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President Trump Signs STOP Act into Law, Clamping Down on Postal Opioid Pipeline

New law closes major security loophole by requiring comprehensive security data needed to stop illegal foreign drug shipments

Washington, D.C. (October 24, 2018) – Today, President Trump signed the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act into law as part of a broader package of legislation designed to fight the nationwide opioid epidemic. The STOP Act, which passed both chambers of Congress this summer with overwhelming bipartisan support, will close a loophole in the global postal system that foreign drug traffickers exploit to send deadly synthetic opioids into the country undetected by law enforcement.

Under current law, international packages sent to the U.S. through private carriers must include advance electronic data (AED), which Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies use to screen and stop dangerous material. Shipments sent via the global postal system and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), however, do not need to include AED. This discrepancy has left law enforcement agencies unable to effectively screen over 1.3 million packages entering the country every day for powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to a bipartisan study from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. A new report from the USPS Office of the Inspector General found that over 90 percent of illicit dark web drug markets deliver through the global postal service, allowing them to avoid the AED requirements of private carriers.

The STOP Act will require AED on all international packages, including those delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, and provides clear deadlines for implementing comprehensive security data. The bill would not create additional costs for the USPS, as any costs would be borne by the senders.

“This is a tremendous success for our first responders, medical professionals, those who suffer from addiction and all Americans who have seen their communities harmed by the opioid epidemic. Closing the postal loophole will have a profound impact on our fight against the crisis,” said Governor Tom Ridge, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “We must now work to ensure that the STOP Act is successfully implemented and its deadlines are met, so that law enforcement has the comprehensive tools they need to keep Americans safe.”

“Today marks a decisive action against the international criminals who have exploited the postal loophole to profit off tragedy,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “Stopping synthetic opioids at the source will help ensure our other efforts to fight the epidemic – from addiction treatment to public education –  are effective. Now we need to make sure the STOP Act is properly enforced and followed so that the loophole is closed once and for all.”

The final version of the STOP Act passed by a vote of 99-1 in the Senate and 353-52 in the House of Representatives. In addition to bipartisan congressional support, the STOP Act was endorsed by groups nationwide that are invested in bringing an end to the opioid epidemic, including the American Medical Association, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Conference of State Legislatures.