WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Brendan Kelly and other representatives of the Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers Association (IDEOA). Durbin and the group discussed the importance of funding for the Byrne-JAG federal grant program, which supports state and local drug enforcement and public safety efforts. Durbin also discussed his bipartisan effort to make significant reductions in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opioid production quotas.
“Our Illinois State Police and local law enforcement officers are on the front lines combatting the opioid epidemic, and it’s imperative they have the resources they need to keep our communities safe,” Durbin said. “I have long supported increased Byrne-JAG funding because it provides critical support to law enforcement and public safety efforts. I will also continue to push the DEA to more reasonably regulate the pharmaceutical industry’s unjustifiable production of opioid pills because the sheer volume available heightens the risk for illicit diversion and abuse.”
Durbin has called on the DEA to use its new authorities—passed into law by Durbin and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) in 2018—to improve its monitoring of opioid shipments across the country and reduce the volume of painkillers that the DEA permits the pharmaceutical industry to produce each year. In its 2020 proposal for controlled substance production quotas, DEA explained it would not adjust opioid production quotas to specifically reflect the abuse, overdose, and public health harms created by excessively high opioid manufacturing.
After the passage of Durbin and Kennedy’s Opioid Quota Reform Act of 2018, DEA was granted new authorities that enhanced its opioid quota-setting authority by improving transparency and enabling DEA to adjust quotas to prevent opioid diversion and abuse while ensuring an adequate supply for legitimate medical needs. In November, Durbin and Kennedy sent a letter to the DEA in urging it to better comply with the 2018 law they passed and not to ignore important health information when setting new opioid production quotas.