Comstock, Fitzpatrick, Sinema, Keating, Jenkins, Kuster Introduce Legislation Restoring DEA’s Authority to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation in the House today to ensure that the Drug Enforcement Administration has the authority to carry out needed enforcement actions for drug diversion control investigations.
The Restoring Enforcement Standards to Track Opioids Responsively and Effectively (RESTORE) Act of 2017 will repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 – a law DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge John J. Mulrooney II described in the Marquette Law Review editorial board as “impos[ing] a dramatic diminution of the agency’s authority” … “at a time when, by all accounts, opioid abuse, addiction and deaths were increasing markedly.”
Original sponsors of the legislation include Representatives Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Bill Keating (D-MA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), and Annie Kuster (D-NH).
- Rep. Barbara Comstock, a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force: “Over 1,400 Virginians died from drug overdoses last year again outpacing the number of Virginians killed in auto accidents. The RESTORE Act gives back the tools necessary for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to do its job and go after those who knowingly over prescribe opioids. Drug addiction is a disease, and this bipartisan legislation will help get these dangerous opioid drugs off the streets through enforcement actions by the DEA.”
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, vice-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force & EMT: “As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across our nation – including those throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties – we need to be stepping up efforts to combat this crisis on all fronts, not tying one hand behind the back of those in law enforcement working to stem the tide. This legislation is about righting a wrong and upholding our commitment to keep our constituents safe. Moving forward, we must remember that any response to this challenge must treat the whole person, not just the addiction. We must continue to support law enforcement efforts while focusing on the underlying issues driving people to seek opioids and working to increase the accessibility and affordability for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery of this disease.”
- Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force: “The opioid crisis is tearing apart Arizona families and communities – and the dysfunction and corruption in Washington is only making it worse. We must stop overprescription and hold accountable those who irresponsibly and callously put their profits ahead of our families. Congress must immediately right this wrong, repeal this dangerous law, and work together on solutions that bring an end to this crisis.”
- Rep. Bill Keating, a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force: “It is especially important that this legislation will allow law enforcement to retroactively deal with investigations that might have commenced after the 2016 law took effect. We can draw a direct line between oversupply of prescription opioids and the tragic epidemic we find ourselves fighting today. We cannot be giving bad actors a free pass.”
- Rep. Evan Jenkins, a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force: “We need a DEA that is fully empowered to enforce opioid regulations and crack down on irresponsible distributors. I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce this bill to repeal provisions of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act and ensure bad actors are held responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic in our communities.”
- Rep. Annie Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force: “Communities in New Hampshire and across the country are being devastated by the opioid epidemic and it’s critical that we have a multifaceted approach to taking on this crisis. That means that in addition to bolstering prevention, treatment and recovery services we need to make sure law enforcement has all tools at its disposal. I’m encouraged that there is bipartisan support for restoring DEA’s ability to hold bad actors accountable that are allowing prescription opioids to flood our streets.”