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Reps. Peterson and Fitzpatrick introduce bipartisan amendment to help DEA combat opioid abuse

WASHINGTON - Congressman Collin C. Peterson (MN-07) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) have introduced a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, to fully repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015. This amendment will restore the DEA’s authority to carry out important enforcement actions to combat the opioid epidemic.

In April 2016, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 was signed into law after passing unanimously in both the House and the Senate. Originally marketed as a non-controversial bipartisan bill, Members were led to believe that the measure would help secure pain medications for patients and study methods to prevent abuse. However, an investigation conducted by “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post appears to confirm that the legislation had the opposite effect by limiting the DEA’s ability to suspend a pharmaceutical distributor’s license and shipments if they pose an imminent danger to public health and safety.

“Although the House recently passed dozens of bills related to opioid and substance abuse, it failed to consider legislation that would restore the DEA’s ability to block suspicious shipments and prevent drug diversion,” said Peterson. “More than ever, Congress needs to equip the DEA with the authority that it needs to keep our communities safe and healthy.” ‘

“As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across our nation, we need to be stepping up efforts to combat this crisis on all fronts, not tying one hand behind the back of those in law enforcement working to stem the tide. This amendment will restore necessary tools to the DEA to do its job and go after those who knowingly overprescribe opioids,” said Fitzpatrick. “We must continue to support law enforcement efforts while focusing on the underlying issues driving people to seek opioids and working to increasing the accessibility and affordability for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery of this disease.”

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 6 later this week.


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