October 06, 2016

Manchin Applauds DEA Decision to Lower Opioid Quotas

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with Senators Amy Klobuchar, Dick Durbin (I-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Angus King (I-ME) today commended the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) decision to lower opioid quotas. Earlier this year, Manchin and the other Senators sent a letter urging DEA Acting Administrator Rosenberg to use the agency’s quota-setting authority to limit the quantity of opioid pills on the market. The DEA announced this week that it has decided to reduce next year’s production quotas by 25 percent for nearly all Schedule II drugs, including prescription opioids. The three powerful, addictive painkillers that will see the most significant reductions from what was allowed on the market this year are hydrocodone (34% reduction), oxymorphone (45% reduction), and hydromorphone (38% reduction).

“This decision from the DEA brings us one step closer to curbing this opioid epidemic and I applaud their commitment to reversing this trend,” Senator Manchin said. “There are simply too many opioid pills on the market and ‎the DEA is an important partner in addressing that problem. This decision will cut next year’s production quota’s by 25 percent which will greatly reduce the amount of opioids available for prescription. We must keep working with everyone to combat this epidemic from all sides and the DEA decision is another turning point in our fight.”

With its existing quota-setting authority, the DEA effectively serves as a gatekeeper for how many opioids can be produced and sold in the United States every year. Over‎ the past two decades, the DEA had approved ever-greater increases in opioid quotas, allowing production of oxycodone to increase 39-fold, hydrocodone to increase 12-fold, hydromorphone to increase 23-fold, and fentanyl to increase 25-fold. This week’s announcement represents the largest decrease in opioid production quotas in two decades.

The Senators also welcomed the DEA’s announcement that it had considered the impact of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain” on doctors’ prescribing practices in determining the quantities of prescription opioids required to meet legitimate medical and scientific need.

For a full list of Senator Manchin’s legislation to combat the opioid abuse epidemic, click here.