Kentucky, other states ask feds to review progress in opioid battle

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky has joined 46 other states and territories in asking asking federal regulators to examine recent progress in their fight against opioid abuse.

The bipartisan coalition specifically seeks a progress report regarding recent steps taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat the opioid crisis given the new authority Congress granted the agency in 2018. In their letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the attorneys general contend the report will help reduce prescription opioid abuse and accidental deaths.

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“While combatting COVID-19 has, understandably, been at the forefront of conversations about health and safety during these last 10 months, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the drug crisis continues to take the lives of Kentuckians,” said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. “The FDA plays a critical role in combating this crisis, and I, and my colleagues in other states, joined together in sending this letter to request an update on the agency’s progress and next steps.”

The coalition’s letter seeks clarification of how the FDA is using and plans to use powers granted under the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act).

Those provisions include safer opioid packaging and disposal features, research and issuance of new regulations on non-addictive alternatives to opioids, and guidelines for opioid prescribing.

The attorneys general believe the FDA plays a critical role in ensuring both the safety and efficacy of opioids and encouraging non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives for treating pain.

Attorney General Cameron joined the West Virginia- and New Mexico-led letter with attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New  Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.