DEA report disappoints
Not too many things in this world today truly surprise us, but the report U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released on Tuesday regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration was not something we anticipated.
For several years, particularly here in Greater Nashua, we have known about the ongoing opioid epidemic and the related overdose problems. However, if the study Horowitz developed is accurate, it seems the federal agency responsible for protecting Americans from harmful drugs was late to the show.
“Despite growing evidence that opioids were being overprescribed and misused, DEA increased oxycodone production quotas by 400% between 2002 and 2013,” Horowitz said in a Tuesday video message.
“It wasn’t until 2017 that DEA significantly reduced the production quota for oxycodone by 25%,” Horowitz added.
Furthermore, the report states that opioid-related deaths across the U.S. steadily grew by an average of 8% per year from 1999 to 2013. Yet, the DEA allowed Big Pharma to pump 400% more oxycodone into the market during the same general time frame.
Oxycodone is manufactured under various brand names, including OxyContin. Last month, the New Hampshire officials filed suit against the family responsible for producing OxyContin.
Deputy Attorney General Jane Young stated in her complaint: “Without defendants’ actions, opioid use would not have become so widespread, and the opioid epidemic that now exists in New Hampshire would have been averted or would be much less severe.”
“Their blizzard of dangerous prescriptions buried children, parents, and grandparents throughout New Hampshire, and the burials continue with no end in sight,” Young’s complaint further alleges of the defendants, who are members of the Sackler family.
The Tuesday report also showed that DEA does not track ordering patterns for all pharmaceuticals, including some Schedule III and all Schedule IV and V opioids. Officials said this allows for a “compromise of public safety.”
We really hope the DEA is not simply being paid off by the pharmaceutical industry to overlook the opioid epidemic. However, we find it difficult to believe the administration is simply so incompetent that agents merely overlooked what was happening in relation to oxycodone and other opioids.
The DEA must provide answers regarding why its officials allowed this to happen – and what the administration will do to ensure that it does not occur again.