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.
Port of Entry
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-19-53Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
CBP facilities we visited appeared to be operating in compliance with the 2015 National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search. With the exception of inconsistent cleanliness of the hold rooms, we observed that unaccompanied alien children had access to toilets and sinks, drinking water, beverages (including milk and juice drinks), as well as snacks and food. Unaccompanied alien children had access to hygiene items and clean bedding at all facilities we visited. We did not encounter issues with temperatures or ventilation, access to emergency medical care, inadequate supervision, or access to telephones. We also observed that CBP Office of Field Operations (OFO) ports of entry had offices and storage spaces redesigned into hold rooms to be able to detain more unaccompanied alien children, family units, and other border crossers referred for processing. We made no recommendations in this report.Report NumberOIG-18-87Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2018