To help stem the flow of opioids shipped to the United States through the mail, Congress passed the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act of 2018. The law requires all postal packages entering the U.S. from international posts beginning January 1, 2021 to have Advance Electronic Data (AED).
AED refers to electronic messages with information about cross-border packages and the larger shipment with which the package was sent. USPS receives these data from sending posts and forwards it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before packages reach the United States. CBP uses AED to identify packages that might contain illicit items, such as drugs and counterfeit merchandise.
As the deadline for full STOP Act implementation nears, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined the current law, requirements and challenges for the Postal Service; compliance strategies at foreign posts; and options for USPS to handle non-compliant items. The OIG reviewed AED data and reports, conducted interviews, and obtained the perspectives from international posts.