ARLINGTON, Va. — In response to the release of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s Review of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Regulatory and Enforcement Efforts to Control the Diversion of Opioids, John Parker, senior vice president of communications with the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) released the following statement last week:
“Today’s report by the Inspector General highlights many concerns that distributors have consistently raised around the DEA’s oversight of the opioid epidemic, and, notably, the fact that previous DEA leadership consistently raised production quotas for opioids. As the Inspector General states:
Unlike past drug crises, in combating the current opioid epidemic DEA failed to develop a comprehensive national strategy that could have focused and directed its regulatory and enforcement efforts. For example, as the rate of opioid use and abuse in the United States continued to increase from 1999 to 2016, the amount of opioid manufacturing authorized by DEA also increased dramatically during that same time. We found that DEA did not reduce the Aggregate Production Quota for most controlled substances until 2016, the year during which opioid production fell by 25 percent.
“HDA welcomes the actions taken by current DEA leadership to curtail annual opioid production quotas and improve communication with registrants. We also are pleased that Congress enacted the SUPPORT Act, which among other things, strengthens DEA’s hand in managing the opioid epidemic and improves coordination, information gathering and communication. HDA urges the agency to finalize much-needed guidance on suspicious order reporting and to address the influx of substances, such as illegal fentanyl, that are now increasingly the cause of the epidemic facing our country today.”
View key excerpts from the Inspector General’s report here.