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Stamp out easy mail access to deadly fentanyl, Senate report urges

27 January 2018

Because the United States Postal Service does not require shippers to send advanced packaging data, unlike other services like UPS and FedEx, Chinese distributors can easily send hundreds of pounds of illegal opioids through the global mail system each year.

It is not new news that China has been named as the main source for illicit fentanyl flooding the U.S., which is increasingly being found in counterfeit painkillers and anxiety meds, but the report identifies the ease of accessing the drugs online and the loophole in the global mail system, revealing why the issue hasn't been adequately tackled by Customs and Border Protection.

"The problem is the P.O. Box in America that gets a shipment through our postal service straight from China", the Ohio Republican told CBS News.

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Rob Portman said the alarming report shows just how easy it is to obtain fentanyl from China, and said lawmakers are not doing enough to prevent trafficking.

Produced by the Senate homeland security and government affairs investigations subcommittee, the year-long investigation found that Chinese racketeers were taking advantage of the booming e-commerce environment to sell the opioid painkiller illegally under the cover of the anonymity provided by online sites, the New York Times reported. Further investigation uncovered 500 financial documents tied to roughly $766 million of fentanyl that has entered the country. When we see overdoses in Highland County, they're often fentanyl-related overdoses. Tom Carper of DE, said the USPS and State Department "have rebuffed requests to require electronic shipping information with names and addresses of senders and receivers of worldwide parcels", reported on January 24. He also supports more funding to equip agents with advanced technology for mail screenings.

The state lost 4,329 residents to drug overdoses in 2016, a 24 percent increase over the previous year, fueled by the worsening opioid epidemic that is spreading death throughout the country.

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In Highland County, prosecutor Anneka Collins began seeking indictments for involuntary manslaughter against those who provided fentanyl-laced heroin to people who died after overdosing from the deadly concoction.

"Individuals in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida made the highest number of purchases", a subcommittee investigator said. First responders in OH administered roughly 43,000 doses of naloxone in 2016.

American fatalities linked to opioids including fentanyl totaled more than 42,000 in 2016, according to government data.

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the opioid epidemic will continue to deteriorate, predicting drug deaths will exceed 71,000 in 2017.

Stamp out easy mail access to deadly fentanyl, Senate report urges