Fentanyl Still Flows into U.S. Six Months after STOP Act Enactment
Following Documented Failures, U.S. Postal Service and Other Federal Agencies Must Immediately Release Report on STOP Act Enforcement to the Public
Washington, D.C. (April 24, 2019) – Six months after the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act was enacted, the federal agencies responsible for its implementation have failed to meet necessary deadlines under the law. The STOP Act, which was passed to close a major loophole in the postal system that drug traffickers use to ship deadly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl into the United States, mandates that the secretary of Homeland Security and U.S. postmaster general must provide Congress today with a report on compliance. Yet all available data show these agencies falling short of required deadlines, and they have failed to provide the American people with any relevant information on their progress in enforcing the law.
The STOP Act mandates that all packages entering the U.S. through the international postal system include advance electronic data, or AED – vital security information that is already required for private carriers and that law enforcement agents use to screen and stop dangerous material, including fentanyl. By the end of 2018, the postal service was required to have AED on 100 percent of packages entering from China, and 70 percent of foreign packages overall. In a bi-partisan letter this month, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) explained that federal agencies failed to meet these requirements in January of this year, acquiring AED on only 76 percent of Chinese packages and 57 percent overall. Furthermore, aside from the work of these senators, the American people have been left in the dark regarding AED enforcement – even though the STOP Act passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and with the full endorsement of President Trump.
With estimates showing fentanyl increasingly responsible for overdose deaths, failing to enforce the STOP Act presents grave risks to the U.S. Today – April 24th – the secretary of Homeland Security and U.S. postmaster general must provide Congress with a report on AED compliance, explaining how they are meeting deadlines for comprehensive AED that will allow our country to cut off the flow of foreign opioids. Yet once again, there is no public indication that this deadline to file this report has been met.
“Democrats and Republicans applauded the passage of last year’s opioid legislative package, and the STOP Act was the most crucial aspect. It is stunning that our federal agencies are not doing all that they can to properly implement and enforce this law,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “The American people deserve and should demand transparency from our government, including a public release of today’s report on AED compliance. We’re thankful for the members of Congress who are keeping this issue at the forefront of their work to ensure this loophole is not forgotten and that we can close the postal drug pipeline once and for all.”