Senate Committee Report Says Easy To Buy Opioids Online From China
Investigators for the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee recently released a report that illustrates how easy it is to buy opioids online from China and have them delivered to the U.S. through the postal service.
Specifically, in the past year, they found more than 500 transactions, for a total of $230,000, to 43 states between sellers in China and American buyers, resulting in at least seven overdoses. Most of the Chinese sellers preferred Bitcoin payments, but some accepted PayPal and Credit Cards.
The drugs were shipped via U.S. Mail versus couriers, which are more likely to be intercepted by customs.
The report says that the U.S. Postal Service and Customs and Border patrol (CBP) “failed to recognize and prepare for the increase in international shipments” including such drugs as fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
The subcommittee doesn’t appear to be blaming USPS but is instead contending that the agency was not equipped to monitor illegal substances being shipped, considering the amount of mail that is processed each day. The sellers are taking advantage of failure on the part of the postal service to fully implement an electronic data system that could help detect suspicious shipments.
In a statement, the postal service asserted that it is “working aggressively” to curb the flow of illicit drugs, but that it is also restricted in ways that other shippers are not:
“The Postal Service is very different from commercial operators like UPS and FedEx because they have direct relationships with their international customers and can require them to provide advance electronic data before accepting their packages.”
The U.S. Postal Service further said it had made significant progress in the past year identifying packages with opioids intercepted by customs.
In response, China stated now that it is willing to work with the U.S. in the battle against opioid shipments
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying from a briefing:
“Anti-drug coordination is one of the highlights of China-U.S. law enforcement cooperation. We stand ready to work with the U.S. to enhance our coordination in this field.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A. Psychology