Durbin Discusses Opioid Quotas, Social Media Drug Distribution With DEA Administrator Milgram

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram.  Durbin commended Administrator Milgram for continuing to rein in the pharmaceutical industry’s demand for excessive and unjustified manufacturing quotas for opioid pills.  Durbin, along with U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), was the lead author of the 2018 law that enhanced DEA’s opioid quota-setting authority by improving transparency and enabling DEA to adjust quotas to prevent opioid diversion and abuse while ensuring an adequate supply for legitimate medical needs. 

In their meeting, Administrator Milgram also briefed Durbin on the proliferation of illicit drug distribution through social media channels, and on DEA’s ongoing intelligence and enforcement activities surrounding fentanyl trafficking by international drug cartels and the money laundering networks that support them.   

“DEA is tasked with the serious responsibility of responding to the opioid crisis,” said Durbin. “I commend Administrator Milgram for her commitment to using data in this effort, including by adjusting the pharmaceutical industry’s production quotas to reflect public health consequences.”

A photo of the meeting is available here.

DEA is responsible for establishing annual quotas determining the exact amount of each opioid drug that is permitted to be produced in the U.S. each year.  Between 1993 and 2015, DEA allowed aggregate production quotas for oxycodone to increase 39-fold and hydrocodone to increase 12-fold.  As a result, the pharmaceutical industry flooded tens of billions of painkillers to every corner of the nation, which ignited the current opioid epidemic by putting enough painkillers on the market for every adult in America to have a one-month supply of opioids.  After two decades of dramatic increases to the volume of opioids allowed to come to the market, DEA heeded Durbin and Kennedy’s call over the past five years to help prevent opioid addiction by responsibly reducing all opioid quotas.