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SCIO briefing on fentanyl-related substances control

Press Conference

The State Council Information Office of China held a press conference on fentanyl-related substances control on April 1.

China.org.cnUpdated: April 2, 2019

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Speakers:

Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China's National Narcotics Control Commission and counter-terrorism commissioner of the Ministry of Public Security;

Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission;

Chen Shifei, deputy head of the National Medical Products Administration;

Chairperson:

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office of China

Date:

April 1, 2019

The State Council Information Office of China holds a press conference on fentanyl-related substances control on April 1, 2019. [Photo by Zhao Yifan/China SCIO]


Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to today's SCIO briefing. Today, the "Statement on Adding Fentanyl-related Substances to the Supplementary List of Controlled Non-medical Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" was jointly issued by China's Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission, and National Medical Products Administration. This statement means that the Chinese government has officially begun to include all fentanyl-related substances into the control list. To offer more information on the announcement, we are delighted to welcome three officials to update you on the fentanyl-related substances control and answer your questions. They are Mr. Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China's National Narcotics Control Commission and counter-terrorism commissioner of the Ministry of Public Security; Mr. Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission; and Mr. Chen Shifei, deputy head of the National Medical Products Administration.

Liu Yuejin:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Now, on behalf of the National Narcotics Control Commission, I read out the "Statement on Adding Fentanyl-related Substances to the 'Supplementary List of Controlled Non-medical Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances' issued by the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China and National Medical Products Administration."

In accordance with the provisions of "Regulations for Controlling on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" and "Methods for Controlling Non-medicinal Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances," the Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission and National Medical Products Administration have decided to add fentanyl-related substances into the "Supplementary List of Controlled Non-medicinal Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances."

"Fentanyl" refers to a substance that has one or more of the following chemical structures:

1. Uses other acyl groups to substitute for propionyl;

2. Using any substituted and unsubstituted mono-aromatic groups to substitute for phenyl directly connected with nitrogen atoms;

3. Piperidine ring having substituent groups such as alkyl, alkenyl, alkoxy, ester, ether, hydroxy, halogen, haloalkyl, amino and nitro; 

4. Using any other groups (except hydrogen) to substitute for phenethyl.

If the substances listed above are found to have any legitimate pharmaceutical, industrial, scientific research or other legal use, they shall be adjusted in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 3 of the "Methods for Controlling Non-medicinal Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances."

The fentanyl-related substances that have been included into the "List of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" and the "Supplementary List of Controlled Non-medicinal Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" will be supervised and controlled in accordance with the original regulations.

This announcement will take effect on1 May, 2019. 

Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China and National Medical Products Administration.

Just now, I have read out the announcement that China will include all fentanyl-related substances into the list of controlled drugs, which marks an important and innovative measure taken by the Chinese government in the building of China's anti-drug legal system.

Drugs are a public hazard to all mankind. This issue must be tackled because it concerns the future of mankind. China has knowledge of their harm as we have suffered from serious drug epidemics before. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago, the Party and the government have always attached great importance to anti-drug enforcement. We have consistently pursued and strictly carried out anti-drug policies and adopted the guidelines of comprehensive governance; prevention first; and the four prohibitions of drug abuse, trafficking, cultivation and production. In particular, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping has laid out important instructions on drug control many times, stressing that political and institutional advantages should be given full play to improve the drug control governance system, and responsibilities be shouldered and the masses should be mobilized. Governance with Chinese characteristics should be followed to combat drugs and win the anti-drug war in the new era. China National Narcotic Control Committee and all local authorities and relevant departments resolutely implements the decisions of the central government and also take the initiative to tackle the difficulties. Hence, steady progress has been made in controlling drugs. At present, the world is undergoing profound and complex changes concerning drugs and the situation is not optimistic. In particular, new drugs represented by fentanyl-related substances have emerged at an unprecedented rate and have been abused on a large scale in some countries, claiming large numbers of lives and causing serious social problems. Facing this international challenge, the Chinese government has added all fentanyl-related substances into the control list. It is not only an important move to prevent the risks caused by the new drugs, but also a measure to protect people's physical and mental health. It is an important manifestation of China's participation in the global control of illicit drugs and the maintenance of international security and stability.

Adding all fentanyl-related substances into the control list is one of the innovative measures that China is taking to tackle the drug problem, bringing opportunities for us to deepen reform and development in our drug control efforts. The Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission, National Medical Products Administration and other related departments have closely coordinated on a series of relevant studies, risk assessments, expert evaluations, and suggestions. As a result, they have managed to complete the legal procedures to schedule such substances within four months. In particular, the legal definition of fentanyl-related substances has been scientifically determined, which guarantees an extensive and expandable scope of control while ensuring minimum impact on medical industry, scientific research and other legitimate uses.

After issuing and implementing the announcement to list and regulate the entire class of fentanyl substances, the Chinese government will draft and issue a series of documents as soon as possible. This will also include guidance on applicable laws for handling criminal cases related to fentanyl substances as well as protocols for the filing and prosecution of similar cases. The authorities will push for the construction of laboratories that can examine related drugs, develop universal on-site rapid screening equipment, safety protection equipment, formulate public safety industry standards for the inspection and identification of fentanyl substances, and push for the construction of a monitoring system for fentanyl substances based on suspicious substances and spectrum analysis. It will also reinforce the monitoring, on-site inspection, examination, identification and risk assessment of fentanyl substances. In addition, it will provide efficient technical support for daily supervision and law enforcement, and ensure that the regulation of fentanyl substances falls within law enforcement and judicial practices.

Cooperation creates synergy, and co-governance leads to a win-win result. The Chinese government is willing to share its drug control experiences with the world and tackle the drug problem together. The government also wishes to offer Chinese wisdom to address global drug control issues and contribute to the process of building a community with a shared future for humanity as well as promoting peace and development in the world.

Next, my colleagues and I will answer your questions. 

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Liu. Let's start the questions. Please identify the news organization you represent before asking questions.

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