U.S. Working With China To Ban Designer Drugs
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, China’s willingness to ban chemical compounds has resulted in a sizable reduction in the availability of many synthetic, designer drugs.
Moreover, law enforcement has seen less interaction with at least six substances included in a Chinese ban of 115 chemicals that took place in October, 2015. So nearly one year out, the difference has not gone without notice.
For example, so-called “synthetic cannabinoids”, aka K2 and Spice, as well as the bath salts-related flakka drug have increasingly disappeared in dramatic fashion.
Ozzy Tianga, Broward County (FL) Sheriff’s Lt.:
“We’ve definitely seen a significant decrease, especially of flakka.”
“Overall, significantly dropped since the ban — at the epicenter here in South Florida. But by no way are we out of the woods. There will be more molecular changes to substances that will be introduced to society.”
That is, Tianga noted that he expected new drugs would continue to take the place of those already prohibited. Just this past summer, Florida legislature passed a ban on a number of substances which have no indicated use for humans except for recreational highs.
Moving forward, DEA officials state they are optimistic about future meetings with their Chinese brethren. This past month, over a dozen DEA officials spend a week in Beijing, as well as two additional Chinese provinces. They met to converse about additional collaboration, with intent to battle Chinese chemists in clandestine labs manufacturing and trafficking illicit designer drugs in the United States.
The problem that China is facing is not new, and is similar to that which the U.S. has been dealing with for some time. Moreover, it’s about keeping legislature up-to-date to stay in line with the ever-changing formulas drug dealers use to skirt around the law.
Russell Baer, a DEA spokesperson referred to the discussion as an “unprecedented dialogue between the two countries.”
Baer also noted that the DEA is working with Chinese officials toward a ban of synthetic fentanyl, a drug 100 times more powerful than morphine. Recently, fentanyl has often been found laced into heroin, and has been responsible for many overdose deaths.
“We’ve now gotten to the point that China is listening to us and addressing some of the scheduling issues. They are their own country, and they have their own concerns. One people don’t understand is that China has an extensive commercial manufacturing program over there. These illicit substances … are a small part of that huge legitimate industry.”
Unfortunately, this approach to drug enforcement, not unlike a dog chasing his tail, isn’t terribly effective. As many admit, a ban on one substance often leads to the development of a similar drug which can fly under the radar for a while, so to speak. And round and round we go.
It’s great that many dangerous substances are becoming less available, but let’s face it – in the big scheme of things, this game of cat-and-mouse is really just another byproduct of the failed War on Drugs policies. On a micro level, however, if its saving lives, there is something to be said for that.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology