DOJ Issues Final Rule to Help DEA Control Dangerous Drugs

If DEA believes that that a particular opioid or a particular company's opioids are being diverted for misuse, the rule allows DEA to reduce the amount that can be produced in a given year.

The U.S. Department of Justice this week announced a final rule aimed at improving the Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to control the diversion of dangerous drugs in the midst of the national opioid crisis. Announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the final rule establishes that DEA will take into consideration the extent that a drug is diverted for abuse when it sets its annual opioid production limits.

If DEA believes that that a particular opioid or a particular company's opioids are being diverted for misuse, this allows DEA to reduce the amount that can be produced in a given year. These revised limits will encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers, help DEA respond to the changing drug threat environment, and protect the American people from potentially addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for genuine medical, scientific, research and industrial needs.

"The opioid epidemic that we are facing today is the worst drug crisis in American history," Sessions said. "To help end it, DEA must make sure that we prevent diversion and abuse of prescription opioids. Today's new rule, by taking diversion of these opioids into account, will allow the DEA to be more responsive to the facts on the ground. More importantly, it will help us stop and even prevent diversion from taking place. The American people can be confident that we are now better equipped to protect them from dangerous drugs and that this rule brings us one step closer to finally ending this unprecedented crisis."

"These common-sense actions directly respond to the national opioid epidemic by allowing DEA to use drug diversion as a basis to evaluate whether a drug's production should be reduced," added DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. "This also opens the door for increased communication and better information sharing between DEA and individual states, as we work together to address the opioid problem plaguing our country."

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