Approximately eight Ohioans a day die from unintentional drug overdoses, according to the Ohio Department of Health. A chief culprit is fentanyl, a synthetic drug up to 50 times more powerful than heroin that is shipped from countries like China to drug traffickers in the U.S. through the United States Postal Service. That is why Senator Portman authored the bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Actlegislation designed to help save lives by keeping deadly drugs like fentanyl out of the United States. Today, a USA Today Editorial highlighted how the STOP Act would do just that:

Much of the fentanyl, which can be ordered on the Internet, comes into this country from China and Mexico often in small packages via private shippers and the U.S. mail. Customs and Border Protection officers, looking to intercept illegal shipments, now have to go through bags and bins of parcels manually, a daunting task.

The Postal Service could more easily spot fentanyl if it had some basic data — who and where the package is coming from and the recipient’s name and address — in advance. That would “aid in targeting shipments,” a top Customs official told a Senate hearing last May.

Although a federal law has required private shippers to provide advance electronic data since 2002, the Postal Service’s participation was left up to the postmaster general and leaders of another Cabinet department.  More than 15 years later, the Postal Service still doesn’t demand this advance data from all countries.

Since 2016, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and a bipartisan coalition that has grown to 29 senators and 252 House members have pushed a commonsense measure to require that all countries provide this electronic data.

The president’s commission on opioids supports it, too.

NOTE: The STOP Act has been endorsed by President Trump’s opioid commission, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and the Fraternal Order of Police. In May, Portman chaired a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) hearing on the STOP Act and stopping illicit drugs from being shipped into the United States. During the hearing, Newtown, Ohio Police Chief Thomas Synan, Jr. and Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson testified that the STOP Act would help them address the fentanyl crisis in Ohio. The Customs and Border Protection Acting Director and the Postal Service Inspector General also urged Congress to act on the bipartisan legislation.