DEA puts quota on production of opioid painkillers

October 6, 2016

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it has mandated significant cuts in the production of powerful prescription opioid painkillers.

Illegal use of the drugs has helped to fuel the opioid epidemic in the United States. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids—including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin—nearly quadrupled, with more than 165,000 deaths reported, according to .

The in question include drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo and Palladone), fentanyl and morphine. The amount of these drugs allowed to be manufactured in the United States will be reduced by 25 percent or more in 2017, the DEA said.

Production of certain opioid medications, such as hydrocodone, will be reduced by 34 percent, the agency said in a news release.

The DEA said it made the changes because legal prescriptions for these opioid medications have decreased, while illegal use of the drugs is on the rise.

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.5 million Americans older than 12 had illegally used in the previous month. That rate was second only to marijuana, and greater than past-month use of cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens combined, according to the DEA.

Earlier this year, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that cut back on prescriptions of opioid medications for chronic pain.

"For years, DEA and others have been educating practitioners, pharmacists, manufacturers, and the public about the potential dangers of the misuse of opioid medications," the DEA said.

Explore further: FDA warns of fatal risks from mixing opioids and sedatives (Update)

More information: The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more on opioids.

Related Stories

FDA warns of fatal risks from mixing opioids and sedatives (Update)

August 31, 2016
Health officials are strengthening warnings about the potentially fatal consequences of mixing prescription painkillers and sedatives like Xanax, saying the combination can lead to breathing problems, coma and death.

Programs to thwart prescription drug misuse exist, not always used

June 28, 2016
Misuse of prescription pain medications remains a major public health problem—but programs to prevent it may be underused, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Overdose deaths in US hit record high

December 18, 2015
More people died of drug overdoses last year in the United States than ever before, largely due to disturbing increases in prescription painkillers and heroin use, health authorities said Friday.

Painkillers, heroin drive increase in US overdose deaths

December 10, 2015
Drug overdoses rose again last year, driven by surges in deaths from heroin and powerful prescription painkillers, according to new federal statistics.

WHY IT MATTERS: Opioid epidemic

August 17, 2016
THE ISSUE: More Americans are dying from opioids than at any time in recent history, with overdose deaths hitting a peak of 28,000 in 2014. That amounts to 78 Americans dying from an opioid overdose every day, according to ...

FDA orders starker warnings on opioid painkillers

September 10, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration is requiring stronger warning labels on prescription painkillers like OxyContin, in the government's latest attempt to reduce overdose deaths caused by the long-acting medications.

Recommended for you

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

Less is more when it comes to prescription opioids for hospital patients, study finds

May 14, 2018
In a pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Yale researchers significantly reduced doses of opioid painkillers given to hospital patients. By delivering the opioids with a shot under the skin or with a pill instead ...

Generic options provide limited savings for expensive drugs

May 7, 2018
Generic drug options did not reduce prices paid for the cancer therapy imatinib (Gleevec), according to a Health Affairs study released today in its May issue.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.