Economy

Congressional probe finds opioids are being shipped from China through USPS

Congressional probe finds opioids are being shipped from China through USPS

It is not new news that China has been named as the main source for illicit fentanyl flooding the United States, which is increasingly being found in counterfeit painkillers and anxiety meds, but the report identifies the ease of accessing the drugs online and the loophole in the global mail system, revealing why the issue hasn't been adequately tackled by Customs and Border Protection.

Compounding the epidemic of opioid usage in the United States, which President Trump has declared a national public health emergency, a year-long probe by a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs investigations subcommittee discovered a gap in the mail service that allows Americans to purchase the drug easily over the internet.

Investigators refused to divulge the names of the labs.

The report highlights the discrepancy between commercial shippers, such as UPS and FedEx, and the US Postal Service, where commercial shippers are required by law to provide information to Customs and Border Protection about the parcels they ship to help identify suspicious parcels but the same can not be said for packages posted via the US Postal Service.

A congressional report finds China-based opioid manufacturers are flooding the USA with drugs through the postal service.

USPS is "prioritizing obtaining AED from the largest volume foreign posts, which collectively account for over 90 percent of inbound volumes", the statement added.

Investigators for the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations posed as online buyers and exchanged messages with six websites, according to the report.

More news: India, ASEAN discuss ways to push SME, start-up ecosystem

US fatalities linked to opioids including fentanyl have been rising dramatically and totaled more than 42,000 in 2016, according to government data.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), ranking member of the subcommittee, said the bipartisan investigation revealed how "incredibly easy" it is to buy drugs online and ship them by mail.

The investigation has also identified seven synthetic opioid-related deaths in the United States, and 18 arrests on drug-related charges, to Chinese sellers operating online.

The investigation concluded that the US Postal Service received AED on 36 percent of all incoming global packages, which means that some 318 million parcels previous year fell below the radar.

However, postal service officials have noted that they've gotten better at vetting questionable shipments, as they will "continue to work tirelessly to address this serious societal issue", according to spokesman David Partenheimer.

The investigation was overseen by Republican Senator Rob Portman of OH, the subcommittee chairman, and Senator Tom Carper of DE, the panel's senior Democrat.

The report recommended tighter monitoring of global shipments, increased inspections and other steps.


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