MIDDLETOWN – After six people in Orange County died of drug overdoses over the past two weeks, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced the Stop Online Opioid Sales Act to require the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to collect information on online drug sales and issue an annual report to inform a solution to combating the problem.
Because there is no comprehensive reporting on the sale of drugs through the internet, the Senate investigated the issue and last month issued a report indicating that Americans acquired $800 million in fentanyl from China alone over the past two years.
“We’ve lost six people to overdoses in Orange County over just two weeks – we have to use all the tools we can to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic – and that includes fighting online drug sales,” said Rep. Maloney. “My bill will get us the information we need to tackle this problem.”
“Combatting the nationwide opioid epidemic requires innovative solutions, and I commend Congressman Maloney for his approach to tackling the persistent problem related to the internet sales of fentanyl and other harmful opioids,” said New York State Senator John Bonacic. “As a member of the State Senate’s heroin task force, I am committed to working with my partners at the local, state and federal level to end this terrible epidemic.”
“I was very happy to be a part of this event and I am thrilled with this piece of legislation,” said Stephanie Keegan, whose son Daniel, a deceased veteran, ordered drugs online. “I think it will go a long way to slowing down the influx of drugs provided through the internet.”
Federal agencies have not released information on the prevalence of opioid sales online, but last month, a bipartisan coalition of Senators released a 100-page report indicating that online fentanyl sales from China alone totaled over $800 million. Although this problem is expected to be growing, lawmakers lack the detailed reporting necessary to inform a comprehensive action plan. One of the largest barriers to combating international online sales is U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s reliance on foreign partners to provide advanced information on shipping data. Many nations are unable to provide this information, and Customs is required to manually inspect suspect packages at nine facilities throughout the country as a result.
The Stop Online Opioid Sales Act would require the DEA to compile a comprehensive report on the sale of drugs online within a year, and to continue to issue annual reports containing this information. Reports must include the types and amounts of controlled substances sold online, the name of each entity or person selling them, and an estimate of the revenue being generated through these illegal channels. Understanding the extent of the problem of online drug sales is necessary to inform the direction of federal resources and law enforcement techniques for combating it.