February 14, 2017

Senator Hassan Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Curb Importation of Deadly Fentanyl from Other Countries

Senator Hassan Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Curb Importation of Deadly Fentanyl from Other Countries

STOP Act Will Build on Efforts to Combat Heroin, Opioid & Fentanyl Crisis in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON - Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in co-sponsoring the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, bipartisan legislation designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States. Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives today as well.

Specifically, the STOP Act would require shipments from foreign countries through our postal system to provide electronic advance data-such as who and where it is coming from, who it's going to, where it is going, and what's in it-before they cross our borders and enter the United States. Having this information in advance will enable CBP 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 spread of fentanyl on our streets is exacerbating our heroin and opioid crisis, killing people faster with smaller amounts, and the importation of fentanyl through the postal system is making our efforts to combat this crisis more difficult," said Senator Hassan. "More than 70 percent of confirmed New Hampshire drug deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl, and increasing the oversight of packages from countries where we know fentanyl is coming from via the mail is essential to stemming the tide of this epidemic. By requiring the U.S. Postal Service to meet the same standards as private companies when accepting international packages, we can help prevent these illegal drugs from crossing our borders. I hope our colleagues will work with us to pass this legislation without delay and work with the Postal Service and other agencies to effectively implement the statute."

Fentanyl and, increasingly, carfentanil are causing a spike in overdoses and deaths around the country, including New Hampshire. China and India have been cited as the primary source countries for illicitly produced fentanyl and carfentanil in the United States. Companies based in these and other foreign countries take advantage of weaknesses in international mail security standards to break U.S. customs laws and regulations by shipping drugs directly through the U.S. postal system. Unlike UPS or FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service does not require advance electronic customs data for the vast majority of mail entering the United States. Because of the volume of mail, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot manually scan these packages and stop illicit goods from crossing our borders.

As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan focused on a comprehensive approach to combat the substance abuse crisis in New Hampshire, including cracking down on fentanyl, which has been a major cause of deaths among Granite Staters battling addiction, and establishing a statewide grant program to assist local law enforcement in seizing illicit drugs and arresting dealers.

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