Inspector General Calls on U.S. Postal Service to Work with Congress to Stop Online Drug Sellers from Exploiting Vulnerabilities in International Mail

ASAP Coalition Urges Swift Regulatory Action to Cut Off Opioid Pipeline

Washington, D.C. – With President Trump expected to sign the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act into law, a new report from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) calls on the Postal Service to work closely with Congress to deter drug sellers from using its network when shipping drugs to the United States.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attribute more than 30,000 overdose deaths to illicit fentanyl in 2017, the new USPS OIG report underscores the need for prompt and swift implementation of the STOP Act to curb the influx of deadly drugs from abroad. The STOP Act, which Congress recently passed with broad bipartisan support, would require advance electronic data on all inbound international packages, closing a glaring security loophole fueling the supply of deadly synthetic opioids into the U.S.

In January, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found online drug sellers prefer to use state-sponsored foreign posts and the U.S. Postal Service to avoid interdiction when shipping illicit drugs to the United States. According to the Inspector General’s new report, despite the Postal Service’s efforts to deter online drug sellers from using its network, “vulnerabilities remain, as evidenced by the continued use of the Postal Service network to deliver illicit drugs.”

The USPS OIG searched 104 illicit drug websites on the dark web, of which 96 websites (92 percent) indicated using USPS. In a survey of clear web websites offering instructions on how to ship illicit drugs to the U.S., 80 percent suggested using the U.S. Postal Service as well. Implementing the STOP Act as written would help federal law enforcement identify dangerous packages shipped from foreign posts and stop them from reaching U.S soil.

“Over the past several months, Congress has taken enormous steps to curb our nation’s opioid epidemic and keep Americans safe, but the Inspector General’s latest report is a sobering reminder that our work is far from done,” said Governor Tom Ridge, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “Once the President signs the STOP Act into law, it’s on our federal agencies to make sure this bill is implemented swiftly and to the fullest extent possible.”

“Earlier this year, Congress told us that synthetic opioids are coming through the mail from foreign countries. The Inspector General’s report is a jarring reminder that it’s time to close this loophole once and for all,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “Once President Trump signs the STOP Act into law, we need to make sure it is implemented and enforced as Congress intended. People’s lives are on the line. There’s too much at stake to delay.”