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Press Release

Walden Statement on DEA OIG Report on Opioid Crisis Response


10.02.19

Report Repeatedly Cites SUPPORT Act to Address Findings


WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement on the report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) detailing the regulatory and enforcement efforts to control the diversion of opioids.

“As this report notes, the landmark legislation Congress passed last year to combat the opioid epidemic – the SUPPORT Act – gives added tools to DEA to increase their enforcement efforts. For instance, the SUPPORT Act reduces the number of illegal opioids and excess prescription opioids, promotes data-sharing to address overprescribing, and increases some of DEA’s authorities to combat the opioid epidemic.

“This report also complements our investigation’s findings about DEA not fully using and improving the ARCOS database, the internal discord at DEA, and the decline in the use of immediate suspension orders. Furthermore, I’d like to commend the Trump administration – and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in particular – for ordering the DEA to change the quota requirements to look at overall demand versus an automatic increase to meet production levels,” said Walden.

Background

The Committee-led SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) was signed into law on October 24, 2018. This legislation represents the largest Congressional effort to combat a single drug crisis in history.

Last year, the committee released a report summarizing its findings after concluding its bipartisan investigation into allegations of opioid-dumping in West Virginia. The report detailed numerous warning signs and red flags missed by wholesale drug distributors and the DEA that contributed to the worsening of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. The committee’s investigation, which included a targeted review of ARCOS data in West Virginia, recommended that DEA work to establish a data platform to provide more real time data to registrants.

The OIG report specifically cites the SUPPORT Act and details how implementation of the law may help address the troubling findings.

From the report (p.33):

“We note that in October 2018 Congress passed the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention That Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act), which contains multiple provisions requiring consultation between HHS and DEA. For example, the SUPPORT Act requires HHS, in consultation with DEA, to develop national milestones to measure their success in curbing the opioid epidemic, to report on the impact of federal and state laws and regulations on opioid prescriptions, and to recommend additional steps to limit the over-prescribing of opioids by medical practitioners. The SUPPORT Act also requires DEA to work with HHS to develop special registration procedures for telemedicine. Later in this report, we discuss additional requirements that the SUPPORT Act directed at the Department of Justice and DEA.”

Press Release