snowy mail box, fentanyl

A potent and dangerous opioid, fentanyl, is largely responsible for the dramatic increase in deaths over the last couple of years. The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis. In response, medical professionals severely limit the amounts of narcotics they prescribe. But fentanyl is not a first-line pain reliever. Instead, doctors reserve fentanyl in the form of a transdermal patch for people with cancer pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments. So where is all the fentanyl coming from to fuel the opioid epidemic?

Fentanyl from China Travels Through the Mail:

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs investigations subcommittee reports that Chinese chemical labs are selling fentanyl online. Buyers then receive the product in the mail. Because the drug is so potent, small quantities are diluted and sold on the street for huge profits.

It seems that these unscrupulous operators on both sides of the border are taking advantage of a weakness in the US Postal Service. The USPS has not completely implemented a system that would use advanced electronic data to identify suspicious packages and alert US Customs and Border Protection about them.

A Few Providers Made a Lot of Money:

The Senate committee said they have identified 500 online fentanyl transactions worth nearly $800 million. Many were shipped by Express Mail, an international delivery service that utilizes the USPS facilities in the US. Most of these deals could be tracked to six extremely active providers, most of them in China. The investigators linked these particular transactions to  seven deaths.

Will the USPS Step Up to the Challenge?

The Senators are calling for the Postal Service and the US Customs and Border Protection Agency to improve its technology to protect against this deadly drug. Other international shippers such as FedEx and DHL are already using technology to detect and reject suspicious packages. As a result, the online sellers charge extra if the buyer wants to use one of these rather than the USPS. That’s because they recognize a greater probability that the purchase would need to be shipped again.

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  1. Cindy

    First, it is the job of the FDA and other Government agencies that are responsible for finding out where and how the drugs are coming into the hands of the abusers. The USPS has enough on their hands.
    There are programs set up to watch how much of these drugs are being sold in each pharmacy. The Government agencies are getting paid to look the other way. They know that there are pharmacys making money, looking the other way. Their pockets are being filled by the drug makers. They want more Fentanyl out there, greed is the reason people are dying.

  2. Cindy B
    Seattle, WA

    It’s so very sad and infuriating that when you look at problem after problem, issue after issue — from murdering the last rhino for its horn, to melamine in baby formula and toxins in pet food, to selling fentanyl by mail — the culprit at the bottom of it is always CHINA!!! The Chinese are all pragmatism. They seem to care little or nothing for sentient life on this planet. I was there, and I watched them murdering dogs and cats by the thousands. And worse — much worse — they tortured the poor creatures before they were murdered, by stuffing them into wire crates like potatoes or onions for transport in the bottoms of buses and the like, without food or water or even the ability to lie down. Do ya really think they care about American drug abusers? I think not.

  3. Pablo Vilas
    Seattle, WA

    It would be helpful to know the perceived effects of and typical claims about fentanyl. Online sellers of supplements for body-building, pain management, intelligence enhancement, etc. may add undeclared ingredients to their products. It is very risky to take supplements ordered online. In addition to one’s health, there is also a risk of getting scammed and receiving unauthorized charges against one’s credit card.

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