In combination, the total reduction of opioid production after the proposed cuts would add up to a 53 percent decrease since 2016
Per the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, suggested cuts to opioid manufacturing include a 19 percent reduction of hydrocodone production, a 25 percent reduction of hydromorphone, a nine percent reduction of oxycodone and a 55 percent reduction of oxymorphone, and a 31 percent reduction of much-maligned painkiller, fentanyl, blamed for being one of the primary catalysts of the opioid addiction and overdose crisis.
In combination, the total reduction of opioid production after the proposed cuts would add up to a 53 percent decrease since 2016. The five painkillers were selected based on estimates of diversion in the the country.
Conversely, in the wake of state-level legalization sweeping the U.S., the DEA has also proposed increasing the amount of cannabis that can be produced from the current 2450 kg up to 3200 kg to accommodate the increase in cannabis-related research, which the agency notes is 40 percent higher than at the start of 2017.
The production quotas are reflective of the amount of controlled substances necessary to meet the required scientific, medical, research, export and industrial needs of the country within a given year.
“The proposed year 2020 aggregate production quotas and assessment of annual needs represent those quantities of Schedule I and II controlled substances… to be manufactured in the United States in 2020 to provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States, lawful export requirements and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks,” reads the notice.
“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” stated DEA acting administrator Uttam Dhillon.
“DEA takes seriously its obligations to both protect the public from illicit drug trafficking and ensure adequate supplies to meet the legitimate needs of patients and researchers for these substances,” Dhillon added.
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Written by Emma Spears