Data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its confiscation of packages containing substances coming through international mail shows few of them contain opioids, Kaiser Health News (KHN) reports. The overwhelming majority of the packages were uncontrolled prescription medications that people had ordered, such as generic Viagra.
Congress gave the FDA $10 million in 2022 and 2023 to increase efforts to interdict shipments of opioids and other unapproved drugs.
KHN analyzed two years of data from the agency, and found just 33 packages of opioids and no fentanyl sent by mail in 2022 out of almost 53,000 drug shipments FDA inspectors examined at international mail facilities. In addition to erectile dysfunction pills, the FDA also found prescribed medicines to treat asthma, diabetes, cancer and HIV. Polling indicates about 8% of Americans say they or someone else in their household has ordered medicines from overseas to save money.
KHN also obtained data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the primary screener at mail facilities, and found that agency also found few opioids. Of more than 30,000 substances it intercepted in 2022 at international mail facilities, just 111 were fentanyl and 116 were other opioids.