McKinley, Dingell Opioid Bill Advances Out of Committee
Legislation to Flag Suspicious Orders Comes After Overdoses in United States Have Spiked by 18 Percent During the COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to advance the Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act (H.R. 3878). Led by U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Debbie Dingell (D- Mich.), this legislation would require drug manufacturers and distributors to report and halt suspicious orders of controlled substances.
Currently, under the Controlled Substances Act, drug manufacturers and distributors are only required to report suspicious orders of opioids to the DEA. This legislation would require registrants to halt, investigate, and report suspicious orders of controlled substances. Click here to read the full text of the bill.
“While Congress has been rightly focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic has not gone away. In fact, across the country overdose deaths have only increased,” said McKinley. “Last Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee conducted an investigation which revealed that nearly 800 million opioid pills were shipped to West Virginia, amounting to 433 pills for every man, woman and child in the state. A year and nine months later we’re finally passing legislation that will prevent this from ever happening again.”
“With millions out of work and stuck inside their homes, we cannot allow for opioids to spread and inflict further harm on our communities.” said Dingell.“Working with Representative McKinley, we have struck the balance with a bipartisan bill that helps track unusually large orders of opioids and keep Americans safe.”
This legislation came together due in part to an investigation and report released by the Energy and Commerce Committee in December 2018. The investigation looked into pill dumping in West Virginia and the role that drug distributors and others in the supply chain had in fueling the crisis. The report provided several recommendations include that “Congress should consider enacting additional suspicious order requirements to clarify registrant responsibilities and to supplement the suspicious order requirements recently codified in the SUPPORT Act.”
The Washington Post and HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, undertook a year-long legal battle for access to the DEA’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, known as ARCOS. The data reviled that 76 billion pills were distributed across the country during the seven-year time frame ending in 2012. For more of the data and an interactive map click here.