WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it finalized a proposal first announced in April 2018 to slow diversion and further limit annual opioid production limits.
DOJ’s news release states, “If DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] believes that a particular opioid or a particular company’s opioids are being diverted for misuse, this allows DEA to reduce the amount that can be produced in a given year. These revised limits will encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers, help DEA respond to the changing drug threat environment, and protect the American people from potentially addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for genuine medical, scientific, research and industrial needs.”
This is an important and overdue action to help prevent diversion, opioid abuse, and pill dumping, as highlighted in the committee’s ongoing bipartisan investigation looking at the state of West Virginia.
The announcement will also complement the House’s recent passage of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, “the largest legislative effort in recent history” to combat the opioid crisis, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA). H.R. 6 passed the House last month by a bipartisan vote of 396-14.
To learn more about Energy and Commerce’s comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid crisis, click HERE.
DOJ unveils proposal giving feds more power to limit opioid production
The Department of Justice (DOJ) finalized a proposal Wednesday giving the agency more power to control how many opioids are produced annually in the U.S.
Under the proposal, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could issue stricter limits on certain opioids if federal authorities believe they are being misused.
The DEA currently sets annual quotas for how many opioids can be manufactured after accounting for a number of factors, including demand. The proposed regulation would allow the agency to also consider the extent that a drug is abused.
“Today’s new rule, by taking diversion of these opioids into account, will allow the DEA to be more responsive to the facts on the ground,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “More importantly, it will help us stop and even prevent diversion from taking place.”
The DOJ argued that the changes will “encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers,” help the agency respond to the changing drug environment and protect U.S. citizens from addictive drugs.
Experts say the overproduction of opioids has contributed significantly to the ongoing epidemic.
More than 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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