A bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would help protect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees from accidental exposure to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
The CBP isn’t prepared for accidental exposure, has inadequate training procedures, and fails to ensure that the most common antidote is readily available, according to a Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report.
The Synthetic Opioid Exposure Prevention and Training Act of 2020 requires the CBP train officers who could come in contact with the drugs in the line of duty, provide protective equipment to officers who may be exposed, and issue safety protocols for handling synthetic opioids.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
“In 2019, Customs and Border Protection employees in the Detroit field office seized more than ten pounds of illicit fentanyl, an amount that could contain as many as 1.5 million lethal doses,” Peters said. “A lethal dose of fentanyl is about the same size as just a few grains of salt, so it’s absolutely vital that our nation’s border security professionals have the training, equipment, and resources they need to safely search for, handle and dispose of this deadly substance.”