From Coast to Coast, Local Law Enforcement Agents Warn Communities of Influx of Synthetic Opioids Mailed from Abroad

The Fraternal Order of Police and American Medical Association support the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act so law enforcement can identify packages containing hazardous materials

Washington, D.C. – As the tragic death toll of the nationwide opioid epidemic continues to rise, local law enforcement agents from Florida to Oregon are warning about the growing prevalence of synthetic drugs shipped through the mail. Facilitating easy access to toxic opioids is a major security gap in the global postal network, which provides a pipeline for foreign bad actors to ship drugs into local communities.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, over one million packages reach the United States though foreign posts every day without the advance electronic security data that would allow law enforcement to identify packages containing hazardous materials. As a result, powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil can be produced in foreign laboratories, purchased on the “dark web” and shipped through the global postal network to homes across the country, often undetected.

Local law enforcement from coast to coast is seeing the impact of this growing problem:

  • Oregon: Mark Kruger, Captain of Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division: “Children now can buy fentanyl on the dark web using bitcoins for currency and they can overdose in their own bedrooms on a substance that no one really knew about a couple of years ago. There are larger and larger quantities of these synthetic opioids, as well as any other drug you wish to name. They’re available through the dark web that you can purchase and have delivered right to your home through the U.S. Postal Service.”
  • Tennessee: Sullivan County Deputy District Attorney Gene Perrin: “Or they’re [drugs] delivered to abandoned homes. [In] one case with the U.S. Postal Service, we told them this was synthetic drugs, and they still delivered it. This goes way beyond what we can do.”
  • North Dakota: Shannon Ruskizka, Fargo Police Lieutenant: “A lot of these drugs, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, those types of drugs have been ordered over the dark web to our community and it’s people who live in our community who have ordered them… The buyer is not really concerned about giving their address to them or anything, they are not going to call the police on you, and the seller doesn’t have to put their address on it.” 
  • Florida: David A. Sierleja, Acting U.S. Attorney: On criminals who operated an online storefront on the dark web as a way for people to order fentanyl, which would then be shipped using the Postal Service: “The amount of drugs seized is enough to kill a football stadium full of people… This case underscores that our state is being inundated with large amounts of deadly drugs.”

As law enforcement and first responders grapple with the crisis at the local level, our federal government must also do its part to support their efforts. That’s why those on the front lines of the crisis, such as the Fraternal Order of Police and American Medical Association, support the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which would require all packages shipped through foreign postal services to include vital security data. Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP) urges the White House and Congress to support local law enforcement and stop the flow of these drugs by taking decisive action to close the loophole before more lives are lost.