Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chinese Fentanyl Fueling U.S., Florida Overdose Crisis

Creative Commons

China is the source of deadly fentanyl that’s fueling an opioid overdose epidemic in South Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

That’s the finding of the new report released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States.

It finds Chinese chemical manufacturers are the main source of illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids being sold on U.S. streets. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin.

The drugs are purchased on clandestine internet trading sites. Chinese chemical exporters mislabel drug shipments to avoid detection by enforcement, the report says. In other cases, the chemicals is shipped to Mexico or Canada, before being trafficked across the U.S. border.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, whose office heads up the county’s heroin task force,  told a meeting of the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations the federal government needs to work with China to stop the flow of fentanyl — like they did with the drug Flakka in 2015.

“Flakka is not seen much anymore,” said Aronberg. “And you know why? The Chinese government stopped it. It was coming from China, and for whatever reason, they stopped it. They could do the same thing for fentanyl and carfentanil.”

More than 700 people died from opioid overdoses in South Florida in 2015.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.