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BY DANA SADOWSKY, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INTERVIEWERS


Synthetic Drug Production in China: An Update


L


ast time I checked in with DATIA focus readers was in the Fall 2015 issue. I briefly went over synthetic


drug production in China. I shared how the country was handling this crisis and how the drug testing industry was keeping up by implementing new testing methods to detect these synthetic substances. China is still facing an uphill batle when it comes to controlling synthetic drug production within the country. Not only are these drugs being produced in China, but Chinese citizens are addicted to them as well. Tere are very few programs in China


geared towards helping synthetic drug users.1


Te laws are also not structured to


help those struggling with drug addiction. Te punishment is so severe for drug users that many are afraid to come forward and seek the treatment they need. Te treatment options are not helpful either. Many individuals are sent to centers and forced to quit drugs “cold turkey.” Te process of rehabilitating these drug users along with withdrawal symptoms they go through are not managed well. Te Chinese citizens are


batling addictions to substances that are manufactured in their own country. Te effects of these synthetic drugs are just as dangerous as taking the actual drug itself. As many know, synthetic drugs mimic the effects of real drugs.2


Synthetic drug


makers are constantly changing the chemical compounds they are using in an atempt to sell “legal” substances. By doing this, the synthetic, chemical combination can become more harmful or even deadly to the user. Te Chinese government is aware of these harmful effects and has tried to take back some control. China has officially blocked the export of alpha-PVP, which is the key ingredient in the synthetic substance known as flakka.3


Users of flakka


have experienced severe psychotic effects. Tese drug makers are creative when it comes to craſting these synthetic drugs and they also know how to ship them with minimal risk of detection. Synthetic drugs are oſten shipped from


China using well-known shipping carriers.4 Te United States has intercepted thousands of packages containing these synthetic substances. Although the United States is on the look-out for these packages, some still slip through the cracks. Other countries are also taking notice of the synthetic drug problem and doing what they can to control it. We have to continue to be vigilant and keep synthetic drugs off of the streets and out of stores. It is somewhat ironic that China is known for its drug testing manufacturing, yet synthetic drugs are still running rampant in the country. China still has a long way to go before


conquering the synthetic drug crisis. Synthetic drug manufacturers slip under the radar and consistently alter their products in an effort to avoid legality challenges. Te minute a synthetic substance becomes illegal,


60 datia focus


drug manufacturers change the compounds they are using. Synthetic drugs are still being shipped the conventional way using known carriers—this is something the country has struggled with for years. It is going to take new and unique methods to combat these drugs. Te drug testing industry needs to be innovative and continue to test for these synthetic substances. Although the synthetic drug issue in


China can seem somewhat hopeless, as members of the drug testing community we have to stick together when it comes to batling these drugs. It is our responsibility to be up-to-date on these drugs, to identify the different compounds, and to test for them. We need to be innovative by designing tests that detect synthetic drugs and their various compounds. We need to stay ahead of these drug makers, and the best way is to get informed and to react and adapt more quickly than they do. ❚


References 1


http://www.dw.com/en/china-fighting-uphill-battle-in-war- on-drugs/a-19072445


2


http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/02/ katko_stefanik_join_efforts_to_stem_heroin_synthetic_ drug_abuse_commentary.html


3


http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-drugs-china- meth-ice-20160218-story.html


4


http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/ article35417625.html


Dana Sadowsky is the Mem- ber Services Coordinator for the International Association of Interviewers. Although her cur- rent position is not in the drug testing industry, she still keeps


herself up-to-date with relevant information and research. She gives back to the drug test- ing community in any way she can, especially through the DATIA focus magazine. This is her second article for this magazine. She looks forward to contributing again in the future.


summer 2016


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