DEA moves to curb oversupply of opioids

DEA moves to curb oversupply of opioids
© Getty Images

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is attempting to reduce the oversupply of opioids in an effort to curb the number of painkillers sold illegally.

Specifically, the agency is proposing a rule that would change how it sets limits on the amount of opioids drug companies can make every year.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Under this proposed new rule, if DEA believes that a company’s opioids are being diverted for misuse, then they will reduce the amount of opioids that company can make,” Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Key GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum MORE said Tuesday during remarks he gave on the opioid crisis in North Carolina.

The opioid crisis has hit communities across the country hard, and death rates continue to climb. Some areas have seen a large influx of pills into often small communities, and policymakers are grappling with how to curb the number of painkillers that are sold illegally.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) says the proposed rule is the result of a lawsuit he filed against the DEA seeking more transparency and input in the process the agency uses to determine how many opioids can be produced each year. The lawsuit was placed on hold in March after Sessions asked the DEA to evaluate its policies on crafting production quotas for opioids.

“The reform sought by DEA proves the impact of our lawsuit is still reverberating in Washington and producing real results capable of ending the oversupply of deadly and addictive painkillers that has killed far too many,” Morrisey, who is running for the Senate, said in a statement.

The proposed rule hasn’t been filed in the Federal Register as of Tuesday afternoon, but Morrisey’s office sent out a copy.

According to the document, the proposed rule would let the DEA take into account the extent to which pills are sold illegally when setting production quotas for opioids.

It would also consider “relevant information” from various agencies from the Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States could also have input and request a hearing if it believes a quota is excessive.

“The current regulations, issued initially in 1971, need to be updated to reflect changes in the manufacture of controlled substances, changing patterns of substance abuse and markets in illicit drugs, and the challenges presented by the current national crisis of controlled substance abuse,” the rule states.

The public comment period for the rule is 15 days.

Sessions also announced an agreement with 48 attorneys general to share prescription drug information to combat the diversion and trafficking of painkillers.