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The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s three-day visit to China spoke about the production and export of “synthetic opioid precursors”, specifically the drug fentanyl.

  • Opioids are a class of drugs that derive from or mimic, natural substances found in the opium poppy plant.
  • They activate an area of nerve cells in the brain and body called opioid receptors that block pain signals between the brain and the body.
  • They produce a variety of effects, including pain relief and euphoria and are highly addictive. Some common opioids include oxycodone, morphine, codeine, heroin and fentanyl.
  • It can lead to death due to the effects of opioids on the part of the brain which regulates breathing.
  • An opioid overdose can be identified by a combination of three signs and symptoms: pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness and difficulties with breathing.
  • Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as an analgesic (for pain relief) and anesthetic.
  • It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic.