My home state of Michigan has hit a tragic new record. Almost 2,000 people in our state died last year from opioid overdoses, according to newly released data from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s a 9 percent jump from 2016, and it’s yet another indication of what Michigan families know all too well — the opioid epidemic is pervasive and unrelenting. Too many people have seen their friends, loved ones, and communities suffer under this health crisis and are anxious for real, concrete solutions.

This is not a Republican or Democratic problem, but a nationwide one. In Congress, I’ve made it my mission to reach across the aisle and deliver results in the fight against the epidemic. That’s why I’ve devoted myself to addressing a major issue that until recently has gone largely unnoticed: the supply chain through which foreign drug dealers smuggle unbelievably deadly synthetic opioids across our borders and into our homes.

Some of the strongest synthetic drugs, like fentanyl or carfentanil, can be 50 to 500 times as potent as a regular street dose of heroin and are responsible for a growing share of fatal overdoses. They are most commonly manufactured abroad, ordered on secretive “dark web” drug markets, and shipped to the U.S. through the international postal system. Under current law, foreign packages sent through the mail and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service are not required to include advance electronic data, which Customs and Border Protection and other security agencies use to detect drugs or other illegal shipments. Advance electronic data is required for private shippers like UPS or FedEx, but for more than a decade, the Postal Service has avoided similar requirements, which has left our brave law enforcement officers under-equipped to stop drug dealers from flooding our communities with opioids.

I was proud to take the lead on legislation designed to close this loophole, which has now passed overwhelmingly in the Senate (99-1) and the House of Representatives (353-52) with endorsements from across the political spectrum. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act will hold the USPS to the same standards as private carriers and mandate advance electronic data on all international packages.

I’m glad this vital legislation is moving across the finish line. With the president’s signature, we will finally be able to take the long overdue step of closing the postal loophole.

Until I no longer read headline after headline about another tragic loss of a Michigander to addiction, this fight will not be over. But the STOP Act was a crucial, common-sense step for Congress to take. And a just-issued report from the USPS Office of Inspector General provides further evidence of the loophole’s widespread harm, finding that online drug dealers are well aware of the loophole and that more than 90 percent of drug sites on the dark web ship through the postal service.

Once the STOP Act is implemented, international criminals will no longer be able to exploit the postal loophole to profit off American deaths. This is a victory, but it is just one step of many that I will continue to push for to keep families safe and turn the tide on this health crisis.

Rep. Mike Bishop, a Republican, represents Michigan's 8th Congressional District. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. You can follow him on Twitter: @RepMikeBishop