ICYMI: E&C Republicans Question Peer-to-Peer Delivery Services on Fentanyl Deliveries
Last year, more than 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses with 71,000 lives lost due to overdoses caused by fentanyl or its analogues. Many of the transactions of this dangerous drug have been facilitated online. In response to recent reports of Uber Connect being used to deliver drugs, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders sent letters questioning peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery services on what actions they’re taking to prevent their services from being used for transporting illegal drugs, including illicit fentanyl.
In the letters, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Republican Leader Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the members highlight the story of Ann Portillo, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Alex, to a fentanyl poisoning. Alex received the drugs through Uber Connect.
Letters were sent to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Roadie, and Alto.
NBC News reported exclusively on the letters:
NBC—House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to Uber asking the tech company to explain what steps it is taking in response to drivers' complaints that they’re being asked to deliver packages they suspect to be drugs.
The letter from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cites reporting from NBC News that described the concerns of drivers as well as the case of a 22-year-old Arizona woman who died from an overdose of fentanyl that her mother said was delivered via Uber Connect, a courier service that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing app started at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic so that people could send small items across town.
The letter asks Uber to explain what actions the company has taken in response to drivers' complaints about suspected drugs; how the company would work with law enforcement in such a scenario; how many accounts Uber has deactivated as a result of users sending prohibited items; what information Uber collects about packages; and many other questions.
“Just as we have asked social media companies to do their part to curb the sale of drugs on their platforms, Uber must act to ensure Uber Connect is not used to transport untracked shipments of illicit drugs to Americans,” the lawmakers wrote.
The Hill—They said they have supported the development of new technologies and the benefits that the gig economy provides people, but noted that bad actors might take advantage of the service to send harmful products to unaware recipients.
The representatives said that GOP members of the committee previously sent letters to the heads of social media companies on their responsibility to address the spread of fentanyl but that the “crisis” is not just limited to the scope of such companies.
They asked for information including an explanation of the agreement terms for participants of Uber Connect, the number of accounts that have been deactivated after shipping packages with prohibited contents and what information from the sender and recipient Uber Connect gathers.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Uber.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Lyft.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Roadie.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Alto.