Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, introduced legislation in July to monitor the distribution of prescription medication in an effort to address the nation’s opioid crisis.
The DEA Clearinghouse Act of 2018 would create a national monitoring system for all orders of controlled substances. The Drug Enforcement Administration system would be designed to detect potentially suspicious orders and prevent the diversion of prescription drugs into the wrong hands.
There is currently no law enforcement agency or private party that has the ability to provide nationwide oversight of all orders of controlled substances. According to the bill, this is a factor contributing to the disproportionate amount of prescription opioid shipments to pharmacies across the country.
“A few years ago the DEA discovered a major drug company was shipping enough prescription opioids to the San Luis Valley for every man, woman and child to have 30 to 60 pills per month,” Gardner said in a news release. “Stories like these are becoming all too common, and it’s time for Congress to do more to protect communities being devastated by undetected prescription drug diversion.”
The bill would require that all controlled substance orders pass through an automated database to notify suppliers before the orders are filled.
In 2017, there were more than 1,000 drug overdose deaths in Colorado, with 558 being related to opioids or heroin, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“This common-sense legislation establishes an automated system to identify and stop drug diversion before it has the opportunity to harm our communities,” Gardner said in a news release. “I’m hopeful that my bipartisan measure with (Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Delaware) can help in our fight against this epidemic.”