The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is currently being implicated by the U.S. Department of Justice for its role in the opioid crisis, as it allegedly authorized increases in painkiller production even during the crisis.
According to the The New York Times and a new report by the U.S. Department of Justice the DEA was “slow to respond” to the crisis. More than 300,000 Americans have died of opioids since 2000, yet this didn’t slow down production or make any changes to the laws.
“We found that the rate of opioid overdose deaths in the United States grew, on average, by 8 percent per year from 1999 through 2013 and by 71 percent per year from 2013 through 2017,” the review states. “Yet, from 2003 through 2013 D.E.A. was authorizing manufacturers to produce substantially larger amounts of opioids. For example, the Aggregate Production Quota (APQ) of oxycodone in the United States, which DEA establishes annually, increased over 400 percent between 2002 and 2013.”
The report also pointed out more places where the DEA could have been at fault, including lack of oversight to keep the crisis in check. “We identified other areas in which DEA’s regulatory and enforcement efforts could have been more effective in combating opioid diversion,” the report continued. “First, DEA’s preregistration process did not adequately vet all new applicants before DEA registration was granted. Second, we found that DEA has regulations that fail to assess the suitability of potential new registrants, which may prevent DEA from identifying registrants whose applications merit heightened scrutiny.”
So far in the litigation against perpetrators of the opiate crisis, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay over $500 million. With these companies being confronted, there’s hope on the horizon. Many feel that the opiate prices can be helped with legal cannabis. Studies show that legalization helps lower the rates of opiate hospitalization.