Interagency Competition Seeks to Thwart Opioid Trafficking Through the Mail

The Opioid Detection Challenge is headed by the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate, in collaboration with Customs and Border Protection, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Prize money will go to “innovators” who “submit novel plans for rapid, non-intrusive detection tools” that identify illicit opioids coming into the country through international mail.

“The technologies that emerge from this innovation challenge will be important elements of our multi-layered approach to combat the flow of opioids and other dangerous illicit drugs,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

The Postal Inspection Service called the competition the “first of its kind” and said it would “help identify the next generation of interdiction tools.”

CBP is responsible for inspecting the packages at the U.S. Postal Service’s international mail facilities, though investigations can involve Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Postal Inspection Service and other federal offices. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act that Trump signed last year tasked CBP, USPS and other agencies with collaborating to develop new technology to help customs officers better detect illicit drugs in the mail.

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