The Food and Drug Administration approved opioids for long-term use in 2001, and doctors began writing more prescriptions for more opioid pills soon after. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – which sets annual quotas for how many opioids manufacturers can produce, based on what it determines to be the country’s legitimate medical need – significantly increased quotas year over year until 2014, to meet the demand from the increase in prescriptions.
So, while prescription drugs, including controlled substances, can be critical to patient care, our country has ended up with too many prescriptions for too many opioid pills. And now the threat is evolving further, as illegal drug substitutes and dangerous counterfeit opioids have entered the illicit market in significant quantities.
America faces a serious and complex public health issue we must all now solve together. Cardinal Health supports policy measures to reduce the over-prescribing and over-dispensing of opioids, and to prevent misuse before it happens.