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Smearing China can't solve U.S. drug abuse

2023/9/20 8:51:24   source:CGTN

Drug abuse is an undeniable fact in the United States. But interestingly, Washington, while declining to find a radical cure, has been adept at discrediting China's counter-narcotics efforts. Earlier this month, U.S. President Joe Biden identified China as "major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries" in his presidential memorandum submitted to the Congress.

The designation is groundless. Data speaks. To date, China has classified 456 types of substances as controlled, making it one of the countries that have scheduled the biggest number of substances and exercised the strictest control on drugs, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. A total of 38 precursor chemicals are listed as controlled substances in China – 14 more than those regulated by the United Nations.

In contrast, the U.S. is one of the world's largest consumers of drugs. With less than 5 percent of the global population, the country consumes 80 percent of the opioids produced in the world. More than one million Americans have died from drug overdoses since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. status as the single largest major drug demand country urges the Biden administration to find a fundamental solution. But regrettably, American politicians, other than scapegoating China in an attempt to vent anger in U.S. society, have so far shown no sincerity in eradicating illegal drugs. How to manipulate the drug issue for maximized selfish economic and political gains is what American policymakers care about the most.

Economically, drug legalization means a bonus in tax incomes. Take cannabis as an example. In 2022, Colorado, one of the first American states to legalize recreational marijuana, collected $325 million in cannabis tax revenue, according to The Denver Gazette. While other American states were hit hard by COVID-19 in the past years, Colorado made a fortune during the pandemic from its cannabis taxes.

Politically, prescription of certain opioid medicines, which could easily lead to drug addiction, is an opportunity for medical-industrial complex, and American politicians who have to rely on big businesses for election campaigns cannot afford to displease them. Medical-industrial complex and drug-related firms have found to have spent a lot influencing American politics. According to OpenSecrets, an independent website based on open data from the U.S. Senate, American cannabis firms, trade associations and others have spent more than $22.4 million on political lobbying from 2018 to 2022.

Despite U.S. reputation as the source of problem for global drug control, the Biden administration has not shown sincerity in finding a radical solution. To conciliate angry public, Washington resorted to China-bashing tactic. With the clock ticking for the 2024 presidential election, slandering China has also turned out to be an effective tool to woo votes.

But China-bashing is never the solution to America's drug abuse. Fundamental and systematic reform is required if the Biden administration is serious to eradicate illegal drugs from the American soil. International cooperation is also vital. China is always willing to help in global drug control: The country has signed 50 intergovernmental and interdepartmental drug control cooperation documents with more than 30 countries and coalitions of states, established annual meeting mechanisms with 13 countries, joined five multilateral drug control cooperation mechanisms, and set up 13 border drug control liaison offices with neighboring countries, according to the Chinese Embassy in the United States.

Smearing China is never the right way forward. China is willing to help and cooperate in global drug control, and now the eyes are on the U.S. side.

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