OTTAWA – The Mounties have reached an agreement with China to try and halt the transpacific flow of fentanyl into Canada.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Chen Zhimin, the vice-minister of China’s public security ministry, have agreed to boost efforts to disrupt the flow of the drug and other opioids, the force announced Friday following meetings this week.
Fentanyl and other opioids pose a grave threat to community safety in Canada, said Paulson, who described the meetings as “an important step forward” in a co-ordinated approach to the problem of fentanyl.
Discussions to formalize joint investigations will begin next week, the RCMP added.
Last week, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, whose province is on the front line of Canada’s fentanyl problem, urged Ottawa to take action to crack down on imports of the drug from China ahead of an opioid summit in Ottawa.
Fentanyl, a highly potent and addictive opioid, is estimated to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Another opioid known as carfentanil, commonly used as an animal tranquilizer, is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.
In a joint statement Friday, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Morris and Health Minister Terry Lake said they are pleased with the RCMP’s plans to work with the Chinese ministry.
“We believe that by collaborating with our international and federal partners, enforcement will ultimately be stronger across all our provincial and international borders,” the ministers said.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale noted last week that the world needs to take the fentanyl problem seriously and Canada needs international help in stanching the flow of the drug from overseas.