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.
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-19-53Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2019
- 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 NumberOIG-18-83Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2018