AG Hood pushes cutting opioid manufacturing

Attorney General Jim Hood joined an 11-state coalition of attorneys general asking the federal government to implement reforms that would account for and include the misuse of prescription painkillers in the hopes that new regulations would lead to manufacturing fewer opioids in 2019.

The attorneys general wrote a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration emphasizing that the proposed 2019 aggregate production quotas for Schedule II opioids are “excessive” due to the DEA not accounting for illicit diversion, as well as, other relevant input from states and federal agencies.

“Mississippi ranks fifth in the nation for painkiller prescriptions, and our state’s opioid overdose death rate has increased dramatically,” said Hood. “Because of this, we have particular interest in how the DEA handles the growing problem of a high rate of opioid manufacturing, especially the everyday occurrence of pills getting into the hands of someone who didn’t receive a prescription.”

The letter states that the “aggregate production quotas” are intended to prevent unnecessary increases in the supply of potentially dangerous Schedule II drugs, including highly addictive and frequently abused opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Because of this, the letter says, the DEA has a responsibility to limit the production of controlled substances to levels sufficient for—and not beyond—“the estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States, for lawful export requirements, and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”

The group of 11 attorneys general said the reduction in the supply of dangerous, addictive opioids is possible and would be of greater benefit to the nation as a whole.

AG Hood joined the West Virginia-led filing of the letter along with nine other attorneys general from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Utah.