President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to quickly pass a measure that would stop illicit synthetic opioid drugs such as fentanyl from being transported into the United States from China through the postal system.
“It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China,” he wrote in an Aug. 20 Twitter post.
Fentanyl is an opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, about 19,400 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, other than methadone.
“We can, and must, END THIS NOW! The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!” Trump continued in the post.
In June, the House appproved the STOP Act, among a barrage of comprehensive measures to combat the opioid crisis; the Senate has yet to act on the bill.
The president’s comments come amid talk that the administration will soon release a highly anticipated report aimed at reforming the U.S. Postal Service.
The STOP Act legislation, first introduced in September 2016 by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and then-Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, strengthens postal rules and would require mail shipped through foreign postal services to send the same electronic advance data as private carriers such as United Postal Service or FedEx.
The act also highlights that most of the drugs are being sent from places such as China and India, and often via mail.
The data would enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection to “better target potential illegal packages and keep these dangerous drugs from ending up in the hands of drug traffickers who want to harm our local communities.”
The legislation also includes another drug called carfentanil—the same class of drug as fentanyl, only 100 times more potent. Carfentanil has been used as a sedative for large animals, and also is banned from the battlefield under the Chemical Weapons Convention.