FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin announced today that Kentucky joined six states in a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) supporting the agency’s strong efforts to reduce opioid production quotas and asking that that the agency consider additional factors, such as over-prescribing, when finalizing the 2020 production quotas for Schedule I and II Controlled Substances, which includes opioids such as Oxycodone.
The letter, signed by Gov. Bevin and Attorneys General from West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, and Nebraska, ensures that Kentucky’s voice is heard as DEA analyzes the proposed quantities of drugs that should be produced next year “to meet the legitimate medical and scientific needs of the United States.”
“Kentucky has made significant strides in combatting the opioid epidemic by implementing legislation, innovative treatment measures, and initiatives to provide immediate help to those suffering from addiction,” said Gov. Bevin. “I am grateful to the Trump Administration for their bold leadership and partnership as we continue to address this scourge, and I appreciate the opportunity to join with other states in providing comments as the 2020 controlled substance production quotas are considered. Kentucky is leading the nation in efforts to curb the volume of opioid pills by having a three-day limit on initial prescriptions. Last year, Kentucky saw a 15% decline in overdose fatalities, the first significant decrease since 2013 and three times the national average decline. Nonetheless, there are still far too many opioids being prescribed in America and I am confident, that with state and federal officials working together, we will continue to make positive progress.”
The letter to the DEA notes that under the Obama Administration, production quotas greatly exceeded legitimate need, which often led to over-prescribing and an increase of “leftover” drugs being illegally diverted to users who did not have a prescription. In Kentucky alone, there were more opioid prescriptions written than people in the Commonwealth from 2010-2016.
In 2017, Gov. Bevin signed HB 333 into law, limiting new opioid prescriptions to a three-day supply to help reduce addiction and cut down on the number of pills that could be illegally diverted. Gov. Bevin has also partnered with the General Assembly to dedicate unprecedented financial resources to combatting the opioid epidemic, including $64 million in General Fund allocations and $15 million from Tobacco Settlement Funds. Gov. Bevin has worked closely with the Trump Administration and federal officials to secure an additional $137 million in federal grants to further research and opioid response efforts.
To view a copy of the letter to the DEA, click here.