Tags: Law Enforcement | dea | drug law | pain killers

Ex-DEA: New Drug Law 'Makes It Much Harder to Do Our Jobs'

Image: Ex-DEA: New Drug Law 'Makes It Much Harder to Do Our Jobs'
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 15 December 2017 03:43 PM

A new drug law that opioid distributors and manufacturers support is making the jobs of Drug Enforcement Administration investigators more difficult, some former DEA investigators said in a Friday Washington Post report.

The new law is harming efforts to stop suspicious shipments of prescription pain pills, and it's slowing down investigation efforts, according to DEA field investigators in interviews with The Post and CBS' "60 Minutes."

Morale within the DEA field divisions has dropped, the investigators said.

"The law makes it much harder for us to do our jobs," said James Rafalski, a DEA investigator who retired in June after 13 years with the DEA.

A small group of legislators backed by drug companies pushed through the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which has undermined the war against the opioid epidemic, investigators, agents, lawyers, and the DEA's chief administrative law judge told The Post.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he was "dubious" about the law when it was passed during his tenure as Alabama senator, but now he has concluded that it should be changed, while 44 state attorneys general have called for it to be repealed, The Post reported.

Supporters of the 2016 law say it is a way to protect patients while not damaging the DEA.

"This was an effort to ensure that DEA's praiseworthy efforts to stem abuse don't end up hurting legitimate patients," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Tuesday, according to The Post.

The law allows companies that are suspected of violations to submit corrective plans. Helen Kaupang, a DEA investigator until her retirement in September, called that a "get out of jail free card," The Post reported.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Ill., who is co-sponsoring a bill to repeal the law, said the law "camouflaged" language that fooled members of Congress, The Post reported.

"When you get duped as we did, then it's our responsibility to fix it immediately. We're going to overturn that bill. It has to be overturned…the DEA has to be held responsible for the job they're supposed to do," Manchin said in The Post.

Demetra Ashley, the head of the DEA office that regulates pharmaceutical opioids told lawmakers Tuesday that Congress should choose between repealing the law and amending it, according to a Tuesday report in The Post.

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A new drug law that opioid distributors and manufacturers support is making the jobs of Drug Enforcement Administration investigators more difficult, some former DEA investigators said in a Friday Washington Post report.
dea, drug law, pain killers
384
2017-43-15
Friday, 15 December 2017 03:43 PM
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