One American dies from a drug overdose every five minutes. And the No. 1 cause of these overdose deaths is synthetic opioids – principally fentanyl. What is fentanyl? How does it kill? And who is to blame for its proliferation?
In this program, we talk exclusively to Mike Virgil, the former chief of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Dr. Andrew Kolodny, one of the U.S.'s leading experts on opioid abuse. They point out that the fentanyl crisis in the United States is demand-driven, by both the users themselves and the drug companies. Yet the U.S. authorities, instead of looking for the cause of the crisis closer to home, have chosen to point the finger of blame at China, accusing it of being a source of opioids.
In China, by contrast, the government has consistently adhered to a rigid drug control policy, enforcing strict regulations over the production and circulation of fentanyl substances. In combating drug crime, China has cooperated closely with the United States. Evidence of this is the "Wang Fengxi case," in which China took the lead by arresting and sentencing a criminal gang responsible for trafficking fentanyl, which was followed by further arrests in the U.S.
Across the globe, many countries are facing a major drug problem. Experience has shown that the best solutions are found when the world comes together to tackle the issue.