WASHINGTON – A new Justice Department report says the Drug Enforcement Agency allowed opioid manufacturers to make more pills, even as overdose rates rose.
The Inspector General says the DEA approved a more than 400 percent increase in OxyCodone output between 2002 and 2013. Overdose rates spiked 71 percent between 2013 and 2017.
The DEA began pulling back production limits in 2017. The report is just the latest round in ongoing finger pointing between agencies and drug manufacturers in the opioid crisis.
The DEA says drug companies need to be allowed to make enough narcotic pain-killers to help legitimate patients, but they are not fully obeying laws designed to keep those pills off the street.
The Justice Department maintains the DEA isn’t doing enough to prevent that diversion or responding to it quickly enough when it happens.
It also says the DEA is not investigating physicians, pharmacists, or other health care workers before granting them licenses.
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