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

Common use of antipsychotics shown ineffective for delirium in intensive care patients

October 22, 2018
Critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs) did not benefit from two antipsychotic drugs used to treat delirium, according to a large clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National ...

Medicating distress: Risky sedative prescriptions for older adults vary widely

October 18, 2018
Despite years of warnings that older adults shouldn't take sedative drugs that put them at risk of injury and death, a new study reveals how many primary care doctors are still prescribing them, how often, and exactly where.

Medical management of opioid-induced constipation differs from other forms of condition

October 17, 2018
Traditional laxatives are recommended as first-line agents to treat patients with a confirmed diagnosis of opioid-induced constipation (OIC), according to a new guideline from the American Gastroenterological Association ...

Research assesses geographic distribution of new antibiotics following market introduction

October 16, 2018
There is a growing need for new antibiotics to help combat the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) with ...

Health insurer policies may discourage use of non-opioid alternatives for lower back pain

October 5, 2018
Public and private health insurance policies in the U.S. are missing important opportunities to encourage the use of physical therapy, psychological counseling and other non-drug alternatives to opioid medication for treating ...

Opioid overdoses, depression linked

October 3, 2018
The link between mental health disorders and substance abuse is well-documented. Nearly one in 12 adults in the U.S is depressed, and opioid-related deaths are skyrocketing. As these numbers continue to climb, some mental ...

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.