Peterson submits Statement for the Record in support of DEA authorities to combat opioid abuse

Jun 21, 2018 Issues: Health

WASHINGTON - Congressman Collin C. Peterson submitted the following Statement for the Record after Republican Leadership refused to consider his bipartisan amendment to H.R.6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. The amendment would have restored the DEA's authority to carry out needed enforcement actions to combat the opioid epidemic.

“Mr./Ms. Speaker, I rise today to express my disappointment that the House failed to consider H.R. 4079, the RESTORE Act of 2017, both this and last week. Further, Republican Leadership refused to allow debate or a vote on my bipartisan amendment to attach the legislation to H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

“Two years ago, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and was signed into law. Members were led to believe that the measure was non-controversial and would help patients secure pain medications.

“Instead, a joint investigation by ‘60 Minutes’ and the Washington Post appears to confirm that the legislation has limited the DEA’s ability to suspend a pharmaceutical distributor’s license and shipments if they pose an imminent danger to public health and safety.

“The RESTORE Act of 2017 would fully repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 and restore the DEA's authority to carry out needed enforcement actions to combat the opioid epidemic.

“Although many of the bills recently passed by the House were bipartisan and took incremental steps toward addressing substance abuse, they did not equip the DEA with the authority that it needs to keep our communities safe and healthy.

“I urge Republican Leadership to reconsider this issue and allow the Restore Act of 2017 to be brought to the floor as soon as possible.

“Thank you Mr./Ms. Speaker and I yield back the rest of my time.”