FACT SHEET: Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act

September 7, 2016 | Press Releases

The heroin and prescription drug epidemic gripping Ohio remains a crisis.  Senator Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) – which was recently signed into law by President Obama – will make a difference by expanding prevention, treatment, and recovery options to help address this epidemic.  In addition, the new law will increase the availability of naloxone so that our first responders can save even more lives.  But more must be done to confront this crisis.

Fentanyl and, increasingly, carfentanil are causing a spike in overdoses and deaths, both in Ohio and around the country.  In just one recent six-day span last week, there were 174 overdoses in Cincinnati alone.  This week, Senator Portman – along with Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) – introduced the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, new legislation designed to help stop dangerous drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States.

China and India have been cited as the primary source countries for illicitly produced fentanyl and carfentanil in the United States.  Companies based in these and other foreign countries take advantage of weaknesses in international mail security standards to break U.S. customs laws and regulations by shipping drugs directly through the U.S. postal system.

Once fentanyl and carfentanil are trafficked into the United States through the mail, they are then distributed by drug traffickers or even taken across the Southwest border to lace other dangerous drugs.  Unlike packages entering the U.S. through private carriers – such as UPS or FedEx – the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not receive advance electronic customs data for the vast majority of mail entering the U.S. through foreign postal services. 

Access to electronic customs data for international mail is a key component to enable CBP to more effectively enforce U.S. customs and trade laws and stop illicit goods from crossing our borders.  Electronic customs data allows CBP to identify and focus screening time and resources on high risk-items, thus helping the CBP to ensure cargo safety and help prevent smuggling.

Senator Portman’s legislation will require shipments from foreign countries through our postal system to provide electronic advance data on packages before they cross our borders and enter the United States.  That includes information like who and where it is coming from; who it’s going to, where it is going, and what’s in it.  Having this information in advance will enable CBP to better target potential illegal packages.  That will help ensure that these dangerous drugs don’t end up in the hands of drug traffickers who want to harm our local communities.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman, 448 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510  202-224-3353