DEA proposing reduction of 5 narcotics made in US

Proposal addresses opioid epidemic in America

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Due to the American opioid epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Agency is proposing a reduction of five drugs manufactured in the United States.

The proposal comes at a time when more than 40 states have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma. The pharmaceutical company makes Oxycontin and is accused of playing a role in the opioid crisis.

The DEA is proposing manufacturers produce only enough opioids for people who legitimately need painkillers, preventing the overproduction of drugs. The DEA has a diversion control division tasked with making sure prescription medication isn’t given to people who don’t need it.

“The DEA considers the opioid epidemic to be its top priority,” said Susan Langston, DEA diversion program manager.

The proposal calls for:

  • 31% reduction in fentanyl
  • 10% reduction in hydrocodone
  • 25% reduction in hydromorphone
  • 55% reduction in oxymorphone 
  • 9% reduction in oxycodone. 

The proposed reduction would be a 53% decrease in allowable painkiller production since 2016. The DEA says these reductions impact demands for opioids and puts a dent in pill mill operations by making sure there isn’t a surplus of painkillers making their way from pharmacies to the streets.

“Doctors are more cautious and more mindful when they write a prescription for an opioid to make sure it’s for a legitimate medical purpose and the appropriate amount is prescribed,” Langston said.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 130 people in the U.S. overdose and die after abusing opioids. The DEA is hoping a reduction in opioid production will put a lower those fatality statistics.

Langston said the proposal is not linked to the lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies.

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