China’s ban on fentanyl could save lives in New Jersey, experts say
China's recent ban on sale and manufacturing of four types of the drug fentanyl could save lives in New Jersey, according to health experts.
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is often mixed into heroin, which can lead to deadly results. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that even a miniscule amount of fentanyl can be fatal.
New Jersey officials say that deaths from heroin overdoses have reached epidemic proportions in parts of the state. There were over 205 overdose deaths in 2016, 66 percent of which involved fentanyl.
The DEA says that taking the drug off the streets could help save lives.
"They're no longer going to be able to produce and sell these products in the United States," says Angelo Valente of Drug-Free NJ. "Many people were accessing them through the internet, and it was legal."
The ban comes in the same week that New Jersey implemented laws to help people who are addicted to heroin.
One of the new laws provides immediate treatment for those who are seeking help. The other limits the number of painkillers doctors can prescribe to just five pills.
"If there is a need for an opiate then it's necessary to do so on a limited basis," Valente says.
The DEA says that China was the No. 1 supplier of fentanyl to the United States. The ban goes into effect March. 1.