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China using fentanyl in a chemical war against America

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    China using fentanyl in a chemical war against America

    By Markos Kounalakis

    More than half a million people have died between 2000 and 2015 from opioids. Opioid deaths are an epidemic.

    Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid driving America’s public health crisis. Its cheap price, widespread use, addictive quality and deadly effect make it more dangerous than other narcotics classified by the DEA.

    It is, ultimately, a chemical. And it’s being used as a weapon in China’s 21st Century Opium War against America.

    Trump’s 12-day, five-nation Asia tour will focus on North Korean nukes and international trade. In Beijing, however, he plans to address China’s fentanyl production and distribution, an industry that fuels what the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls “China’s deadly export to the United States.” Trump holds undeniable moral authority when it comes to substance abuse, having personally seen and felt the effects on his family. Forcing China’s hand on fentanyl is the right thing to do.

    Drug abuse is inherently a demand issue; the underlying problem is America’s insatiable narcotics need. But there is an international supply part to the drug equation that stretches from China’s bottomless fentanyl manufacture to its bulk shipping of the deadly white powder into global markets. If Trump can get China to constrain supply, he might significantly reduce the problem.

    And if any government can control its nation’s industry, it is the one in Beijing. China already uses its authoritarian state structure to control the movement of people and ideas within its country with stunning efficiency. It even manages to do so in other jurisdictions, as when it kidnaps book publishers in Hong Kong.

    But China is more passive when asked to act responsibly or confront threats to the U.S. that are otherwise perceived as serving its strategic interests. For example, North Korea developed its nuclear capacity with China’s acquiescence, if not outright blessing. Why? Because Pyongyang’s nukes make China indispensable to Korean Peninsula negotiations and future. A nuclear-armed North Korea seemed a lesser concern to China than the perceived value of bullying South Korea and regionally neutering America’s military might.

    Fentanyl is the nuclear narcotic killing thousands of Americans today and another example of China’s two-faced approach. The chemical, known as “China Girl” or “China White” on the street, may have some Chinese victims, but its true value is as a profitable opiate export that also destroys American communities and roils the U.S. political landscape. Drug exports have enabled new Chinese-run drug cartels and distributors within the U.S. while untimely and tragic American deaths mount in what the president has called a “public health emergency.”

    China has a deep, visceral understanding of how an Opium War can convulse a nation and collapse an empire. After all, it happened to them in the 19th century. Chinese call it their “Century of Humiliation.” Now the tables have turned. China has absorbed the Century of Humiliation’s lessons of stealth attack and economic power and applied them globally. President Xi sits atop the world’s power pinnacle; a recent Economist cover story called him “the world’s most powerful man,” and POTUS acknowledges Xi’s king-like authority.

    But either this omnipotent man can control his population or not.

    Given China’s authoritarian tech and police state tools, Xi’s monopoly power gives him extraordinary abilities to monitor and manage domestic criminal activity. Trump should not call to crack down further on the general population, but appeal for a more targeted application of Beijing’s honed control practices. Since China already easily and regularly arrests bloggers, VPN users, artists, protesters, and other innocents, it can certainly find and disrupt criminal cartels cooking up deadly street drugs for sale in America.

    If not, then the U.S. needs to take an even more aggressive stance against China. China’s new opium war, combined with her cyberattacks on American infrastructure and information, is further tearing at the increasingly fragile fabric of American society, institutions, and competitiveness.

    Trade imbalances with China gnaw at the president. The trillions that flow one way have underwritten the Chinese economic juggernaut and fueled Communist Party power. American money built a peer competitor to the U.S. Trump maintains that America’s fat trade is now the key to leverage deals with China.

    The U.S. regularly uses trade sanctions to punish foreign players or force them to the negotiating table. During Trump’s trip and eventual meeting with freshly super-empowered Xi, he must align America’s regional allies and lay out a tough approach to both North Korea and the drug war being waged against America.

    Trump must make clear to Xi that with Chinese fentanyl, America is under attack, and a chemical weapons red line is being crossed.

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    Fentanyl, the opioid crisis and Naloxone

    By James Jesso

    There is a growing opioid crisis happening around the world and it’s getting particularly worrisome here in Canada. The casualty rate is growing dramatically and across not only the opioid user demographic but that of the non-opioid drug user as well. What I want to focus on here is the proliferation of fentanyl into the illicit drug market.

    Whether or not you use opioid drugs, this does affect you, and what follows may save your life or the life of someone you care about.

    In January 2017, the province of British Columbia saw a 36.5% increase in overdose deaths compared to January 2016. In Alberta, 338 people died from opioid-related overdoses between January and Oct. 27 of 2016, with fentanyl linked to 193 of those deaths.

    Fentanyl is an extremely potent pharmaceutical opioid. Although it has been around since the 70s, its presence in the illicit drug supply has grown dramatically over the last 10 years and is continuing to rise. It is up to 100 times more potent than heroin or morphine. It only takes 3mg to overdose, compared to the 30mg it takes to overdose on heroin—3mg is an extremely small amount of a substance. A couple specks are all it takes to die from this stuff. Carfentanil, another dangerous opioid proliferating on the illicit market, is even more potent.

    The fentanyl epidemic is coming in from multiple angles.

    The three points that follow are generalized and are far from an exhaustive list of variables:

    First –

    We have the increase of direct fentanyl addiction as a likely result of Purdue Pharma’s lies about the addictive potential of oxycontin. Purdue Pharma lobbied doctors to prescribe it like wild throughout the 90s before pulling it from the market. This left a vast number of unfortunate people, now with severe opioid dependence, without a safe supply. Many of those people turned to the streets in search of what the black market could offer.

    This increased demand for street opioids, but a dramatic lack of access to Oxycontin for anyone, gave vast rise to heroin addiction and the spread of fentanyl. Within the problem of fentanyl addiction is the microcosm of bootleg fentanyl pills. These pills present an increased risk of overdose due to the lack of consistent dosages in products being purchased by addicts. Even a milligram more or less may mean death by overdose.

    Second –

    Since the demand for fentanyl was billowing on the street and it was possible to import enough of it in bulk from China without fear of being flagged by Canadian customs, the raw product has been funneled into the drug supply at large. We see a disturbing level of fentanyl contamination in the heroin supply and, in a similar fashion to bootleg fentanyl pills, the presence of fentanyl in the heroin supply vastly increases the chances of fatal overdose. In this case, “fentanyl overdose” is clearly a misnomer — it’s actually more like fentanyl poisoning.

    A quick aside:

    Heroin dependence is not necessarily what we have been led to understand it to be. As destructive as it can be, and as grim as the stereotype of the junkie is in our conditioned minds, it is possible to have a steady life and be a heroin addict. There is quite likely someone in your life right now who you would never guess has a heroin addiction until they turn up dead due to fentanyl poisoning

    Third –

    Fentanyl contamination has spread beyond the opioid supply and has found its way into non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine. The gravity of this must be stressed because what this means is that no matter what drug you are using, you are at risk of dying of a potential overdose. This risk is highest if you are using powdered drugs.

    It isn’t even possible to test for the presence of fentanyl with a standard reagent test, which can be used to determine what a drug actually is. This is because it might be such a small amount of fentanyl that despite testing even three different pinches of that drug, the fentanyl hasn’t made it from the core sample into the test. (Although the emergence of a fentanyl specific test kit is on the rise.)

    This affects all of us because either we are ourselves are using drugs or someone we care about is doing so. At this point, even if that use is well within the realm of being “responsible” and all safety precautions have been taken, dying from fentanyl is still a risk.

    So what do we do now? Well… introducing Naloxone.

    When someone is having an opioid overdose, the opioid receptors in their brain have become so saturated that the breathing rate is depressed, potentially to the point of death. Naloxone is an easily administered and highly effective drug that goes into the brain and kicks the opioids out of the receptor site to wake that person up and stop the overdose. However, it is only temporary and once it wears off that person will begin to overdose again, so it is imperative that emergency services are called.

    Naloxone kits are not hard to get. Here in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, I attended a free seminar on the nasal spray version of Naloxone (you just squirt it up the nose of someone who has overdosed) and was given a free Naloxone kit. I did this not because I use opioids, but because I attend gatherings where people use drugs, and if I can be this easily prepared to save a life, goddammit, I will be.

    Of course having Naloxone might save your life, but it won’t prevent fentanyl in your drugs.

    I’m not saying “don’t do drugs,” but I am saying it’s time to get real serious about ensuring the security and cleanliness of your supply. And I am suggesting that when offered random drugs at a party, take a moment to consider what you are willing to risk for that high.

    According to the CBC, “A Victoria [British Columbia, Canada] pharmacy that provides free testing of street drugs has found more than 90 per cent of the dozens of samples it has tested contain some amount of fentanyl.” Similarly, according to The Georgia Straight, “the latest data supplied by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), 85 percent of heroin mixtures (and 80 percent of all drugs) checked at Insite between July 7 and September 8 (332 checks) tested positive for fentanyl.”

    Do your best to inform yourself about the risks in your community right now, and if you can, find a local harm reduction or community safety organization to get more information—or even to be trained on using naloxone. Just in case.

    This is a huge issue in the world right now and what you have read here is far from an exhaustive list of the dangers and problems with the current world opioid epidemic. We barely scratched the surface of how prolific the opioid epidemic is, or the role Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin likely played in its development. Nor have we even addressed the psychological underpinnings of addiction itself.

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    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 11-09-2017, 12:25 PM.