China Bans Pink Drug U-47700, Other Drugs After Urging From U.S.
Last week, officials from China’s National Narcotics Control Commission announced that the country is set to ban the designer drug U-47700, also known as the “pink drug.”
Also, three others, MT-45, PMMA, and 4,4′-DMAR, will be added as controlled substances on July 1. This action is a direct result of pressure from U.S. to control opioids that are causing overdose deaths in the United States.
Until now, the designer pink drug U-47700 has been a legal alternative to fentanyl in China, and use has been increasing among those dependent on opioids in the U.S.
In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed U-47700 in the category of most dangerous drugs, stating that it has been linked to dozens of deaths, including New York and North Carolina. Last year, two 13-year-old boys died in Utah two 13-year-old boys died in Utah after obtaining the drug from a friend who ordered it online from China.
U-47700 is just one among several synthetic opioids that have been deemed responsible for thousands of deaths in the U.S. In 2015, the last full year available, there were nearly 9,600 overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids other than methadone.
Reports also indicated that pills containing the drug were discovered at the artist Prince’s estate after his death in April of last year, in addition to another synthetic opioid fentanyl, found to be the cause of his death.
In response to China’s announcement, Justin Schoeman of the DEA said:
“I can tell you that when China controls a substance…it has a huge impact on seizures and availability in the U.S., so thank you very much.”
“The controlling of substances in China certainly saves lives in the U.S.”
He also stated that the new drug bans indicate that China and the U.S. can now be involved in joint investigations regarding these substances, including package tracking from the drugs’ source to buyers in the U.S.
The DEA has repeatedly stated that China is the top source for designer opioids such as fentanyl and other potent drugs. China resisted cooperation but of late has been making some progress.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology