Synthetic Drugs Detection Project - Mail Channel Component

Implementing Organization
World Customs Organization in partnership with INCB and UPU

The overall aim of the Mail Channel component of the WCO's Synthetic Drug Detection project is to reduce the flow of synthetic drugs through the post by building the capacity of Customs units and postal services in postal and express freight centers.  

Securing postal consignments is an important area of Customs controls and is of strategic importance for the security of e-commerce. The COVID crisis has considerably altered the habits of drug consumers and traffickers, making both legal and illegal e-commerce platforms popular channels for the distribution of synthetic drugs in particular and illicit opioids.  

Improving officers’ skills to identify products and target at-risk shipments are the main drivers of the project. 

The introduction of innovative technology solutions is also one of the main focuses of this component. 


The WCO SDDP (Synthetic Drug Detection Project) is currently implementing the mail channel component in Southeast Asia with an expert group meeting in the Maldives. 

Accomplishments to Date

WCO has launched the Mail Channel component under the Synthetic Drugs Detection Project in October 2023. The project will organize an expert group meeting (of around ten experts) to develop an initial training program, which will enable the planning of an initial regional training course for 25 agents from selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Project Activities

The Mail Channel component comprises the following activities:  

  1. Preparatory assessment by WCO experts to identify beneficiary countries and technical skills; 
  2. Expert Group meetings to draw up an initial regional training program; 
  3. Regional training to disseminate basis of a qualitative methodology designed to improve risk analysis and controls; 
  4. Creation of an international experts network on the detection of synthetic drugs; 
  5. Follow-up technical assistance including face-to-face mentoring in selected countries; and 
  6. An assessment of the training through an international operation targeting synthetic drugs in the mail and postal package. 
Global Level Outcomes

The Mail Channel component aims to improve the targeting of suspect mail and limit the contamination of postal parcels by synthetic drugs. 

National Level Outcomes

We intend to improve the monitoring of postal parcels, in particular by applying a risk analysis in line with international standards, and to increase the number of synthetic drug seizures in the postal circuit, while ensuring the safety of our agents. 

Current State Participants

The assessment phase is currently underway in the Asia-Pacific region. 


Sylvain Raymond Drugs Programme Manager World Customs Organization Sylvain [dot] raymond [at] wcoomd [dot] org (Sylvain[dot]raymond[at]wcoomd[dot]org) SDDP [at] wcoomd [dot] org (SDDP[at]wcoomd[dot]org)