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DEA Proposes to Reduce Opioid Manufacturing

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing a 20% reduction for controlled substances that may be manufactured for 2018.

This proposal includes a reduction of more commonly prescribed opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, codeine, meperidine, and fentanyl.

“Opioid medications come with a high risk of substance misuse and dependence,” stated Origins Behavioral HealthCare’s VP of Clinical Operations, Kerry Coyle, MSW. “Over the years, we have seen an exponential growth in the number of patients experiencing substance use disorders as a result of the legal, long-term use of opioid medications.” 

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines to medical practitioners recommending a reduction in prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain. DEA and its federal partners have accordingly increased their efforts to educate practitioners, pharmacists, manufacturers, and the public about the dangers associated with the misuse of opioid medications and the importance of properly prescribing these medications.

“Efforts aimed at ensuring that physicians are properly educated about the CDC’s guidelines for prescribing opioids will have an impact on the number of prescriptions that are written and consequently the rate of substance misuse,” stated Coyle.

In setting their upcoming quotas, the DEA must balance the production of what is required for legitimate medical use – including end-of-life and palliative care – against the production of an excessive amount potentially harmful substances with a high potential for misuse and addiction.

“As changes in policy begin to address the opioid epidemic, there will be an increasing need to develop strategies that support a collaborative medical and psychological approach to the treatment of substance use disorders as well as chronic pain,” said Coyle. “In line with this, we hope that physicians, pharmacists, and patients recognize the inherent risks of these highly addictive medications, especially when prescribed for long-term use.”