5 reasons why officials point to China in the the deadly fentanyl pipeline

U.S. law enforcement and drug investigators have singled out China as a main exporter of illegal fentanyl now flooding American streets.

» READ THE FULL REPORT: China shipments help to fuel local drug trade 

Some of it comes straight to the Miami Valley through the mail

Nearly a million packages a day enter the U.S. Postal Service system from other countries, and more than 90 percent of them come without advanced electronic data — the shipper’s name and address, a description of the contents and a package’s weight — that law enforcement says could help stem the flow of drugs from overseas labs.

» Portman to re-introduce bill aimed at U.S. mail shipment of drugs

» RELATED: No ground zero in opioid fight

Here are five reasons why authorities point to China as a main contributor to the opioid crisis: 

Chemical industry vast, lightly regulated: China’s large chemical and pharmaceutical industries manufacture vast quantities of the synthetic opioid and its analogues for export with little regulatory oversight. 

» RELATED: More potent drugs raise stakes in Ohio’s fight against opioids 

Fentanyl little-used in China: Chinese authorities place little emphasis on controlling fentanyl production or export because the synthetic opioid is not widely used in China. 

Drug hard to trace: The fentanyl is sometimes difficult to trace because it arrives through a range of products that include fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription drugs like oxycodone.

Exporters game the system: Chinese chemical exporters get around U.S. laws by exploiting unregulated online ordering systems, mislabel shipments, and modify banned substances to create yet-illegal substances. 

» RELATED: Coroner investigates 145 suspected overdose deaths in month 

U.S. slow to schedule new substances: U.S. regulations prevent U.S. agencies from quickly adding new drugs or ingredients to the list of banned and controlled substances. 

By the numbers 

160,000: Number of chemical companies operating legally and illegally throughout China. 

368: Number of pounds of illicit fentanyl seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in 2015.

» RELATED: Dayton tops list of drugged-out cities 

116: Number of synthetic chemicals, including six fentanyl products, China added to its list of controlled substances in 2015. 

191: Number of foreign postal services not required to supply U.S. authorities with advance screening information on packages. 

9,580: Number of U.S. deaths in 2015 from fentanyl and other illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids. 

Sources: U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission report, Feb. 1, 2017; Americans for Securing All Packages; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

» READ THE FULL REPORT: China shipments help to fuel local drug trade

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