WASHINGTON, DC – Sunday evening, 60 Minutes aired a segment on the opioid epidemic, including a look at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s extensive investigative work to determine the root causes of the #OpioidCrisis.
The House has made combating the opioid crisis a top priority, and the Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the tip of the spear in this fight. The committee has led the charge on two-tracks: advancing bipartisan legislative solutions and investigating root causes of the crisis.
In addition to earlier investigations, #SubOversight launched a series of investigations into the opioid epidemic in 2017. Those investigations include: fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; alleged pill dumping; patient brokering, and the potential role of opioid manufacturers in the crisis. In addition, the subcommittee has also reviewed various state level responses to the epidemic.
In August 2018, the committee opened an investigation into opioid manufacturers. Bipartisan committee leaders sent letters to three opioid manufacturers (Insys Therapeutics, Inc., Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and Purdue Pharma L.P.) regarding their potential role in the opioid crisis. The individual letters highlight the complexity of the opioid crisis, which claims the lives of more than 115 Americans every day.
In May 2017, the committee opened an investigation into the distribution of prescription opioids by wholesale drug distributors, with a specific focus on distribution practices in West Virginia, and enforcement practices by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) during the opioid epidemic.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, it is the leading cause of opioid overdose deaths. It is easy and very cheap to illicitly manufacture and has been appearing in communities across the country, mostly coming from China and clandestine labs in Mexico.
Click here to learn more about the committee’s extensive investigative work into the opioid crisis.