Sen. Rob Portman's Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act would require that more electronic data be provided on packages shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.
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The Trump Administration has done the right thing and extended the opioid public health emergency that was set to expire this week.
The 90-day extension will keep the epidemic in the public spotlight. But true results need to take place through legislation in Congress.
“President Trump recently signed [the INTERDICT Act], which will give $15 million for equipment for Customs and Border Patrol. But my STOP Act may be even more important,” Sen. Rob Portman told The Blade’s editorial board.
The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act would require that more electronic data be provided on packages shipped through the U.S. Postal Service. The majority of fentanyl and carfentanil is shipped from illegal pharmacies in China and Mexico through the USPS because other shippers have stricter tracking requirements. The STOP Act is inexplicably still waiting to be voted on despite broad bipartisan support.
“Right now, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” Mr. Portman said of authorities trying to shut down supply lines of drug suppliers.
But Congress also needs to work more closely with the states to increase federal funding for grants that can be tailored for individual states.
Late last week, the National Governors Association sent more than two dozen recommendations to the Trump Administration and congressional leaders. Flexible federal funding was the request of the governors, who emphasized the need for grant money to educate youth and doctors on the epidemic, to allow for coordination between drug prescription databases, to fund treatment and education programs for prisoners who will shortly be released back into society, and to support state and local enforcement efforts.
An emergency declaration by the Trump Administration is not a magic bullet. But it has stimulated additional conversation about the epidemic. Now, Congress needs to continue passing legislation that funds interdiction efforts — such as the STOP Act — and it needs to give the states the money they need to change the tide of this war.
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