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Is China feeding the U.S.’s deadly synthetic drug habit?

BY   September 23, 2015 at 5:51 PM EST
Packets of synthetic marijuana illegally sold in New York City are put on display at a news conference in August. Illegal synthetic marijuana is spreading across New York, particularly the city's homeless population in search of a cheap high but who often wind up hospitalized or dead, police say. Photo by Sebastien Malo/Reuters

Packets of synthetic marijuana illegally sold in New York City are put on display at a news conference in August. Illegal synthetic marijuana is spreading across New York, particularly the city’s homeless population in search of a cheap high but who often wind up hospitalized or dead, police say. Photo by Sebastien Malo/Reuters

It’s as easy as ordering a pair of shoes from Zappos. Only the product is more dangerous and deadly than a pair of stilettos: synthetic drugs, almost all coming into the country from China. How are these drugs trafficked into the U.S.? And what is being done to stop their distribution?

In the last year, there have been massive busts in China. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security says there were more than 50,000 drug cases made by prosecutors. Police there regularly carry out drug seizured involving quantities as large as 20 tons.

Still, there are many reports of these chemicals being manufactured in the open. Many ingredients in these drugs aren’t even illegal there. The U.S. Drugn Enforcement Agency says that most of the pre-curser chemicals in meth also come from China.

It doesn’t help matters that there are plenty of customers in the U.S., with large profit margins for dealers.

On this week’s Shortwave, a deadly trade of an elusive drug.

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