To The Editor:

In addition to the state’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic (“Missouri attorney general demands opioid distributor records,” Nov. 1), strong federal action is needed.

Law enforcement agencies are very frustrated that large quantities of opioids enter the U.S. from China via international mail, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. The well-known solution to curtail this is placing advanced electronic data (AED) on all inbound mail so that it could be tracked. Suspicious items would be more readily identified and intercepted. Private carriers are already required to provide this information.

In Congress, the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Protection or STOP Act would require seven electronic data information points on international mail. The measure is already cosponsored by 242 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and a bi-partisan group of 26 senators, including lead sponsor Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Marco Rubio, Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine. Unfortunately, neither Sens. McCaskill or Blunt have so far cosponsored the measure.

It will not be easy for federal and state policymakers to overcome the opioid epidemic’s enormous problems. Fixing the mail loophole, though, is an important and sensible place to start. 

Note: Paul Steidler is a Senior Fellow with the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank in Arlington, Va.