Health Organizations Join Together to Address Harrowing Opioid and Heroin Overdose Epidemic
Washington, D.C. – As our nation continues to battle an unprecedented number of lethal overdoses in American communities, drug-related organizations are coming together to address a major security gap that allows illegal synthetic opioids, including the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil, to easily reach cities and rural towns across America. First responders have publicly identified synthetic drug shipments that are coming through the U.S. Postal Service. Yet every day, almost 1 million packages enter the country through the global postal service without important electronic security information needed by government agencies to identify illegal and lethal drugs.
In the first half of 2016 alone, from Kentucky, to New Hampshire, to Ohio, hundreds of Americans have died from the opioid epidemic. These overdoses are taking a drastic toll on local communities. While the Obama administration has announced enhanced measures in conjunction with the Chinese government to combat this illicit drug trafficking into the country, these measures are missing a root cause of the problem by not addressing the U.S. Postal Service. A recent survey from Morning Consult found that 75 percent of voters are concerned that the security loophole in the global postal service is helping to fuel the opioid and substance abuse epidemic, including 50 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans.
Organizations such as the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies Global, Shatterproof, LegitScript, SurfWatch Labs, Allergen, Johnson & Johnson and the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies are focused on curbing this epidemic and are joining Americans for Securing All Packages to put an end to the unregulated drug pipeline in the global postal system.
“We are committed to making sure that no parent, family or community member has to deal with death or harm caused by counterfeit drugs peddled by illegal online drug sellers. Currently, the postal security gap in screening packages from foreign countries is fanning the flames of a crisis currently taking more lives than the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Libby Baney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies Global. “We must do all that we can to make sure that drugs laced with fentanyl and carfentanil are not allowed to be sold online and shipped into the U.S, leading to deaths that could have been prevented.”
“Illegal online pharmacies – especially those on the dark web – thrive solely because they have an eager market in the U.S. and elsewhere buying a steady supply of heroin, opioids and other toxic drugs,” said John Horton, President and CEO of LegitScript. “To effectively work to combat the opioid epidemic, we need to shut down a pathway bringing these lethal drugs into our country.”
“We are joining the ASAP coalition to help spread awareness of what goes on every day in the world of drug trafficking. Through our dark web monitoring we see drug traffickers rely on underground online markets and forums and the global post to quickly ship toxic drugs into the country,” said Sam Erdheim, Vice President of Marketing of SurfWatch Labs. “The intel that we gather from these markets gives a clear picture of this epidemic.”
Synthetic opioids pose risks to national security and are toxic to law enforcement even in small doses. Illicit substances are commonly undetected by screening methods used by the U.S. Postal Service, and intelligence and law enforcement agencies currently do not receive important electronic security data for approximately 90-percent of all packages shipped into the United States. Under the Trade Act of 2002, Congress authorized the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to receive advance electronic security data on all packages entering the United States, but the U.S. Postal Service has yet to adopt these measures.
About Americans for Securing All Packages
Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP) is a bipartisan coalition composed of health care advocates, national security experts, businesses and nonprofits who believe it is time for the U.S. government to take action and ensure that all packages being shipped to the United States from any foreign postal service are adequately screened before arriving on the doorsteps of unsuspecting Americans.