The Biden administration has an opportunity to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic in a unique area: the postal system.
This opportunity is the result of a 2018 federal law that required the U.S. Postal Service and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to begin turning away international packages that lack advance electronic data (AED) in order to prevent opioids and other illicit goods from entering the country through the mail system. AED is a valuable resource for law enforcement and the postal service as it includes information about the shipper, recipients, and contents of an international postal package.
But years of delays, exacerbated by slow compliance in federal agencies, have led to missed deadlines and have allowed deadly substances to enter the country. After Congress provided an extension in December 2020, CBP was required to issue regulations by March 15, 2021, to finalize new rules for refusing international packages that lack AED. The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will be issuing regulations soon but has not yet published them in the Federal Register.
For the Biden administration, establishing and firmly enforcing new rules for international packages would strengthen homeland security. The new rules could block one of the key pathways that illegal narcotics take into the United States and contain the ongoing overdose epidemic.
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