The Attorney General tells a news conference that “effective enforcement” should be a priority for new legislation. He also announced a new DEA Division for the Appalachian region, and the appointment of Kellyanne Conway, one of President Trump’s top advisers, to oversee White House initiatives to combat opioid abuse.
Prosecutors around the country have intensified their pursuit of homicide charges–hoping to send a clear warning to drug dealers in response to the epidemic of drug deaths in the U.S. But the Drug Policy Alliance says there is “not a shred of evidence” to indicate that these charges result in fewer overdose deaths.
Public health officials tell senators that the addiction crisis has spiraled so far out of control that it is beyond the scope of any one agency to address. “We need all hands on deck,” said Dr. Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health.
The president called the opioid problem a “national emergency” just last month. The prospects for funding to deal with it may be limited, in view of a clamor for funding to pay for damages by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Some analysts are pushing for armed U.S. intervention in Mexico’s battle with drug traffickers to curb the opioid epidemic. But a security expert warns it would undercut more sensible strategies of decriminalization and treatment—and cost more lives.
“Weak patenting standards and ineffectual policing” have helped turn the pharmaceutical industry into a key driver of the opioid epidemic, according to a study published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review.
The Cherokee Nation is suing Walmart, CVS and other drug retailers for failing to stop the illicit distribution of prescription opioids. It could be the opening act in a broader legal campaign by Native Americans to address a health crisis that has devastated tribal communities.
The union, its members wracked by overdose deaths, is challenging one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical wholesalers, demanding that AmerisourceBergen Corp. investigate its own sales practices and potential supply chain diversions.