One of the many ways synthetic opioids reach the United States is through international mail facilities, including one in Secaucus, which every year receive millions of parcels of illegal or unapproved drugs. But the Food and Drug Administration is powerless to do anything about it.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, has developed the Stop Counterfeit Drugs by Regulating and Enhancing Enforcement Now (SCREEN) Act to increase funding for enforcement and expand the FDA's authority.

Use of synthetic opioids has sharply increased over the last five years, responsible for 20,000 overdoses in 2016.

Pallone says the SCREEN Act would grant the FDA authority to refuse importation and to destroy drugs on the basis that they have been identified as articles of concern.

He says it also allows the FDA to destroy more than $2,500 worth of drugs (the maximum under current law) if the agency determines it would be in the interest of public health to do so.

"It allows them to place an emergency recall order and stop distribution on these drugs," adds Pallone. Also, the act would give the FDA authority to stop individuals or companies from operating if they receive these drugs.

The bill would provide $110 million to the FDA to support innovation in non-opioid and non-addictive pain treatment, programs to increase access to opioid use disorder treatment and to reduce illicit importation of opioids.



More From New Jersey 101.5 FM