CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas led a coalition of 48 attorneys general in pushing federal regulators to examine recent progress in their fight against opioid abuse.
The bipartisan coalition specifically seeks a progress report regarding recent steps taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to combat the opioid crisis, given the new authorities Congress granted the agency in 2018.
In their letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the attorneys general contend the requested information will help reduce prescription opioid abuse and accidental deaths.
“We have witnessed first-hand the devastation that the opioid epidemic has wrought on states in terms of lives lost and the costs it has imposed on our healthcare system and the broader economy,” Attorney General Morrisey led in writing. “As the chief legal officers of our states, we are committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain or addiction, who are among the most vulnerable consumers in our society.”
The coalition’s letter seeks clarification of how the FDA is using and plans to use powers granted under the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act). Those provisions include safer opioid packaging and disposal features, research and issuance of new regulations on non-addictive alternatives to opioids and guidelines for opioid prescribing.
The attorneys general believe the FDA plays a critical role in ensuring both the safety and efficacy of opioids and encouraging non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives for treating pain.
The letter continues Attorney General Morrisey’s commitment to hold government agencies and other actors accountable as part of a holistic approach to attacking opioid abuse from a supply, demand and educational perspective.
In 2017, Attorney General Morrisey co-led a similar effort with many of these same states asking health insurance companies to review and revise their payment and coverage policies to prioritize non-opioid pain management options for treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain.
The West Virginia and New Mexico-led letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Read a copy of the coalition’s letter at https://bit.ly/3sgoWFK.