Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Pennsylvania, argues that the U.S.’s escalating drug problem can’t be solved until the U.S. closes loopholes in the mail system that permit illegal and deadly drugs to be shipped — undetected — through the U.S. Postal Service.
“[Dealers] are sending drugs through the U.S. Postal Service in packages that are not required to provide the same data that they would have to provide if they sent them through a private carrier like FedEx, UPS, and DHL,” Ridge said in an interview with FOX Business.
Ridge, who is also a member of a bipartisan group called Americans for Securing All Packages, stated that a majority of these illegal drugs, including fentanyl — the extremely addictive opioid similar 50 to 100 times stonger than morphine— are being sent to the U.S. from China.
“China is the culprit. It’s open season. Just send it through your postal service, and it will get through without detection — which is lethal,” Ridge added.
America’s fatal drug overdoses — particularly with opioids — has quadrupled since 1999, with over half a million lives lost since then, the CDC reported.
President Trump has formed a special task force to fight the nation’s crisis during his first 100 days in office. While on the campaign trail, he discussed the potential for drugs to be delivered through the mail.
“We will close the loopholes that China and others are exploiting to send drugs across our borders in the hands of our postal service. These traffickers use loopholes in the Postal Service to mail fentanyl and other drugs to users and dealers in the U.S. A Trump administration will crack down on this abuse, and give law enforcement the tools To accomplish this mission,” Trump said in October during a rally in New Hampshire.
Some policymakers in Washington are again distributing legislation that they say will close loopholes, and tighten international shipping security.
A spokesperson for the Postal Service stated that they are calling “for expanding efforts to keep drugs and other dangerous materials out of the hands of the public and maintaining the safety of our nation’s mail system.”
The U.S. Postal Service told FOX Business it has been enforcing new rules implemented earlier this year by the Universal Postal Union to enhance its ability to require foreign posts to send electronic data.
“For example, the Postal Service is working with Customs and Border Protection to pilot a program called Air Mail Advanced Screening to detect foreign-origin contraband. The USPS is also collaborating with foreign postal operators to increase the proportion of electronic data on inbound international shipments. This has been a priority for Postal Service management, and we are actively pursuing this in multiple fora and negotiations with foreign postal operators,” USPS continued.