USPS responds to Toledo Blade editorial on opioids and the STOP Act

Your editorial, “Choke off fentanyl supply,” falsely implies that the U.S. Postal Service is not aggressively working to implement provisions of the STOP Act to keep dangerous drugs from entering the United States from China and other countries.

Indeed, the Postal Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have informed the postal operator of the People’s Republic of China that in the absence of increased progress toward the STOP Act’s goal of 100 percent Advanced Electronic Data on shipments into the United States that any shipment without AED may be returned at any time. In addition, CBP has notified air and ocean carriers to communicate with postal officials in the People’s Republic of China to confirm that 100 percent of the containers with postal shipments contain AED before loading them onto their conveyance.

Also, contrary to the editorial, the Postal Service has consistently stated that it supports the goals of the STOP Act. We also appreciate Sen. Rob Portman’s steadfast leadership on combating illegal opioids.

The most significant hurdle to obtaining AED on inbound international shipments is that the Postal Service does not control the provision of this information from foreign postal operators. Ultimately, it is necessary for foreign postal operators to provide us with the data. Nevertheless, we have substantially increased the amount of AED transmitted since 2017 through bilateral and multilateral efforts. We have also significantly improved our coordination with CBP and have developed processes to ensure that we take action on CBP requests to hold packages for its inspection.

The Postal Service, in conjunction with the State Department and CBP, have continued to advocate for increased AED requirements and technical capacity building at the Universal Postal Union. For example, at the April, 2019, session of the UPU’s Postal Operations Council, at the urging of the United States, the council issued regulations to require all operators to provide AED on all UPU parcels and on all small-letter post packets containing goods by Jan. 1, 2021, consistent with the STOP Act requirements.

Meanwhile, the Postal Service and its law enforcement arm, the Postal Inspection Service, continue to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and other federal law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal activity and fight the trafficking of illicit drugs like fentanyl.

As it has done throughout its history, the U.S. Postal Service is committed to taking all necessary actions to combat criminal use of the mail as it provides reliable and efficient service to the American public.

The writer is manager of public relations for the U.S. Postal Service.