Continuing Work to Combat Epidemic, McCaskill Requests USPS Watchdog Investigation Into Opioid Trafficking Through the Mail

WASHINGTON – As part of her ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis and strengthen opioid interdiction efforts, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for the United States Postal Service (USPS) watchdog to investigate how the agency works to identify and seize illegal opioid shipments, including the extent to which USPS workers are involved. USPS reported that the agency increased their opioid seizures by 375 percent in international mail and 880 percent in domestic mail from Fiscal Year 2016 through 2017. McCaskill is currently spearheading the largest Congressional investigation in history into opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“I’ve heard countless, harrowing stories from Missourians in every part of the state about the toll the opioid crisis has taken on their family or community—and I’m committed to tackling this epidemic from every angle possible,” McCaskill said. “A major problem is that it’s too easy for someone to go online, illegally buy opioids, and have them delivered to their front door. This investigation will help us get information we need on what more can be done to make sure opioids aren’t getting into the wrong hands.”

McCaskill is requesting that the USPS Inspector General conduct an investigation into the methods postal workers use to identify and seize illegal opioids in the mail, and what vulnerabilities exist in their systems. “The use of the Postal Service’s network to import and distribute illicit drugs puts the Postal Service, its employees, and the public at risk,” McCaskill wrote to the USPS Acting Inspector General. “To assist in our ongoing efforts to identify ways to address this multifaceted problem, we request that you examine the role of the Postal Service network in facilitating illicit drug distribution, explore the risks and vulnerabilities in postal network systems, and identify opportunities to mitigate those risks.”

McCaskill is the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight jurisdiction over USPS and other federal agencies. Combatting the opioid crisis has been a key focus for the Senator in this role; she is currently leading the largest Congressional investigation to-date into opioid manufacturers and distributors. This past September, McCaskill announced the first round of findings, detailing systemic manipulation of the prior authorization process by Insys Therapeutics. McCaskill has also requested documents from the Departments of State and Homeland Security and USPS about intercepting opioid shipments from foreign countries and targeted opioid shipments from China at a Senate hearing last year.

Read McCaskill’s letter to the USPS Acting Inspector General HERE.