DEA announces proposed rule to reduce opioid supply

By Chris Dickerson | Apr 18, 2018

CHARLESTON — As a result of a lawsuit filed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has announced a proposed rule to reduce the oversupply of opioid painkillers and end pill dumping in West Virginia.

The rule adopts Morrisey’s suggestion that DEA take necessary steps to account for diversion, increase input from specific stakeholders and establish mandatory hearings when requested by states to consider additional evidence of excess opioid supplies.

“We must end senseless death in West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “The reform sought by DEA proves the impact of our lawsuit is still reverberating in Washington and producing real results capable of ending the oversupply of deadly and addictive painkillers that has killed far too many.”

The DEA's April 17 announcement followed a directive from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, itself issued hours before a key deadline in Morrisey’s lawsuit.

Morrisey had called upon DEA to change its quota policies, which relied on the amount of pills pharmaceutical manufacturers expected to sell within a year. 

"The perverse system placed industry wants over the legitimate medical need of patients and led to an overabundance of pills hitting the market," the AG's office said. "The rule embraces Attorney General Morrisey’s call for DEA to seek increased input from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and every state in the nation."

In December, officials with Morrisey's office met with acting DEA Administrator Robert Patterson, who recently testifying about the “disturbing trend” with respect to a drug quota system and the need for reforms to end pill dumping by limiting the number of pills produced.

Morrisey has invited Patterson to Charleston to further discuss the issue.

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