West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a formal document in support of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposal that would limit opioid manufacturers to producing only enough to fill legitimate medical need.
The DEA proposal is a direct response to a lawsuit Morrisey filed against the agency in December 2017, pushing the agency to review how it determines drug quotas — the amount of opioids manufactures are allowed to produce to meet market demand.
Morrisey, a Republican, blasted the Obama administration for constructing the current process of setting drug quotas and using metrics and methods that inflate opioid production far above the medical need. Extra opioids are sold on the black market and end up in the hands of addicts largely living in depressed communities, according to Morrisey’s formal demand of support.
“The Obama DEA’s broken quota system resulted in unconstrained and unvalidated increases each year for the past decade that fueled the drug epidemic,” Morrisey wrote. “It is as if the Obama DEA soaked our nation with gasoline that puddled and pooled in vulnerable communities where rampant criminal and negligent conduct ignited this dangerous excess opioid supply into a raging inferno of tragic destruction and death.”
The DEA’s proposal overhauls how drug quotas are determined.
Rather than relying solely on industry input, the DEA would set drug quotas using input from states and other federal agencies as well. The new quota will also account for the number of opioids flowing into the black market. Finally, states will have the ability to call administrative hearing in Washington to show evidence of excess opioids and drug abuse.
The DEA proposal is a huge victory for Morrisey, whose state is one the opioid crisis has hit hardest.
“The excess narcotics supply naturally flowed to the devastated coal fields of West Virginia and other communities that were hardest hit by the recession,” Attorney General Morrisey wrote. “As every West Virginian now knows, next came overdoses, recoveries, and overdoses where no recovery was possible. All of this was made possible because of a broken quota system that failed to protect the public from euphoria producing drugs that also had the power to kill.”
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