China to cut carfentanil production; could impact heroin epidemic

Photo: MGN/Pixabay

(WKEF/WRGT) -- A major effort is underway to stop opiate overdoses and deaths, as China announces they will control production of four types of dangerous Fentanyl.

After discussions with the U.S. drug enforcement agency about opiate problems in the United States, China said it would stop making the substances starting March 1.

In Montgomery county, the coroner is hoping it means fewer deaths from drug overdoses, by cutting off the supply chain.

For a local family impacted by fentanyl deaths, the news is positive.

"Their names were Heather and Gene, and they were both very beautiful kids, loved life," said father Roger Winemiller.

"It was a heroin fentanyl overdose," Winemiller explained.

He said his daughter Heather was 31-years-old and had been clean for 3 1/2 years around Easter of 2016.

"She came to my house one evening to visit with me and my girlfriend, and she went into the bathroom and shut up and never came out," Winemiller said, "she was dead before she hit the floor, I was the one that found her."

Winemiller said it was a night he would never forget, but less than one year later it happened again, this time he's 37-year-old son Gene.

"It sucks, it really sucks," Winemiller said holding back tears.

He said the deaths of his kids speak to how strong the opiate drugs on the market are.

According to the DEA the amount of fentanyl that can be lethal is less than 2 mg depending on how it is used.

Carfentanil, which China will ban in March 2017, is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.

"Obviously the hope is that it's going to reduce the availability so it's going to reduce or at least make it more difficult to get the product into this country," said Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger.

Harshbarger said during the summer of 2016 his office saw 30 Carfentanil cases.

For Roger Winemiller, it's a big step in sparing other families the same pain he has suffered.

"I don't think it's going to put a stop to it but I think it will slow it way down," Winemiller said.

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