reverse it, although first-responders are increasingly discovering that increasingly, with some overdose instances, avoiding death has demanded the use of two kits, to be effective.
Among authorities in Canada, the hope now is that China will want to cooperate with international partners suffering from the scourge of the imported chemicals from China that are killing so many users. But while 115 items have been added to China's list of controlled substances including some variants of fentanyl, it and carfentanil have not been added to that list. And it is those two chemicals in particular that are wreaking havoc in Canada and the United States.
Pointing to the reality that there exists a "disparity between what Canada and China consider a public health crisis". he RCMP maintains two la=iaison officers based in China. The matter is sufficiently critical that RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson met with his Chinese counterpart, Chen Zhimin, vice0minister for public security, agreeing to work together with the intention of disrupting the symthetic opioids after signing a memoranum of understanding.