WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram. During their meeting, they discussed the need to address the unacceptable, growing rate of drug overdose deaths across the United States, driven primarily by fentanyl and illicit drug distribution on social media platforms.

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“DEA is tasked with the serious responsibility of stopping the opioid crisis,” said Durbin. “I commend Administrator Milgram for her commitment to using data in the effort to build public awareness about this epidemic, and I look forward to working together to combat the harmful drugs causing these deaths.”

Durbin, along with U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), was the lead author of the 2018 law that enhanced the DEA’s opioid quota-setting authority by improving transparency and enabling the DEA to adjust quotas to prevent opioid diversion and abuse while ensuring an adequate supply for legitimate medical needs. DEA is responsible for establishing annual quotas determining the exact amount of each opioid drug that is permitted to be produced in the U.S. each year. Between 1993 and 2015, DEA allowed aggregate production quotas for oxycodone to increase 39-fold and hydrocodone to increase 12-fold. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry flooded tens of billions of painkillers to every corner of the nation, which ignited the current opioid epidemic by putting enough painkillers on the market for every adult in America to have a one-month supply of opioids. After two decades of dramatic increases in the volume of opioids allowed to come to the market, the DEA heeded Durbin and Kennedy’s call over the past five years to help prevent opioid addiction by responsibly reducing all opioid quotas.

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