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DEA Utilizing SUPPORT Act to Combat Opioid Crisis


10.30.19

WASHINGTON, DC – The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is being utilized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to help the U.S. move #ForwardwithSUPPORT. The DEA proposed a rule to better regulate opioid quantities to decrease the potential for diversion, this is when the legal supply chain of prescription drugs is broken and drugs are improperly distributed or used. To determine quotas the DEA would consider, “…rates of overdose deaths and abuse, the overall public health impact related to specific controlled substances and may include other factors as appropriate.”

This part of SUPPORT Act was directly influenced by an investigation of pill dumping allegations last Congress under then-Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). Towns like Kermit, West Virginia were devastated by this practice. Kermit, with a population of less than 400 people, had one pharmacy receive millions of hydrocodone pills over a two-year period.

The announcement from the DEA came near the one-year anniversary of the SUPPORT Act being signed into law. This is the single largest congressional effort ever to tackle a drug epidemic. In addition to the DEA, other federal agencies such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesFood and Drug Administration and Department of Health & Human Services have used the SUPPORT Act to further efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

Here’s what they are saying:

The Washington Post, The Health 202: The Drug Enforcement Administration announced a proposed rule meant to curb the overproduction of opioid medications that could be diverted for illegal distribution.

The rule would change the agency’s quota system, which sets how many opioid pills can be manufactured. The changes are based on the SUPPORT Act passed last year, which “requires that appropriate quota reductions be made after estimating potential for diversion,” the DEA said in a news release. “This estimate is based on rates of overdose deaths and abuse, the overall public health impact related to specific controlled substances and may include other factors as appropriate.”

The public now has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule, which was published yesterday in the Federal Register.

The Hill: DEA unveils new rule on opioid manufacturers after criticism

A new policy from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) aims to improve the agency’s quotas of controlled substances, with the intent of preventing manufacturers from overproducing opioids.

A proposed rule published Wednesday would further limit excess quantities of medications that might be vulnerable to diversion for illicit distribution and use, the agency said in a statement.

Every year, the DEA sets a quota for how many opioid pills drugmakers are allowed to produce in the U.S. The quotas are set by the DEA with input from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drug manufacturers.

Under the proposal, the diversion potential would be based on rates of overdose deaths and abuse, the overall public health impact related to specific controlled substances and may include other factors as appropriate, the agency said.

The proposal would also implement provisions of the Support Act, legislation passed last year to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.

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