Today, the House passed Rep. David B. McKinley's (R-W.Va) Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act (H.R. 786), which will require drug manufacturers, distributors and other Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrants to not only report but halt suspicious orders. This will help prevent massive amounts of pills from flooding communities, like they did at the outset of the opioid epidemic.
Currently, under the Controlled Substances Act, drug manufacturers and distributors are only required to report suspicious orders of opioids to the DEA. This bipartisan legislation would require them to halt, investigate, and report suspicious orders of controlled substances.
"Understandably, our nation has been focused on COVID-19, but the opioid epidemic is still raging across America. In fact, overdose rates are skyrocketing," said McKinley. "While we will eventually put the COVID pandemic behind us, the drug abuse problem will continue getting worse. Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. We cannot continue to ignore the opioid epidemic."
"The opioid epidemic was fueled by irresponsible actions of manufactures and distributors who flooded our communities with pills. This bill would stop this from happening in the future," added McKinley.
The bill passed in November 2020 but did not get taken up on the Senate. Click here to read more.
The suspicious orders legislation was drafted based on recommendations from a report issued by Energy and Commerce Republicans in December 2018 entitled "Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored:
Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia."
The full report is available here.
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.