Biden Administration Presents Plan to Reduce Supply of Fentanyl-Related Substances

Last week, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Regina LaBelle sent a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) outlining a set of recommendations to Congress – developed in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services – to mitigate the opioid epidemic. In their approach, the Biden Administration recommends Congress take actions to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances (FRS) as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, implement a process to remove FRS that do not have a high potential for abuse, allow courts to vacate or reduce sentences that involve the removed FRS, expand FRS research to inform public policy, and analyze the impacts of permanently scheduling FRS.

Articles & Resources

Letter to Congress

Bloomberg Government – Biden’s Acting Drug Czar Asks Congress for Opioid Crackdown Help

Resolutions Introduced to Recognize Overdose Awareness Day

Last week, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Joseph Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a resolution to make August 31 Overdose Awareness Day to recognize individuals who have died of drug overdoses, acknowledge substance use disorder is a chronic disease, and acknowledge that overdose deaths can be prevented through treatment and recovery support. Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-AL), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) introduced a companion resolution in the House in April. In a press release, Senator Markey said “We must ensure individuals with substance use disorders have access to the help and treatment they need, and work to end the stigma around this disease. I am proud to lead this resolution in the Senate to mark August 31 as ‘Overdose Awareness Day’ and recommit to the work we must do to end the drug overdose epidemic.” Fifteen states currently recognize Overdose Awareness Day.

Articles & Resources

Senate Resolution Text

House Resolution Text

Senator Ed Markey – Senator Markey Leads Senate Resolution to Recognize August 31 as “Overdose Awareness Day”

Judge Approves Purdue Pharma Settlement Plan

Last Wednesday, a federal judge approved Purdue Pharma’s $4.3 billion bankruptcy settlement plan. Under the plan, members of the Sackler family will pay the settlement over the next decade in exchange for liability release to protect the family from civil opioid lawsuits and giving up ownership of Purdue Pharma, but will not receive protections from future criminal lawsuits. External consultants who advised Purdue Pharma on opioid matters will not be covered by the liability release. The settlement funds will be distributed to local governments and tribal communities via a public trust and will fund drug treatment programs. Attorneys General for Washington, D.C. and Washington state have stated that they plan to appeal the ruling.

Articles & Resources

The Hill – Federal judge approves bankruptcy settlement for Purdue Pharma

NPR – The Sacklers, Who Made Billions From OxyContin, Win Immunity From Opioid Lawsuits

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

Bloomberg Government – Office of National Drug Control Policy and Its Role in Federal Drug Control

DEA – Southeast Missouri Health Organization Pays $1.6 Million Settlement for Invalid Prescriptions

Forbes – Overdose Awareness: Why It Matters

Representative Ann McLane Kuster – NH Delegation Announces More than $1.5 Million in Federal Funding to Support NH Firefighters

Representative Elise – Stefanik, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Program Update to Fight Poverty

Representative Paul Tonko – Tonko Cheers Key Milestone of 100+ Co-sponsors for Addiction Treatment Bill

The Hill – Access to safe, affordable medication is a casualty of the war on opioids

The Washington Post – A doctor was charged in an opioids scheme. Then he tried to hire a Hells Angel to silence a witness, feds say.

UNODC – Share Facts, Save lives on International Overdose Awareness Day

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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