Report: Distributors, DEA failed to abate US opioid crisis

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A congressional report on prescription pill dumping in West Virginia blames U.S. prescription drug distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration for not doing enough to help mitigate the nation's opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

The report released Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee follows an 18-month investigation and focused on the three largest U.S. wholesale drug companies, McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, and regional distributors. The three didn't immediately reply to requests for comment.

West Virginia has by far the nation's highest death rate from prescription drugs.

The report calls examples of massive pill shipments to West Virginia "troubling" and says it raises serious questions about compliance with the DEA-administered Controlled Substances Act.

The report says the DEA didn't proactively review usage data to combat the diversion of drugs for illicit purposes.

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President Donald Trump is officially declaring the opioid crisis a "national emergency."

Trump made the announcement before holding a security briefing Thursday at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

He tells reporters the drug crisis afflicting the nation is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had" and says he's drawing up documents "to so attest."

A drug commission convened by Trump recently called for a national emergency declaration to help deal with the opioid crisis.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price earlier this week seemed to suggest the president was leaning against the recommendation when he said the administration could deploy the necessary resources and attention without declaring a national emergency.

Still, Price stressed that "all things" were "on the table for the president."



 
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