Attorney General Laxalt and 43 States Urge Repeal of a Federal Law to Address Opioid Supply

November 15, 2017

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and a bipartisan coalition of 43 attorneys general sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to repeal a 2016 federal law to hold registered drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for willfully contributing to the nation’s oversupply of opioids.

    The letter explains how the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” has severely limited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) response to the opioid crisis. The attorneys general argue that the Act effectively strips the DEA of their 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. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids, and since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.

      “My fellow attorneys general and I sent this letter urging Congress to repeal the Act in order to protect the public and hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their actions,” said Laxalt. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in this country, and I will continue to work with State and federal resources to fight this crisis on behalf of all Nevadans.”

        AG Laxalt has been fighting the opioid crisis on numerous fronts, most recently with his “Prescription for Addiction” opioid initiative to combat the use, abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in Nevada. The initiative, approved in October, 2017, includes the purchase of drug incinerators, the distribution of Nalaxone to first responders, funding allocated toward prevention and education efforts, and the creation of an investigative position to assist with federal efforts to curb opioid abuse.

          AG Laxalt has also partnered with other state attorneys general to investigate whether drug manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids. The attorneys general are investigating what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic. In September, 2017, AG Laxalt and other attorneys general issued subpoenas to pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributers related to the ongoing investigation.

            In addition to Nevada, other states and territories that participated in the letter include: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, the Virgin, Islands, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

              To view the issued letter, click here.