Chief Postal Inspector: We’re fighting opioid crisis

By Guy Cottrell – January 7, 2018
The U.S. Postal Service is deeply concerned about America’s opioid crisis and has been working aggressively with law enforcement and key trading partners to stem the flow of illegal drugs entering the United States.

In collaboration with federal agencies and state and local law enforcement, improved investigative techniques have increased our ability to interdict opioids such as fentanyl. From fiscal year 2016 through 2017, the Postal Inspection Service has achieved a 375% increase in international parcel seizures and an 880% increase in domestic parcel seizures related to opioids.

The Postal Service further executed an agreement with Customs and Border Protection to define responsibilities and leverage shared technological solutions to improve interdiction efforts and enhance global security.

As to the STOP Act, the Postal Service fully supports its goal of increasing advanced electronic data. We’ve consistently advanced AED collection and sharing through negotiations with key trading partners.

The Postal Service prioritizes obtaining AED from the largest volume foreign posts, which collectively account for more than 90% of inbound volumes, and which, unlike some countries, have the capability to provide the information.

The Postal Service is very different from commercial operators such as UPS and FedEx. They have direct relationships with international customers and can require them to provide AED before accepting their packages.

The Postal Service receives international packages from foreign posts and must therefore secure cooperation from them, including through bilateral and multilateral negotiations, to obtain AED. In the past three years, we have gone from receiving almost no AED on inbound shipments to achieving about 40%.

Unfortunately, the STOP Act currently does not recognize the relevant distinctions between commercial and postal operators and includes provisions not directly related to strengthening global security. We have suggested thoughtful modifications to make the bill workable and effective and which we can fully support.

The Postal Service will continue to work tirelessly to address this serious societal issue.

Guy Cottrell is chief inspector of the U.S. Postal Service.

Source: USA Today

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