Why The Chinese Ban On Carfentanil Won’t Stop Our Problem

Banning Carfentanil Will Slow, Not Stop Our Problems

Effective March 1st, carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, valeryl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl will be banned in China. That means that Chinese manufacturers, who have been at the forefront of the U.S. and Canada’s fentanyl epidemic, will not longer legally be able to manufacture the drugs.

This same move happened with flakka last year. South Florida had an epidemic of flakka that was coming from China, much like our problems with fentanyl analogs. The supply of flakka definitely dried up, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anymore problems. Users and Chinese manufacturers just changed their drug of choice. Flakka comes from a class of drugs that has an unlimited supply of replacements. Just look at the book PIHKAL. PIHKAL is a veritable recipe book of drugs just like flakka and lists flakka in its contents. Since flakka is in short supply, just flip the page to a new recipe and you have a new, legal replacement.

There are Other Fentanyl Analogs That Can Replace Carfentanil

Just like flakka, there are other fentanyl analogs that can be used that are completely legal. Last year, China banned Aceytl Fentanyl, but labs in China quickly re-tooled their factories to start popping out furanyl-fentanyl. Now that furanyl-fentanyl is banned, how long will it be until they find a different analog? We are in a new era of drugs. When I first started as a cop, we only had to worry about meth, cocaine, PCP, marijuana and heroin. Now, synthetic drugs  are starting to take over. When one is banned, you can tweak a molecule and be well within the law to manufacture it. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was passed by Congress in 1970. The drugs that we had back then were limited comparative to the drugs that we have today. So when a new fentanyl analog comes and replaces carfentanil, our CSA will not be able to outlaw the latest analog and we will be stuck with a legal and deadly high for the masses.

Fentanyl safety for law enforcement
Do you know how to protect yourself from accidental fentanyl exposure? What equipment do you need for a possession of fentanyl case? What do you do if you get exposed to fentanyl? We answer this and more in our upcoming webinar.

Carfentanil and it’s Eventual Replacement are a Terrorist Threat

The fentanyl threat is more than just a public health or criminal justice threat. It is also a threat to our nation’s security. There are other fentanyl analogs as powerful as carfentanil, that can be used as a weapon. As an example, in 2002, 40-50 armed Chechens seized a theater in Moscow and took 850 people hostage. To stop the siege and eventual and imminent slaughter of the hostages, Russian security forces are believed to have pumped in Carfentanil through the air system to knock out everyone in the theater. At least 170 people died. This incident also showed how fentanyl analogs can be weaponized. Some scientists believe that Carfentanil, as a weapon, can be more effective than the deadly chemical weapon VX.

Carfentanil is the most deadly fentanyl analog

The Economical Model of Fentanyl

There are several reasons why smugglers and drug dealers will continue to switch to fentanyl as a replacement for other drugs. First off, you can smuggle a kilo of heroin or you can smuggle a few grams of fentanyl. It is much easier to smuggle fentanyl around the globe, so your supply chain is more efficient and the chances of getting caught are much slimmer. Or, you could put a few grains of fentanyl into a powder and press that into a pill that looks like a legitimate pharmaceutical.  Fentanyl is the reigning champion of the narcotic world. It is the most powerful narcotic analgesic (opiate based pain killer) on the market. With fentanyl, a user will remain high longer than traditional opiates. Fentanyl is also more profitable. If a drug dealer is diluting a fentanyl analog as powerful as carfentanil down to a 2 microgram dose, one gram of of that fentanyl analog ($360 on the internet) can create up to 500,000 dosage units on the street. How far would that $360 investment go? The profit margin and the smuggling pipeline won’t allow for fentanyl to go away.

Fentanyl Safety for Law Enforcement

I have an upcoming webinar at the end of February that will deal with safety procedures for handling fentanyl for law enforcement officers. What you will learn in the webinar:

Find out what personal protective equipment (PPE) you should have for possession, street sales, and lab/bulk sales cases.

Learn the signs and symptoms of fentanyl exposure


Get tips on protecting yourself from fentanyl during U/C ops.


Learn routes of exposure that lead to fentanyl overdoses for first responders.


Find out what you should do for treatment in the field if you are exposed to fentanyl.


How to respond to a “man down” call where you suspect the person overdosed on an opiate.


Learn the history, dosage units and types of fentanyl that are on the street today.




Author: Keith Graves
Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary's College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.

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