DEA Pushes 20 Percent Reduction in Opioid Manufacturing

(CN) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday proposed a 20 percent reduction in opioid narcotic manufacturing next year.

The DEA said it is proposing to reduce more commonly prescribed opioid painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, codeine, meperidine and fentanyl. The agency said demand for these medicines has dropped, as awareness has increased of the dangers of opioid addiction.

“Physicians, pharmacists and patients must recognize the inherent risks of these powerful medications, especially for long-term use,” acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg said. “More states are mandating use of prescription drug monitoring programs, and that has prompted a decrease in opioid prescriptions.”

The DEA and its federal partners have increased efforts in the last several years to educate practitioners, pharmacists, manufacturers, and the public about the dangers associated with the misuse of opioid medications and the importance of properly prescribing, the DEA said. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines on opioid use to health care practitioners recommending a reduction in prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, the DEA said.

The DEA may initiate quotas on the manufacturing of controlled substances. The quota system was intended to reduce or eliminate diversion from legitimate channels of trade by controlling the quantities of the basic ingredients needed for the manufacture of controlled substances, the DEA said.

The purpose of quotas, the DEA said, is to provide an adequate supply for legitimate medical use of schedule I and schedule II controlled substances, which have a high potential for abuse, while limiting the amounts available to prevent diversion.

DEA must balance the production of what is needed for legitimate use against making too much of these potentially harmful substances, the agency said. DEA establishes quotas for more than 250 controlled substances annually.

In setting its quotas, the DEA considers data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; estimates of retail consumption based on prescriptions dispensed; manufacturers’ forecasts and other data.

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