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Opioids

  • DHS Should Seek a Unified Approach when Purchasing and Using Handheld Chemical Identification Devices

    Executive Summary

    DHS does not have a unified approach for procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices despite the widespread use of these devices across multiple components.  We recommended DHS establish a process to coordinate joint needs across components and maximize savings from strategic sourcing opportunities.  We made two recommendations that should help improve unity of effort in procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices.  DHS concurred with recommendation 1 but did not concur with recommendation 2.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-16
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • CBP, ICE, TSA, and Secret Service Have Taken Steps to Address Illegal and Prescription Opioid Use

    Executive Summary

    From fiscal years 2015 through 2018, in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Secret Service appropriately disciplined employees whose drug test results indicated illegal opioid use, based on their employee standards of conduct and tables of offenses and penalties.  Additionally, during the same time period, components have either implemented or are taking steps to evaluate whether employees using prescription opioids can effectively conduct their duties.  For example, components have established policies prohibiting the use of prescription opioids that may impact an employee’s ability to work, in addition to requiring employees to report such prescription opioid use.  They have also implemented or are in the process of implementing measures to evaluate the fitness for duty of employees using prescription opioids.  These policies establish consistent standards components can use to ensure they are allowing employees to use legally-prescribed opioids, while also ensuring their workforce is capable of effectively performing their duties.  We made two recommendations to improve components’ oversight of illegal and prescription opioid use by employees.  CBP and Secret Service concurred with the recommendations, which are both resolved and open.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-05
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Management Alert - CBP Did Not Adequately Protect Employees from Possible Fentanyl Exposure

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a critical role in the Nation’s efforts to interdict dangerous substances and prohibited items at U.S. ports of entry and keep these materials from harming the American public. An important part of CBP’s mission is preventing foreign countries from importing illegal drugs such as opioids into the U.S. CBP is experiencing a rise in seizures of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl that upon exposure can kill in minutes.  CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) Fines Penalties and Forfeitures Division stores, manages, and disposes seized property, including illicit drugs such as fentanyl.  During our ongoing audit of CBP’s storage of seized drugs at permanent drug vaults we visited, we determined that CBP does not adequately protect its staff from the dangers of powerful synthetic opioids.  Specifically, CBP has not always made medications designed to treat narcotic overdose available in case of accidental exposure.  This occurred because CBP lacks an official policy requiring standard workplace practices for handling fentanyl and safeguarding personnel against exposure.  In addition, CBP does not require mandatory training for its staff to provide an understanding of the hazards of fentanyl and methods to combat accidental exposure.  As a result, CBP staff is at increased risk of injury or death in case of exposure.  We made one recommendation to help CBP provide its components with guidance, knowledge, and tools to handle and reverse overdoses from fentanyl and other opioids.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-53
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • CBP's International Mail Inspection Processes Need Improvement at JFK International Airport

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for inspecting all international mail arriving at U.S. airports, with limited exceptions. A major challenge for CBP is preventing imports of opioids and other illegal items mailed from overseas through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). We conducted this audit to determine whether CBP's air mail inspection processes at JFK airport are effective and have adequate information technology (IT) security controls. CBP has ineffective processes and IT security controls to support air mail inspection operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), the largest of nine USPS facilities that receive and handle incoming international mail. Despite legislative requirements to systematically target and widely prevent illegal imports, CBP inspects only a limited number of the hundreds of thousands of pieces of incoming air mail each day, largely due to difficulty inventorying and locating targeted mail, as well as having inadequate guidance, equipment, and resources. These air mail inspection deficiencies hinder CBP's efforts to prevent prohibited items (particularly opioids) from entering the United States.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-83
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
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