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Hold China accountable for illicit opioids that kill thousands of Americans

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Trading Lives: Connecting Chinese Trade Negotiations and Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl

Written by James Rauh

James Rauh is the father of Tom Rauh, who passed away in March of 2015 because of a lethal dose of illicitly manufactured fentanyl that was since traced directly to a Chinese manufacturing organization run by Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng—the first traceable case of its kind in the history of illicitly manufactured fentanyl deaths in the United States. The investigation that followed Tom’s passing has sparked national and international attention, including a 60 Minutes segment that aired on Sun.., Apr. 28, 2019.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl from Chinese producers has led to the tragic loss of more than 100,000 lives in our country, alone. My son Tom was one of them.

This deadly illegal export from China must be included in our current trade talks with the Chinese government, and together, we can pursue trade policies with a sensible, humane strategy that can save lives—while supporting fair trade and promoting economic growth.

As Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Cronin noted in a recent episode of CBS 60 Minutes, the People’s Republic of China is the source of the vast majority of the synthetic opioids that are flooding the streets of the United States and Western democracies. “It is a fact that these synthetic opioids are responsible for the overwhelming increase in overdose deaths in the United States,” Cronin said.

This crisis is also an economic one, costing the American economy more than the trade deficit with China, according to the White House. While it is decimating our population, it is also destabilizing our economy. Trade negotiations with China must include its ceasing production and distribution of all illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its derivatives. 

Together, let's pursue trade policies that save lives, instead of trading them.

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