Manufacturing quotas for the six most abused opioids should be cut by 10 percent on average, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration said Friday in a proposed rule, while also proposing rules for a boost in the amount of cannabis grown for federal research.
The DEA said it is proposing to reduce more commonly prescribed schedule II opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl, hoping that the reduction will in turn lessen the amount of opioid painkillers diverted to use by addicts.
At the same time, the DEA plans to push for more than five times the amount of legal cannabis that is currently grown for research, saying in a filing set to be published in the Federal Register that the amount that should be available for research should be 2,450,000 grams next year. This year the amount authorized to be grown for research was 443,680 grams.
“We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day,” DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a press release. “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.”
Once the aggregate quota is set, DEA allocates manufacturing and procurement quotas to manufacturers that have applied to produce certain drugs.