DOJ expands focus to drugmakers in efforts to curb opioid epidemic

Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions led the Justice Department on Thursday in announcing new regulations to address the opioid overuse epidemic. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Justice Department is expanding its efforts to combat the opioid abuse epidemic to drugmakers, it announced Wednesday.

In the finalization of an April proposal, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may cut back the amount of a drug allowed to be produced in a given year if it believes a particular company’s opioids are being diverted for misuse.

RELATED: DEA to share prescription drug data with 50 attorneys general, crack down on drugmakers

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"DEA must make sure that we prevent diversion and abuse of prescription opioids," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "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."

RELATED: DOJ raids could be making opioid crisis worse
 
It expands the focus of the Trump Administration's effort to combat opioid crisis.

Previously, the Justice Department has put a concerted effort into cracking down on physicians suspected of overprescribing, as well as pharmacies and drug treatment facilities for their role in opioid misuse.

It also expands on former arrangements between the DEA and the states. In April, the DEA reached an agreement with 50 attorneys general to share prescription drug data with one another to support ongoing investigations. That includes data from the agency's Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS), which collects 80 million prescription drug transactions from manufacturers and distributors each year.