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Beshear Joins AGs to Urge Repeal of Federal Law Hampering Law Enforcement in Opioid Battle

Science News

Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking Congress to repeal a federal law that effectively strips law enforcement of its ability to immediately halt drug manufacturers and distributors who have willfully contributed to the oversupply of opioids in Kentucky communities.

Beshear said as the Commonwealth is in the midst of a tragic opioid epidemic, law enforcement like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must be empowered and not impeded.

“The amended law operates for the advantage of the drug companies and, potentially, the peril of the law enforcement community as the DEA’s enforcement authority is weakened,” Beshear said. “This is a significant problem for me because the DEA is a critical partner in our daily efforts to address those providers who contribute to the drug diversion problem Kentucky is facing.”

The law is the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016.

It added language to federal law creating an exceedingly higher burden for law enforcement to meet when showing that actions by a drug manufacturer or distributor endangers public health or safety. The Act also allows drug makers or distributors to file a “corrective action plan” prior to an appearance for a show cause proceeding.

The Kentucky Office of the Attorney General through its Office of Medicaid Fraud and Department of Criminal Investigations works to investigate and prosecute health care providers involved in the illegal distribution and improper prescribing of opioids and other pharmaceuticals. These agencies are part of the Diversion Enforcement Task Force with the DEA.

Beshear said he is urging the repeal of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act because it neither safeguards patient access to medication nor allows for effective drug enforcement efforts.

Beshear and 43 attorneys general signed the letter to Congress, including AGs from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Beshear believes the state’s drug epidemic is the single greatest threat to Kentucky. Besides providing millions to drug treatment programs across the state, his office is actively suing or planning to sue drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers where there is evidence that they contributed to the opioid epidemic by illegally marketing, distributing and selling opioids to Kentuckians.

(provided by Office of the Attorney General)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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