Report: DEA Approved Increases In Opioid Production As Overdose Deaths Soared
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) permitted drug companies to increase opioid production for years, despite documented rises in overdose deaths, according to an internal watchdog report.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General wrote in its report that the DEA authorized drug makers to produce “substantially larger amounts of opioids” even while “opioid overdose deaths grew by 8 percent per year from 1999 through 2013, and by 71 percent per year between 2013 and 2017,” according to The Hill.
The agency failed to take action on the matter until 2017, which was the year that overdose deaths reached their peak, the report said, at which time the DEA cut the quota by 25 percent.
A “record-high 48,000 people” died as a result of opioid overdose that year.
From 1999 to 2017, approximately 400,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdose, as the country grappled with the epidemic. State and federal governments now seek to hold those responsible for feeding the crisis, which appears to include the DEA.
“Every aspect of the pharmaceutical supply chain bears responsibility for the havoc and senseless death unleashed upon West Virginia – and the DEA is no exception," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who The Hill noted has sued the DEA over its quota system.
"For years, the DEA was grossly negligent in its mismanagement of the national drug quota system. Unfortunately, this mismanagement contributed to the senseless death of many Americans."
From 2002 to 2013, the DEA allowed drug manufacturers to increase opioid production by 400 percent, according to the report.