H.R. 5228 will provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with stronger recall and seizure authority to disrupt the entry of counterfeit and illicit drugs through International Mail Facilities (IMFs).
Opioid overdose death rates are the leading cause of unintentional, non-traumatic death in the United States, claiming approximately 116 lives per day or over 42,000 deaths per year. While increased use of prescription opioids has contributed to the opioid epidemic, the use of internationally manufactured synthetic opioids have sharply increased over the last five years and were responsible for 20,000 overdoses in 2016.
One of the many ways synthetic opioids reach the U.S. is through International Mail Facilities (IMFs), which receive millions of parcels containing illegal or unapproved drugs annually. The SCREEN Act would strengthen FDA’s authority to detain, refuse, and destroy illegal substances identified in IMFs, improve enforcement mechanisms, and provide funding to better combat the influx of illegally manufactured opioids into the country.
The bill sponsor stated, “[i]f we are serious about combatting the opioid epidemic, we need to provide FDA with the funding and tools needed to take on the illicit drug trade taking place through the international mail system. The SCREEN Act will provide FDA with the expanded authority and capacity needed to more effectively combat the influx of deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl reaching our shores through the mail. . . .”