The Trump administration is using new powers to propose a significant decrease in how many opioids drug companies can manufacture in the U.S. in 2019.
The Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are proposing an average 10 percent decrease next year in the manufacturing quotas for six frequently misused opioids.
“We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day,” said acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon.
“This significant drop in prescriptions by doctors and DEA’s production quota adjustment will continue to reduce the amount of drugs available for illicit diversion and abuse while ensuring that patients will continue to have access to proper medicine.”
A final rule released in July gave the agency the authority to consider a drug’s potential for abuse when setting its annual opioid production limits.
Before the rule was finalized, the agency could only consider factors like past sales and estimated demand.
Experts say the overproduction of opioids has contributed significantly to the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic.
The proposed quotas for 2019 would decrease manufacturing for oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine and fentanyl.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the decrease should help reduce opioid prescribing rates.
“Cutting opioid production quotas by an average of ten percent next year will help us continue that progress and make it harder to divert these drugs for abuse,” he said in a statement.
The proposed quotas will go through a 30 day comment period before being finalized.