China has announced it will crack down on all fentanyl-like substances, following US pleas for Beijing to control a drug fuelling a deadly opioid crisis. But a senior official repeated China’s denial of responsibility for the US’s deadly opioid crisis, which he blamed instead on American culture. “Some people link drug consumption with freedom, individuality and liberation,” said Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the National Narcotics Control Commission. “If the United States truly wants to resolve its fentanyl abuse problem, it needs to strengthen its domestic work.”
China is suspected of being the main source of a powerful painkiller 50 times stronger than heroin that has caused record overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl has been tied to already tense bilateral relations, with the US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, saying he hopes to include China’s commitments to curb the drug in any agreement to end the two countries’ bitter trade war.