Attorney General Morrisey Leads Multistate Effort to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths

Updated 3 weeks ago
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led seven states in pushing federal regulators to consider more information as they set manufacturing limits on prescription painkillers in hopes a more thorough review will lead to fewer overdose deaths.

 
Sweeping reforms won by Attorney General Morrisey in 2018 forced the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to account for illegal drug diversion in setting quotas, but the West Virginia-led coalition questions if the methodology used to set next year’s manufacturing limit is enough.
 
The coalition filed comments late Tuesday arguing DEA officials must adopt a uniform methodology for all controlled substances, do more to account for overprescribing and expand its universe of information sources.
 
“The establishment of responsible, research-backed quotas is essential to our continued fight against senseless death,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Decades of unchecked quota increases are not undone overnight. Although we applaud the DEA’s efforts to reverse course, it has not yet determined the amounts necessary to meet legitimate medical, scientific and industrial needs. People’s lives are at stake.”
 
The coalition recognizes that current data sets make accounting for diversion difficult, but argues such complexity cannot hinder progress. For instance, its members suggest that the DEA take into greater account data from its Drug Take Back Day as evidence of overprescribing.
 
The states also suggest DEA officials should consider best practices developed by the medical community and state regulators, in addition to improving the usability of its reporting system and its suspicious orders database.
 
The DEA’s proposed limits for 2020 slash hydrocodone manufacturing by 19 percent and oxycodone by 8.8 percent in one year.
 
Attorney General Morrisey has pursued changes to the DEA quota system for years. That includes multiple attempts seeking information from the agency since 2015, followed by the lawsuit in 2017. He resolved the litigation after the agency implemented the requested reforms in 2018.
 
West Virginia filed this week’s comments with support from attorneys general in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nebraska, along with the governor of Kentucky.
 
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