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Senate Probe Concludes Opioids from China Enter US By Mail

27 January, 2018, 20:19 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • EnlargeGetty | Drew Angerer

A bipartisan report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee released Wednesday shows that massive amounts of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, are infiltrating the country through the U.S. Postal Service, largely purchased online from illicit manufacturing operations in China, reports CBS News.

"In my home state of OH, fentanyl and its variations were involved in nearly 60 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016", declared Chairman Portman. When we see overdoses in Highland County, they're often fentanyl-related overdoses.

Postal and Customs authorities must do a better job at screening worldwide mail shipments for opioids arriving in the United States via "Express Mail", Sen.

The US Postal Service has failed to install a system to identify advanced electronic data (AED) with regards to shipments destined for American arrival points, which would help US Customs and Border Protection agents spot suspicious packages.

He said implementing the use of electronic data is slowed by the need to negotiate with worldwide partners, but the service is making progress.

Senate investigators explained that their report entailed a year-long probe into just six websites affiliated with Chinese labs.


AP reporters found multiple sellers willing to ship carfentanil - an opioid used as an elephant tranquilizer that is so potent it has been considered a chemical weapon.

Many common opioids can be purchased through Chinese pharmacy websites with some vendors even openly bragging about how they avoid drug screenings.

Researchers on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also contacted Chinese sellers directly.

According to the report, China's enormous pharmaceutical industry also harbors thousands of illegal labs that produce counterfeit drugs and is responsible for the majority of synthetic opioids that flow into the United States.

Daniel Baldwin, right, section chief in the Office of Global Enforcement at the Drug Enforcement Administration, testifies during a Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on worldwide mail and the opioid crisis, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In one case, the investigators traced orders from an online seller in China to a MI man who wired $200 in November 2016. A day later, the MI man died of an overdose from drugs, including a chemical similar to fentanyl. The result is thousands of pounds of opioids entering the USA via the mail every year. Portman. "These 300 people were located in 43 states, with individuals in my home state of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida sending the most money to the online sellers". "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defences against this deadly drug and help save lives".

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