ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The holiday season means thousands of packages will be circulating at the post office, but gifts aren’t the only things being mailed.
Dangerous opioids are making their way to communities the same way. But, state leaders announced it’s going to be a lot tougher from now on.
Simply pack, seal, add a stamp and it’s out for delivery. But, before any package reaches its final destination, law enforcement is going the extra mile to make sure dangerous drugs don’t make it.
“We have a highly-dedicated and committed group of CBP officers and, disrupting the flow of illicit narcotics here in Chicago and across the country.”
They’re using K-9’s and new, more advanced technology to detect drugs shipped internationally. The majority of opioids, like fentanyl which is 100 times stronger than morphine, come from China.
“This is the second largest import incoming for fentanyl anywhere in the United States of America. We need to take strong action.”
This year, state police alone collected more than 16-kilos of heroin and 36-kilos of fentanyl.
“We need to go after that and get that stopped from going in.”
During a tour, Governor Bruce Rauner applauded the effort saying it will help combat a growing epidemic. More than 2,000 people died from opioids in the state this year.
“If we don’t take strong action, that number will increase dramatically in the next few years.”
With a state task force up and running, the goal is to cut use by a third in three years. Officials say stopping drugs in their tracks is the right step.
The U.S. Postal Service already inspects packages for narcotics. Local law enforcement says opioids aren’t typically mailed locally, but they’re happy this could slow drug trafficking down.
Law enforcement and public health officials on the opioid task force have other initiatives underway. Governor Rauner announced a 24-hour opioid crisis hotline which will open soon.
Also, a prescription drug monitoring program is underway. Lastly, state police say they’re working to launch an OD map application allowing health officials and law enforcement to see spikes in overdoses in the community.