The United States and China on Saturday agreed to work together to combat the flow of fentanyl and other related drugs coming into America from China. Fentanyl is more potent than even heroin, and its influx has led to overdoses and deaths in parts of the country already ravaged by heroin and prescription painkillers.
The new agreement comes as President Obama makes a state visit to China this weekend.
The White House statement on the deal disclosed few specifics, but said China has agreed to crack down on exports of substances that are controlled in the US, but not China. The countries have also agreed to exchange more law enforcement and scientific information, with the potential for “coordinated actions” at a later date.
“These are important steps, but there is still much more work we can do to protect Americans from dangerous and increasingly lethal narcotics,” National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. He urged Congress to approve the $1.1 billion in funding to combat the opioid crisis that Obama has requested.
Much of the fentanyl flooding the United States can be traced back to China. It is often mixed with heroin to produce a more potent high, sometimes without the knowledge of those using it.
Fentanyl is believed to have been a factor in the West Virginia town that saw 26 overdoses in a matter of hours last month and in the overdose death this year of the legendary musician Prince.