As Illicit Drugs Kill Americans in Record Numbers, ASAP Calls for Immediate Action to Combat the Importation of Deadly Drugs through the Global Postal System
Government Watchdog Agency, Lawmakers Call for In-Depth Analysis of Advance Security Data to Stop Influx of Drugs from Abroad
Washington, D.C. – As new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a 540 percent increase in U.S. fentanyl deaths over just the past three years, a government watchdog group and several members of Congress have turned their attention to cutting off the supply of illicit drugs in the mail from abroad.
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report calling for in-depth analysis of using advance electronic security data to stop the flow of synthetic drugs into the U.S, followed by a hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to examine its findings. While Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP) commends GAO and Congress for their attention to this issue, ASAP urges Congress and the Trump Administration to act immediately to close the pipeline allowing deadly drugs into the U.S. from abroad.
According to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, “under the U.S. Postal Service’s current system, majority of packages sent from foreign countries can enter the U.S. without having advanced electronic data processed by our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies.” In the report and at the hearing, GAO called for measurable performance goals to assess the effectiveness of advance electronic data in stopping the importation of drugs through the mail.
“I’m glad to see Congress’s watchdog and oversight committees recognize how serious this issue is, but I would prefer more action and less studying, especially when there is plenty of information already available that demonstrates a significant inflow of illicit packages entering our country are from foreign posts who do not send advance data,” said Governor Tom Ridge, senior advisor to ASAP. “America’s opioid epidemic has been growing worse for years. Deadly drugs coming through the mail from foreign countries are more potent than we’ve ever seen, yet over 340 million packages still reach the U.S. unchecked for dangerous contents each year. Congress and the Administration must act to stop this scourge now.”
During the hearing, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, and representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the State Department and the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General testified on the need for advance security data.
“Analyzing advance electronic data in combination with other postal databases could shine a spotlight on international drug trafficking through the mail and facilitate prevention efforts in the originating countries,” said U.S. Postal Service Acting Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb. “In many instances, parcels from suspect shippers can be identified while they are still in transit between countries, which should help ensure they are seized at our border. And for those parcels that make it into the domestic mail stream, analytics will help law enforcement track down the individuals who are trafficking or receiving these dangerous opioids.”
“Fentanyl and carfentanil are weapons of mass destruction,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to ASAP. “Time wasted means lives lost. This is a critical issue. I hope our lawmakers will take swift, deliberate action to keep our communities safe.”