Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said it is essential to protect CBP officers and others from exposure to fentanyl and other dangerous chemicals.

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said it is essential to protect CBP officers and others from exposure to fentanyl and other dangerous chemicals. AP file photo

Senators Make Bipartisan Push to Better Protect Feds From Synthetic Opioids

Measure would ensure federal personnel have protective equipment and overdose medications on hand.

A new, bipartisan bill would attempt to limit federal officers’ exposure to potentially deadly shipments of illicit opioids, requiring Customs and Border Protection to create new safety protocols.

The 2020 Synthetic Opioid Exposure Prevention and Training Act (S. 3345) would also require CBP to develop new and regular training for officers who regularly come in contact with substances such as fentanyl. Synthetic drug manufacturers, primarily based in China, have in recent years relied heavily on the U.S. Postal Service and other shippers to send opioids to the United States. CBP employees are typically tasked with screening international packages for drugs and other illicit materials. 

“A lethal dose of fentanyl is about the same size as just a few grains of salt, so it’s absolutely vital that our nation’s border security professionals have the training, equipment and resources they need to safely search for, handle and dispose of this deadly substance,” said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who authored the bill. 

The measure would require the CBP commissioner establish procedures to “reduce the risk of injury or death resulting from accidental exposure and enhance post-exposure management.” The protocols would apply to all customs officers, border agents and other personnel, including canines, who could potentially handle or help identify synthetic opioids. The training would include steps for handling opioids, the proper use of personal protective equipment and how to administer naloxone, a medication to treat opioid overdoses. 

The bill would task CBP with ensuring that adequate naloxone doses and protect equipment are present at all appropriate agency locations, such as ports of entry and the international mail centers where CBP officers conduct inspections. 

“Our CBP officers play a vital role in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic by detecting and stopping the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “It is essential they are protected from exposure to these dangerous chemicals.”

Both the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents customs officers, and the National Border Patrol Council endorsed the bill. 

“NTEU strongly supports this legislation that will help keep these employees safe from deadly narcotics as they inspect, test and intercept illegal drugs,” said Tony Reardon, the union’s president. 

Brandon Judd, head of the Border Patrol union, said agents more than ever “put their lives on the line” as they intercept opioids at the border. 

“With fentanyl seizures becoming increasingly common, we must ensure that every effort is made to protect our brave men and women on the line from possible exposure to this deadly drug,” Judd said. 

Peters last year introduced a bill to require the Postal Service to develop a plan to better prevent synthetic opioid shipments from making their way to the United States. The federal government should soon receive some assistance in its fight against opioids in the mail through “advanced electronic data,” or AED, which provide the Postal Service and CBP with information about the contents of international packages before they reach the United States. A requirement for the data is already imposed on international packages coming into the country through private carriers like FedEx and UPS, but the mandate will apply across the board to international packages arriving through the Postal Service starting in 2021 due to a measure President Trump signed into law last year. 

Supporters of the measure were hopeful it would help stem the flow of illicit, synthetic opioids from foreign manufacturers through the mail system. AED gives customs officers insight into who is sending the packages and allows them to flag questionable content lists based on their knowledge of how the traffickers operate. The Postal Service inspector general, however, recently found the mailing agency does not always take action after CBP flags a shipment for additional review due to information included in its advanced electronic data. As of 2018, the Postal Service received AED on 57% of foreign packages.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.