Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

Kathryn Alexander (Clark) 202-706-8806

Senator Markey and Rep. Clark Call for 100% Fentanyl Scanning for International Mail, Cargo

50 times stronger than heroin, 100 times stronger than morphine, illicit fentanyl was linked to 89 percent of opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2019

Washington (September 24, 2019) – In an effort to stem the flow of illicit fentanyl into the country, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05) have introduced legislation to mandate 100 percent screening of all inbound international mail and express cargo from high-risk countries for illicit fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids. The Screening All Fentanyl-Enhanced (SAFE) Mail Act (S.2323/HR.4102) would utilize automated, non-intrusive technology to detect fentanyl in inbound international mail and express cargo, the primary manner in which the drug is trafficked into the United States. Fentanyl is arriving in the mail principally from the People’s Republic of China, posing grave risks to purchasers and users. The federal government is currently able to screen only a tiny fraction of all inbound international mail and express cargo into the United States for fentanyl, whose influx into the United States is causing tens of thousands of deaths annually.

“Fentanyl continues to flood into the United States, largely from China and largely through the mail and private carriers like FedEx and UPS,” said Senator Markey. “It killed more than 30,000 people in the United States last year. We simply have to stop it, and we can’t rely on China or other countries to do so. After 9/11, when we lost 3,000 lives, Congress passed my law to require 100 percent cargo screening, in order to prevent another tragedy. But now we’re seeing ten times that number die from fentanyl each year. We have to reach 100 percent fentanyl screening of mail and packages from high-risk countries like China if we are going to begin to turn the tide. The technology that will allow us to automatically and non-intrusively detect fentanyl in the mail is on the horizon. We need to complete research and development and then deploy it. Far too many lives are at stake for a less ambitious response.” 

“Fentanyl is present in 89% of overdose deaths in Massachusetts. It’s terrifying how prevalent this lethal drug is in communities across Massachusetts and the country,” said Congresswoman Clark. “If we are going to stop the suffering, we need to prevent fentanyl from entering the country by targeting the most common distribution channel, the U.S. Postal Service. This bill will provide the USPS the support and technology they need to screen packages and hopefully end the flow of foreign fentanyl that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.”

A copy of the SAFE Mail Act can be found HERE.

The legislation is endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).