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Congress Investigates Use of Postal Service To Smuggle Opioids Into US From China

by Countable | 1.30.18

What’s the story?

A congressional investigators on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations spent over a year discovering and documenting how Chinese sellers have been using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to ship fentanyl and other synthetic opioids direct to U.S. buyers.

The committee uncovered that USPS failure to fully implement an electronic data system that would help authorities identify suspicious shipments is the reason the illegal drug sales have slipped through. The USPS has committed to expanding implementation, but has to negotiate with foreign partners, which slows down the process.

Chinese official Hua Chunying, following the release of the committee’s report on January 24, made a statement that China is willing to fight along with U.S. law enforcement to crack down on the illegal shipments, reports the Miami Herald:

"Anti-drug coordination is one of the highlights of China-U.S. law enforcement cooperation. We stand ready to work with the U.S. to enhance our coordination in this field."

The massive growth in shipments to the U.S. from China due to e-commerce is further complicating USPS efforts to identify suspect packages. The report found in 2017 their efforts were not improving, though the USPS disputes those findings.

The Senate investigators traced the online sales shipped through the USPS from China to seven U.S. opioid deaths and 18 drug arrests. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), committee chair, insisted that the federal government must take action to protect the public:

"The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defenses against this deadly drug and help save lives."

What do you think?

Do you support federal efforts to stop the influx of opioids entering the U.S. through the Postal Service? What other efforts to combat opioid deaths do you think should be getting support and attention? Is your community struggling with the opioid crisis? How is your community handling it?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(50)
  • Spoon
    01/31/2018
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    Didn’t the President just tweet that the biggest drug problem was drugs from Mexico? 🙊

    Like (19)
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  • Jackie
    01/31/2018
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    What,I thought Trump says all drugs are smuggled into usa by bad hombres from Mexico and wall would stop them. Could that be a lie. Shocking. Maybe he needs to build that worthless wall around the postal service.

    Like (14)
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  • KansasTamale
    01/31/2018
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    This all sounds good on the surface and for the constituents of The sponsoring People, but do they seriously think they are going to be able to get China to coordinate with the US to control Opioids?? China does what makes China money. They aren’t going to care about people dying in the US. Heck, Congress & Trump don’t care about people in the US dying from no insurance or healthcare, they sure don’t care about opioid deaths.

    Like (11)
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  • David
    01/31/2018
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    Our own drug companies are killing Americans by the thousands, while our “representatives” play make believe that “drugs are streaming over the boarder”.

    Like (9)
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  • John
    01/30/2018
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    It’s time to give the USPS the funds they need and stop taking away their profits.

    Like (7)
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  • Natalia
    01/31/2018
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    Investigate American pharmaceutical companies and the number of opioids they’re producing and their profits from those drugs.

    Like (5)
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  • Bridget
    01/31/2018
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    To my representatives, I do not believe focusing on one supply route is going to stop the demand for drugs. Until there is accessible rehabilitation, job placement, mental health support, and healthcare resources drugs will find a way in. I think this focus on "blame" of where the drugs are coming from is just going to harm more people. Yes, it's all well and good to try to cut off the supply, but if the demand is still there, they will find a way in. Besides we should also be focusing on better opioid prescribing education for healthcare providers and patients about opioid prescriptions, as well as better pharmaceutical overview. Please consider community engagement and more money going to rehabilitation centers, rather than one supply source.

    Like (4)
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  • Maryjane
    01/31/2018
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    Where are our Drug-sniffing Dogs to detect drugs in packages from China?

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  • Monica
    01/31/2018
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    We do not need a wall! We need more inspectors to deal with airport cargo, and our ports.

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  • Karoline
    01/31/2018
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    are you f-ing kidding me? we’re gonna waste money and time investigating opioids coming from china when we have evidence coming out of our ears of american drug companies supplying synthetic opioids to patients like it’s halloween? well if that ain’t deflection i don’t know what is...

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  • James
    01/31/2018
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    Ok! As China is the largest supplier of Opium to the American pharmaceutical industry “legally”! This sounds like black market stuff to me. As this stuff does come from China we must prove Chinese government involvement! Perhaps that’s been done! I wouldn’t put anything past them!

    Like (3)
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  • RickEberhardt
    01/30/2018
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    Why isn’t the FBI investigating this already? With Congress looking into this we’ll never get a resolution of this matter.

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  • Hank
    01/31/2018
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    OK - good idea, BUT …1) #45’s M A G A is not investigating the interference by Russia in our electoral process that continues today. 2) #45’s M A G A makes no effort to investigate domestic terrorism, including known hate groups.

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  • Hal
    01/31/2018
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    How about the investigation into the McKesson Drug Company pay attention to that and you'll find out where a lot of this poison is coming from and the fact that the only paid a little over a million dollars in a fine after 2-year investigation and they weren't prosecuted and it wasn't heard about on the news

    Like (3)
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  • RadicalModerate
    01/30/2018
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    China has no incentive to crackdown on drug manufacturers. They don’t have a drug problem. All the dope that comes in the mail from china and India comes in blister packs printed, “ FOR EXPORT ONLY”. Can you imagine if all the meth made in America was shipped overseas? There would be shipping containers full of money coming back and no one would want to shut it down. Please legalize cannabis to decrease demand for Chinese opiates.

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  • Amy
    01/31/2018
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    It's always good to have extra protection for criminal activity. I'm sorry, but I can't help but wonder if this is another tactic by trump to find a way to eliminate the postal service in his wholesale attack on our federal programs.

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  • J
    01/31/2018
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    Congress needs to spend the money to help the USPS to update their services and to aid in the fight against illegal drug trafficking. Republicans, you can’t be cheap if you want to do things right.

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    01/31/2018
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    Root-Cause: Congress should seek a way to address the root cause of every issue we face. If it were feasible for Americans to have the healthcare that Congress has, then good American Citizens may not be so unhealthy and seeking alternative options to address their health issues. Hence, we wouldn’t have the opioid epidemic that our congress helped to create, along with greedy American Corporations.

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  • MFein10
    01/30/2018
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    Thank you Senator Portman for protecting the lives of your Ohio constituents!

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  • Andrea
    01/31/2018
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    And a wall won’t stop mail from China.

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