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Chinese Fentanyl and the U.S. Overdose Epidemic — UPDATE

Almost four years ago (November 2019), I wrote a blog post titled “Chinese Fentanyl and the U.S. Overdose Epidemic” to highlight the fentanyl overdose problem and how the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)–using one single American victim as a case study–tracked the drug back to the Chinese fentanyl manufacturer responsible for producing the deadly dosage.


Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced for the first time the indictment of several China-based fentanyl chemical manufacturing companies and the arrests of two Chinese chemical company executives who made the mistake of leaving China to visit Fiji.

Fiji authorities arrested the Chinese nationals at the request of the U.S. and have been/will be extradited to New York to face charges.


When I wrote the 2019 blog post, the death count in the U.S. due to fentanyl overdose was 30,000.

In 2022–according to the recent DOJ announcement–the death toll has jumped to 110,000 Americans.


Three Reasons:

1. The Chinese fentanyl companies use the same strategies any Chinese criminal-counterfeiting enterprise uses to distribute its products (i.e., social media, U.S. Postal Service, criminal intermediaries, public storage facilities, etc.)

It is the same criminal/counterfeiter sales and distribution model.

2. If the Chinese-State is unwilling to stop the flood of fentanyl to the U.S. that is killing thousands, doesn’t this indifferent mindset leave little hope of Chinese reform in other areas, such as their relentless global theft of research and development?

3. Doesn’t it illustrate a complete disregard for the United States and its citizens?


Does flooding the United States with deadly fentanyl come from the Communist China ‘Influence and Interference’ playbook?

Does China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) oversee China-based chemical companies and this fentanyl flooding campaign?


Flooding the United States with fentanyl is a national security threat.

Could the People’s Republic of China (PRC) stop this if it wanted to?

Is the PRC playing this wicked game?


New York Times — U.S. Charges Four Firms with Selling Chemicals to Make Fentanyl

60 Minutes REWIND — Buying Fentanyl Online from China

HBO — How Fentanyl Gets to the U.S. from China

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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

1 comment on “Chinese Fentanyl and the U.S. Overdose Epidemic — UPDATE

  1. Hi Ron – interesting article. I hadn’t realised the Fentanyl problem in the US was still increasing, I was under the impression it had plateaued so the fact it’s still going on is concerning. You highlight the way these groups operate and that they are just like counterfeiting syndicates – all to frequently we see legitimate business channels being co-opted for illicit purposes. Business leaders need to understand how organised crime can exploit their products or services and actively take steps to minimise these risks.

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