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McCaskill calls for lower opioid production levels

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill joined a group of her Senate colleagues to call on the Drug Enforcement Administration to better prevent painkillers from flooding the market by setting lower opioid production quotas for 2018.

“In order to effectively combat this raging crisis, stakeholders—especially our federal oversight agencies—must use every tool available to prevent the flood of addictive narcotic painkillers onto the market that can result in misuse, abuse, and diversion,” wrote McCaskill and her colleagues to Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Chuck Rosenberg. “… By continuing to use its quota-setting authority in a proactive and robust way to combat the opioid crisis, while preserving access for legitimate medical use, [the Drug Enforcement Administration] has the opportunity to make a real and immediate difference that will benefit American communities and save lives.”

McCaskill and her Senate colleagues are calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to continue their efforts to address America’s opioid epidemic after reducing nearly all opioid quotas by 25 percent or more last year—the first reduction of its kind in over twenty years. Drug Enforcement Administration approved opioid production volumes remain troublingly high—including 55 percent higher oxycodone levels in 2017 than in 2007.

Continuing her commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic, McCaskill recently requested that the Department of Justice conduct an internal investigation into the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to hold major drug distributors accountable for opioid diversion—as new data indicates that more Americans die annually from opioid abuse than gun violence.

Earlier this year, McCaskill announced a wide-ranging investigation into opioid manufacturers to explore whether pharmaceutical manufacturers—at the head of the opioids pipeline—have contributed to opioid overutilization and overprescription as overdose deaths in the last fifteen years have approached nearly 200,000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, reached over 30,000 in 2015 alone, and sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.

Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill

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