UN adds fentanyl-making chemicals to list of controlled substances

published on March 17, 2017 by Matt Humphrey in CBC News

But B.C. expert says the international organization should take a different approach to drug enforcement

The narcotic fentanyl took centre stage at the annual United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, March 16.

Two chemicals used in the making of fentanyl were added to the “International List of Controlled Substances.”

However, a B.C. expert on substance abuse says controlling chemical ingredients isn’t the solution.

“We need to do everything we can, so the decision is welcome,” said Dr. Evan Wood, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia.

“At the same time though, you can’t get out of a problem with the same kind of thinking that got you into the problem.”

Wood is the director of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. He has been an outspoken member of the provincial task force created to deal with the opioid crisis and he joined On the Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko to share his thoughts on the UN meeting.

Wood said preventative measures like controlling substances only deal with symptoms of the crisis and not the root cause.

He said the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs was created to crack down on opium “” a response that has partly contributed to the rise of heroin and synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

Wood said the last time there was an international push for precursor (chemical ingredient) control, it was for methamphetamine. When Canada and the U.S. banned ingredients used in its production, Wood said production just shifted to Mexico.

“There was a huge balloon in the amount of crystal methamphetamine that was being produced in Mexico and making it’s way onto the streets of North America,” he said.

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