Scapegoating won’t alleviate drug abuse in U.S.


Shifting blame is an increasingly common trick being used by the United States over recent years.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against multiple Chinese companies and individuals over allegations they produced and sold chemicals used to make fentanyl. This is another example of Washington’s habitual blame-shifting.

U.S. law enforcement personnel ensnared Chinese nationals through a “sting operation” in a third country and blatantly pressed charges against Chinese entities and individuals. This is typical arbitrary detention and unilateral sanction, which is completely illegal.

The act seriously harms the basic human rights of Chinese nationals and the interests of the Chinese companies concerned.

The United States has itself to blame for its domestic drug abuse. Things the U.S. has so far been doing to address its concerns over the drug problem—be it pressure tactics, coercion or some kind of illegal operations—are essentially all about scapegoating. This will not work.

China scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class, the first country to do so in the world, which has played an important role in preventing the illicit manufacturing, trafficking and abuse of fentanyl.

In December 2018, China and the United States agreed to take proactive steps to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement and drug control, including control of fentanyl-like substances.

On May 1, 2019, China announced to add fentanyl-related substances to the Supplementary List of Controlled Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances with Non-medical Use. It marked the first time for China to schedule the whole category of a certain substance as a class to control, which has offered a solid legal basis for the crackdown on fentanyl-related crimes.

China has taken unprecedented efforts and extraordinary measures to govern fentanyl-related issues, to ensure the efficient implementation of policies. The achievements of China’s control over fentanyl-related issues demonstrate the country’s sense of responsibility.

The United States alleges that China is its main source of illicit fentanyl-like substances, which is in total disregard of facts.

The U.S.-claimed “fentanyl precursors” are ordinary chemicals. According to the common practice across the world, to ensure that the goods imported are not used for illicit purposes is not only the basic responsibility of the enterprises, but also the legal obligation of the governments of importing countries.

Instead of regulating its domestic enterprises and individuals, the United States arbitrarily imposed illegal sanctions on Chinese counter-narcotics institutions. It openly slandered China’s counter-narcotics efforts, illegally sanctioned Chinese companies, and even ensnared and charged Chinese individuals.

Such long-arm jurisdiction and bullyism that tramples on international law have further undermined the lawful rights and interests of relevant Chinese institutions and nationals, and seriously undercut the foundation for China-U.S. cooperation on counter-narcotics.

U.S. frequent hyping of fentanyl-related issues is essentially all about scapegoating for its failure in domestic drug control.

The United States faces the most acute challenge arisen from the use of drugs. It has not permanently scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class yet.

Over recent years, the number of Americans dying from drug and substance abuse has increased dramatically. According to statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June, over 109,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending January 2023.

The International Narcotics Control Board data said that the U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer of fentanyl-related substances. With five percent of the world’s population, the country consumes 80 percent of opioids in the world.

Marta Sokolowska, the Deputy Center Director for Substance Use and Behavioral Health in U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, pointed out that the overdose crisis remains one of the most devastating public health epidemics to affect the country.

Drug abuse in the United States is the result of an interplay of economic interests, lobbying, and social and cultural factors.

The U.S. federal and state governments have failed to regulate drugs and substance abuse and even pushed for the legalization of marijuana under the influence of interest groups, resulting in more and more young people becoming victims.

Large pharmaceutical enterprises in the U.S. throw a large amount of money into sponsoring experts and associations to peddle the narrative that “opioids are harmless.” What they want is to push for drug legalization and prod pharmacies into promoting drug sales and doctors into the indiscriminate prescription of drugs.

A 2022 research completed by Robin Goldstein and Daniel Sumner, researchers with the University of California, Davis, underlined that one of the pipe dreams behind the legalization push is the intention to make legal cannabis a new cash cow for the government through tax.

Marijuana sales in the United States have exceeded $30 billion in 2022, and the U.S. marijuana market is expected to reach $65 billion by 2030.

Enterprises and organizations profiting from marijuana trade money for power, and form interest groups with politicians, thereby letting drugs and substance abuse unchecked, a striking demonstration of Washington’s failure in social governance.

With regard to drug control, the United States must look squarely at its own problem instead of deflecting blame. Attacking and smearing China cannot solve the social malaise of drug abuse in the U.S., but only escalate America’s drug issue into a severer social crisis.

The United States should stop shifting the blame, immediately lift all sanctions on Chinese counter-narcotics law enforcement institutions, stop using fentanyl-related issues as a pretext to sanction, indict or offer awards to hunt Chinese companies or nationals, and immediately release the Chinese nationals under illegal arrest.


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