National Association of Attorneys General

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Attorneys General Urge Repeal of a Federal Law to Address Opioid Supply

DEA Should be Able to Issue an Immediate Suspension Order

Washington, D.C. --- The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent a letter late yesterday to congressional leaders, urging them to repeal a 2016 federal law so registered drug manufacturers and distributors who have willfully contributed to the nation’s oversupply of pain killers (opioids), can be held accountable.

The “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” (P.L. 114-145) has severely limited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) response to the opioid crisis. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. Since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.

“In the midst of this deepening public health crisis – at a time when our nation needs every available weapon at its disposal to combat the opioid epidemic, the Act effectively strips the Drug Enforcement Administration of a mission critical tool, namely, the ability to issue an immediate suspension order against a drug manufacturer or distributor whose unlawful conduct poses an immediate danger to public health or safety,” reads the NAAG letter sent late yesterday to U.S. Senate and House of Representative leaders and signed by 44 attorneys general in the states, District of Columbia and Virgin Islands. “We urge you to repeal the Act so that the public is protected and drug manufacturers and distributors may be held accountable for their actions.”

State and territorial attorneys general have been fighting the opioid crisis over the years on numerous fronts, including law enforcement action such as lawsuits, investigations and settlements, and disrupting trafficking networks and closing pill mills.

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high-quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions. 

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Marty J. Jackley, South Dakota Attorney General

Marty J. Jackley is the attorney general of South Dakota.