The government is seeking to tackle the opioid crisis with a crackdown on the production of prescription opioids permitted to be manufactured next year.
In a release, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration proposes slashing “manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019 by an average ten percent as compared to the 2018 amounted,” according to an advance version of the release viewed by Axios.
The release notes that the proposal, part of President Donald Trump’s Safe Prescribing Plan, would advance a federal effort to sharply reduce opioid abuse by limiting the drugs’ availability.
“The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) marks the third straight year of proposed reductions, which help reduce the amount of drugs potentially diverted for trafficking and used to facilitate addiction,” the release reads, according to Axios. “Ultimately, 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 potential addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs.”
Abuse of prescription opioids, however, is a fraction of the epidemic, with far more opioid-related deaths coming as a result of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Last year, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse figures, synthetic opioids were invoked in about 30,000 overdose deaths, a sharp spike from only about 5,000 in 2014 and more than heroin and prescription opioids combined.
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