Trade troubles with China have caused financial strain on many industries in the U.S., including agriculture, but Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is praising a new gesture by that nation involving Fentanyl.
Chinese officials vow to tighten controls on the production and export of that highly-potent drug, which Grassley says is a move that’s long overdue. “China is the biggest source of Fentanyl coming to our country,” Grassley says, “and it is the leading reason we have an opiate problem in the United States.”
Grassley is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Caucus on International Narcotics Control. He says Fentanyl-laced heroin has fueled the deadly opioid epidemic in recent years and is linked to the majority of opioid overdose deaths in America.
“We don’t recognize it so much in Iowa although it is a problem in Iowa,” Grassley says, “but it’s a gigantic problem in New England, in Ohio, in West Virginia, 70,000 deaths.” In October, Grassley says his panel heard from government officials and experts from across the U.S. who emphasized the need for China to act on Fentanyl. Grassley says former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is the U.S. Ambassador to China, has been working toward this for some time.
Grassley says, “It’s a real victory for Governor Branstad because six months ago, he came to my office to talk about his #1 goal is to get China to do what they’ve now said they’re going to do.” A news release from Grassley’s office says in 2017, a full 60-percent of U.S. opioid deaths involved Fentanyl, which is an increase from 14-percent in 2010. The release also says Fentanyl is involved in more deaths than prescription opioids or heroin.