The Partnership for Safe Medicines Praises Passage of STOP Act as Critical
Tool to Detect Illegal Substances in International Mail Shipments

U.S. Senate Strikes Back Against Chinese Fentanyl Traffickers

Washington, D.C. (October 24, 2018) – Marv Shepherd, former director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies and Chairman of the Pharmacy Administration Division at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy, today joined with Kenneth McCall, former president of the Maine Pharmacy Association and a licensed pharmacist, in praising the enactment and signing into law of HR 6, Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act” or the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which includes the STOP Act. Both Shepherd and McCall are Board members of The Partnership for Safe Medicines.

“Overdoses tied to synthetic opioids killed nearly 30,000 Americans last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Dr. Shepherd. “The international mail system has been a huge asset for fentanyl traffickers because their product can easily hide among the incredible volume of small packages coming through international mailports every day. By passing and enacting the STOP Act, Congress and the Administration have taken an important step to strengthen the electronic capabilities of customs authorities to assess which packages merit closer inspection. The loophole they’ve used to hurt and kill Americans is going to get smaller.”

Fentanyl’s route from rogue Chinese labs to the United States via the mail system has been well documented by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and multiple media outlets. Millions of small packages move through America’s international mail facilities each day and fentanyl can be deadly in doses as little as two milligrams.

The nation’s opioid crisis has now become a fentanyl crisis. PSM has documented discovery of fake prescription medications made with fentanyl in 45 different states. These counterfeit prescription medications have killed Americans in 26 of those states thus far, with the death toll rising by the month.

“We applaud lawmakers for taking this necessary action that will, quite literally, save lives,” said Kenneth McCall, PSM Board member and professor of pharmacy at the University of New England. “After years of seeing life expectancy in the United States increase, we’re in the third consecutive year of decline. This is, in no small part, due to the increase in drug overdoses, which are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. We haven’t seen this kind of impact on life expectancy since the flu epidemic at the beginning of the 20th century. We’re facing a public health crisis of historic proportions and the passage of the STOP Act is an important tool to prevent it from worsening.”