WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding imported and domestic illicit fentanyl, that when manufactured using pill presses, can make thousands of pills an hour. Signing the letter was: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).
“As noted in the July 2016 DEA Intelligence Brief, traffickers purchase pill presses from China to create counterfeit pills to supply illicit U.S. drug markets. Under U.S. law, the DEA must be notified of the importation of a pill press,” write Walden, Pallone, and DeGette. “However, foreign pill press vendors often mislabel the equipment or send it disassembled to avoid law enforcement detection.”
The leaders continue, “To combat the fentanyl wave of the opioid crisis and consider potential legislative solutions, it is vital that the Committee receive more detailed information about pill press machine commerce and seizure data.”
#SubOversight begun examining fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, earlier this year. It has since been labeled the leading cause of opioid overdose deaths.
Leading up to #SubOversight‘s March hearing, bipartisan committee leaders sent a letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), proposing questions for all federal agencies within their jurisdiction about their plans to addressing this urgent public health threat. ONDCP’s response is available here.
Click HERE to read a copy of the letter.