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October 24, 2022

Trone, Markey Urge Biden Administration to Ramp Up Efforts to Stop Synthetic Opioid Trafficking Through the Mail


October 24, 2022

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, 

Trone, Markey Urge Biden Administration to Ramp Up Efforts to Stop Synthetic Opioid Trafficking Through the Mail

Lawmakers also request GAO reviews federal support for community-based substance use programs to identify improvements, ensure cultural competency

Rep. Trone sits down with leaders from John F. Kennedy Airport, the DEA, ONDCP, and RAND to discuss strategies to stem the flow of opioids into the country (October 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman David Trone (D-MD), co-Chair of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a member of the Commission, wrote to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the United States Postal Service (USPS), calling on them to take additional steps to stop the mailing of synthetic opioids into the country. Separately, the lawmakers wrote to the General Accountability Office (GAO) asking it to examine how federal programs that address substance use disorder can be improved. The letters follow Congressman Trone and Senator Markey’s ongoing efforts urging the Biden administration to adopt key policy recommendations from the Commission’s February report.

Separately, Congressman Trone also wrote letters to the Ambassadors of Mexico and China today calling for global cooperation to stem the manufacturing and trafficking of fentanyl and its precursors into the United States.

In their letter to CBP and USPS, the lawmakers pointed to the more than 90 countries receiving waivers for tracking inbound international mail, put in place by the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. This required tracking, using Advanced Electronic Data (AED), comprises critical information about international shipments, which CBP uses to target and intercept shipments that might contain illegal drugs, such as fentanyl. 

“The more than 90 countries still receiving AED waivers under the STOP Act pose a potential risk to our efforts to stop the flow of illicit fentanyl into this country,” the lawmakers wrote to CBP and USPS. “Those waivers increase the likelihood that traffickers will ship synthetic opioids or their precursors to the United States through an AED-exempt country as an intermediary, thereby evading the STOP Act’s requirements. CBP must address these types of transshipment risks as soon as possible.”

In a separate letter, the lawmakers asked the GAO to review the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, which supports some 700 community efforts across the country in identifying and addressing substance use and substance use disorder. Specifically, they requested the GAO examine evidence-based and cost-effective DFC programming efforts and how those efforts can be made more culturally competent to establish trust and meet the needs of underrepresented communities.

“Increasing social supports for individuals, families, and communities can help prevent substance use and the progression to substance use disorder. It is our obligation to ensure the federal government is doing all it can to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of ONDCP’s efforts in this area,” said the lawmakers.

The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking was established by the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act and tasked with examining the threat that synthetic opioids pose to the United States, and with developing a bipartisan, strategic approach to stanching their flow into the country. To learn more about the Commission and its findings, click here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.