March 05, 2018

Manchin Introduces Bill to Empower the DEA to Properly and Aggressively Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced legislation to make the changes requested by the Justice Department to restore the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) authority to go after pharmaceutical companies that are violating the law and flooding our communities with opioids.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration is our first line of defense in preventing pharmaceutical companies from flooding the market with opioids and taking advantage of a nation ravaged by this deadly epidemic,” Senator Manchin said. “This bill will make sure that the DEA regains the legal authority that was wrongly stripped from the administration in 2016 to ensure that they can go after companies taking advantage of the system, including those companies that send millions of opioid pills to tiny towns in West Virginia. In order to fight this epidemic properly, we need a strong DEA and they need to be able to stop the opioid distributors and manufacturers who are endangering the American people. West Virginia’s families and communities deserve a DEA that will protect them, not pharmaceutical companies.”

This bill would make the following changes, requested by the Department of Justice, to amend the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act to restore DEA’s authority to go after bad actors and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. It would:

  • Amend the “substantial likelihood” standard to a “probable cause” standard and
  • Strike the provisions adding the option of a “corrective action plan,” which slows down the DEA’s ability to suspend suspicious opioid orders.