Pascrell, Pallone Discuss Legislation to Combat Illicit Opioid Importation at International Mail Center
Secaucus, NJ, May 11, 2018
SECAUCUS, NJ — Today, after a tour of the New Jersey International Bulk Mail Center, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, met with officials of the United State Postal Service (USPS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to discuss recent legislative efforts to combat the importation of illicit opioids into the United States.
Reps. Pascrell and Pallone drafted the Stop Counterfeit Drugs by Regulating and Enhancing Enforcement Now (SCREEN) Act to expand FDA’s authority to prevent illegally manufactured drugs, such as opioids, heroin, and fentanyl, from arriving overseas through the mail. The bill was introduced in 2017 and passed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health last week.
The Congressmen also discussed their support for the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which would require USPS to transmit advance electronic data to the Customs and Border Patrol on international shipments into the United States. The bill, cosponsored by Rep. Pascrell, is scheduled for markup by the House Ways and Means Committee next week.
“Ports of entry are a critical juncture in the flow of synthetic opioids. And without decisive action, these drugs will continue to plague our communities. The STOP Act and the SCREEN Act will provide the CBP and FDA with the resources they need to prevent synthetic opioids from entering our country through the mail,” said Rep. Pascrell. “In 2017 alone, CBP seized more than 1,100 pounds of fentanyl. We cannot continue to let shipments of opioids slip through the cracks. Swift passage of these two bills will take the fight directly to a major source of the problem.”
“I hear so many heartbreaking stories of New Jersey families facing addiction. We need to do whatever we can to stop this devastating epidemic,” said Rep. Pallone. “We need to provide FDA with the funding and tools needed to take on the illicit drug trade taking place through the international mail system at facilities like the New Jersey International Bulk Mail Center. The SCREEN Act will provide FDA with the expanded authority and capacity needed to more effectively combat the influx of deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl reaching our shores through the mail.”
One of the many ways synthetic opioids reach the United States is through International Mail Facilities (IMFs), which receive millions of parcels containing illegal or unapproved drugs annually.
Background on the SCREEN Act:
Background on the STOP Act: