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New fed proposals re opioid manufacturing, sales, enforcement

Pressure without punishment.

That is how a recent New York Times article succinctly describes a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at curbing the problematic distribution of prescribed narcotic drugs across the country.

The focus is on so-called opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl. Those strong painkilling drugs have a downside for many users linked with their addictive powers. The adverse opioid reality has often been termed as a “crisis” and “epidemic.” Indeed, the Times employs both of those descriptors in its report of last week.

A recent proposal from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would affect the system for determining legal production quotas guiding pharmaceutical companies’ manufacture and distribution. The current process administered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has been criticized for its alleged ineffectiveness in setting limits and stopping select shipments.

The Times notes that implementation of the new recommendation “could severely limit the amount of opioid pain medication” and more effectively force narcotic manufacturers “to account for scores of illegitimate prescriptions across the country.”

That is certainly its expressed aim. Sessions wants closer involvement from federal regulators and state agencies that will task drug makers to better justify their manufacturing levels and fully identify who opioids are being sent to, and why. The goal is to better spotlight problem pharmacies and doctors that overprescribe drugs, sometimes for allegedly unlawful reasons.

If enacted as a new federal regulation, the proposal will alert a drug maker if its production is deemed excessive, and reduce its quota.

The opioid problem is clearly a huge national issue from multiple perspectives, with implications for legions of users as well as individuals who are targeted in state and federal opioid probes resulting in criminal charges and convictions. Questions or concerns regarding this topical subject matter can be addressed to an experienced defense attorney.

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