Baldwin, Cassidy Reintroduce Legislation Targeting Foreign Mail Containing Illicit Opioids

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) are reintroducing the Search Now, Inspect for Fentanyl (SNIFF) Act to allow specially trained U.S. postal workers at U.S. International Service Centers to search mail from foreign countries destined for the U.S. when there is probable cause to believe they contain illicit opioids such as fentanyl or other illegal drugs.

“Right now, illicit drugs, like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids, are being mailed into America from other countries. We need stronger tools to stop this and our bipartisan legislation will help prevent the flow of these drugs, like fentanyl being shipped from China,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin has seen a spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths and in Milwaukee County alone, we had 188 confirmed fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2018. We must take action and do more to stop illegal, foreign fentanyl from entering our country.”

“Fentanyl is flooding our streets and killing Americans,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Right now, if a postal worker at a U.S. International Service Center suspects a package contains illegal drugs, they can’t do a thing about it. This bill improves our ability to intercept drugs before they take more lives in Louisiana and around the country.”

Under the legislation, only mail from foreign countries addressed to the U.S. is subject to being searched, and only after probable cause is established. Regular post offices would not have the authority to search mail; the searches could only be conducted by specially trained employees at the five International Service Centers located in New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Last Congress, Baldwin and Cassidy worked together on the Restricting Entrance and Strengthening the Requirements on Import Controls for Trafficking (RESTRICT) Illicit Drugs Act, which would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) more tools to prevent illegal drugs from entering the country by mail through International Mail Facilities. The RESTRICT Act was included in the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.