Congressman Mike Bishop on Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation designed to stop the flow of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, in the international mail system.

The bill, called the Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act of 2018, was co-sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrel. Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires advance electronic data for shipments by private carriers into the United States. Officials say that the data enables them to target high-risk shipments for inspection and seizure. However, those requirements do not currently extend to international mail shipments sent through the U.S. Postal Service, which Bishop says creates a “significant vulnerability…allowing criminals to ship synthetic opioids into the United States with ease.”

The legislation will require the postal service to obtain the advanced data for 70% of international mail shipments by the end of this year and 95% before 2023. It would also empower them to refuse shipments from foreign mail services that fail to comply. The bill was passed unanimously Wednesday by the House Ways & Means Committee. (JK)