WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today secured an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2020 Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill to equip the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) with the tools needed to limit overproduction of prescription painkillers.
Between 1993 and 2015, the DEA allowed production quotas on various painkillers to increase at a startling rate fueling the opioid crisis. Last year, Kennedy and Durbin’s bill, the Opioid Quota Reform Act of 2018, was signed into law as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This legislation granted the DEA new authority over opioid production by requiring opioid quotas to be adjusted to reflect diversion, overdose deaths and public health.
This amendment builds on their legislation and provides the DEA with the tools needed to prevent pharmaceutical companies from overproducing prescription drugs.
“This year, we finally got some positive news in the nation’s opioid epidemic. The number of drug-related deaths in the U.S. dropped for the first time in decades. That doesn’t mean the battle is over,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Sen. Durbin and I have been working to lower opioid production quotas. This amendment will help stop drug companies from providing you with more painkillers than you need. Enough is enough.”
“With the approval of the DEA, approximately thirteen billion opioid doses were put on the market in 2017 by Big Pharma—enough for every adult American to have at least a three-week prescription of painkillers,” said Sen. Durbin. “Senator Kennedy and I put into law that DEA must consider the public health harms and risk of opioid addiction when they set these annual production quotas. Today’s amendment passage will move us towards this goal and help rein in Big Pharma’s insatiable, deadly demand to flood the market with addictive painkillers.”