Accession Number:



Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis: Understanding Chinas Role in the Production and Supply of Synthetic Opioids

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Final Report]

Corporate Author:

RAND Corporation

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Today, I will briefly describe our countrys ongoing opioid overdose crisis. Understanding recent developments and the shifting supply of opioids is critical to policy design. I will then describe the emergence of synthetic opioids, which have complicated many of our drug policy efforts. Given the topic of this hearing, I focus most of my testimony on Chinas role as a source of synthetic psychoactives and chemical precursors, describing what we know about the manufacture and export of potent opioids, such as fentanyl, to the United States. Although most of these substances appear to come from China, many dimensions of this problem remain unclear. That said, Chinas export-led economic strategy and lack of regulatory oversight have created favorable conditions for the production and exportation of synthetic opioids and related chemicals. I conclude with some policy options going forward, aimed at the new challenges posed by these substances.


Subject Categories:

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]