May 11, 2021

Manchin Bill To Restore DEA Ability To Crack Down On Dangerous Opioids

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced the DEA Enforcement and Authority Act, which would restore the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ability to effectively enforce our nation’s drug laws. This legislation would make the critical changes requested by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act that passed in 2016 that would help the DEA crack down on suspicious opioid orders.

“The drug epidemic is devastating communities across our country, especially in my home state of West Virginia. In 2020 alone, we lost more than 87,000 Americans from drug overdoses and we can safely assume that more than half of those deaths involved an opioid or synthetic opioid,” said Senator Manchin. “The DEA Enforcement and Authority Act would implement changes suggested by the Department of Justice to existing legislation, which would restore the DEA’s ability to effectively enforce our nation’s drug laws and cut through red tape which slows down the enforcement process. We must ensure the DEA has every resource available to stop the flood of dangerous opioids into our communities. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support my commonsense legislation to help end the drug epidemic once and for all.”

Senator Manchin’s legislation would make the changes requested by the DOJ to the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. Specifically, the legislation would amend the Immediate Suspension Order Standard of review from a “substantial likelihood of an immediate threat” standard to a “probable cause” standard. Additionally, the legislation would strike the provision that allows companies to submit a formal correction action plan, which slows down the enforcement process.

Senator Manchin’s recent efforts to address the drug epidemic:

  • On April 29th, Senators Manchin, Capito and King introduced the FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act which would ensure experts are heard when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers new, dangerous opioid medications. Senator Manchin also called on Congress to pass permanent rescheduling of fentanyl and fentanyl related substances after the Senate unanimously passed an extension of the temporary fentanyl rescheduling through October 22, 2021.
  • On April 28th, Senator Manchin reintroduced the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Opioids Act, which would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove one opioid medication currently on the market for every new opioid medication that they approve.
  • On April 26th, Senator Manchin reintroduced the Changing the Culture of the FDA Act, which would amend the FDA mission statement to include the agency’s responsibility for addressing the ongoing drug epidemic.
  • On April 22nd, Senators Manchin and Tim Scott introduced the bipartisan Non-Opioid Directive (NOD) Act, which would establish a non-opioid directive form that allows patients to notify health professionals that they do not wish to be treated with opioids.
  • On April 21st, Senator Manchin delivered remarks on the Senate Floor urging Congress to pass his bipartisan bill, FIGHT Fentanyl Act, which would permanently reschedule fentanyl and fentanyl related substances.
  • On March 26th, Senator Manchin led seven Senators in calling on President Joe Biden to bring in new FDA leadership to address the growing opioid epidemic that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One pager on the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act can be found here.