“We have to act quickly and we have to act with teeth.”
When it comes to efforts to curb the opioid epidemic, time costs lives.
That includes synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which have made that fight so much harder.
The subject of a new bill in the nation’s capital and a stark reality in Michigan, where overdose deaths linked to this shot up by more than 1800 percent in recent years.
A proposed crackdown by the US targets the Chinese government with financial sanctions for failure to take action.
Official estimates say as much as 90 percent of the fentanyl in the world comes from China.
At a G-20 Summit last year, the country made guarantees it would step-up regulations on the drug.
The senators who have signed onto this bill, including Sen. Gary Peters say China simply hasn’t followed through and more needs to be done.
“When [first responders] come on the scene and they realize fentanyl may be involved, the basically have to put on hazmat gear.” Peters said. “That’s how poisonous this stuff is. In fact, one kilogram of fentanyl contains half a million lethal doses of this poison.”
32,000 overdose deaths in the US–all in a single year–are attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.