The US Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has voiced its strong support for a new bill aimed at cracking down on illicit drug imports.
The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act (S.372) was introduced by Senator Rob Portman earlier this month with the aim of stopping dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil – often copies of genuine prescription medicines – from being shipped into the US.
In a letter to Sen. Portman, FOP national president Chuck Canterbury expresses the organization's "strong support" for the bill, noting that "recent reports from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission have found that much of this synthetic fentanyl is produced in China and then trafficked into the US."
Chinese manufacturers are taking advantage of weaknesses in international mail security standards to break customs laws in the US, the letter continues, pointing out that unlike packages entering the US through private carriers such as UPS or FedEx, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not receive advance electronic customs data for the clear majority of foreign mail entering the US Postal Service."
STOP will close that loophole and allow CBP to effectively enforce customs laws, according to Canterbury. The legislation comes after a string of fatal overdoses across the US involving people who have inadvertently taken fentanyl and carfentanil, in some cases after consuming tablets that mimic prescription opioid analgesics such as oxycodone.
The counterfeit pills sell for between U$10 and $20. At these prices, a kilogram of fentanyl used to manufacture counterfeit pills can generate between $5m and $20m.
Portman introduced the bipartisan bill with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and bipartisan companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Richard Neal (D-MA).
"We have a heroin and prescription drug epidemic in our country, and this crisis is being made worse by an influx of deadly synthetic drugs coming into our states from places like China and India," commented Sen. Portman.
"Drug-traffickers are lacing heroin with fentanyl and other synthetics that are up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine, getting more people addicted and causing the recent spikes in overdoses."