Six years after the government began exploring the idea of using postal workers as rapid-response medicine dispensers, efforts are underway in six cities to train workers to deliver the drugs needed to counter large-scale anthrax or other potentially deadly agents, reports USA Today. The Postal Service is ready to deliver lifesaving drugs to about a quarter of the residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the only metropolitan area in the nation where letter carriers have been trained to dispense medication.
The White House won’t name the six cities. Cities are not required to adopt the plan, and most have separate plans in place to set up distribution centers in schools, community health centers and other government buildings where people can go to pick up drugs in the event of an attack. The White House, however, says using the Postal Service is a cost-effective and efficient way to create a reliable system for drug distribution in a crisis because postal workers can get drugs to the elderly and others who can’t get out easily or wait in long lines.