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Sign the petition: Congress must stop Big Pharma from fueling the opioid epidemic

Sign the petition

Petition to Congress:

"Restore the Drug Enforcement Agency’s power to crack down on companies contributing to the opioid epidemic by supporting Sen. Claire McCaskill’s bill to repeal 2016 amendments to the Controlled Substances Act."

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    Sign the petition: Congress must stop Big Pharma from fueling the opioid epidemic

    The opioid crisis has devastated families, stolen more than 200,000 lives and made billions for the pharmaceutical industry.1

    The drug dealers of the opioid crisis wear suits and ties and lab coats. They line their own pockets with illicit sales or by deliberately looking the other way when pharmacies place huge orders. According to former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents quoted in a recent blockbuster report, drug distributors ignore red flags out of pure greed.2

    Worse still, the drug industry worked with well-paid former DEA agents and well-compensated members of Congress to pass a little-noticed 2016 law that sabotaged the DEA’s anti-opioid efforts.3

    Now, there is a bill in Congress that would stop Big Pharma from further fueling the devastating opioid crisis by repealing this law and giving the DEA power to suspend the operations of shady drug distributors.4 Lives depend on Congress passing this bill.

    Tell Congress: Stop Big Pharma from fueling the opioid epidemic.

    One family, the Sacklers, have made around $35 billion off of one drug: OxyContin. Doctors were originally reluctant to prescribe opioid painkillers, chemical relatives of heroin, due to fears of addiction and overdose. But intentional and well-funded campaigns from pharmaceutical companies resulted in a massive uptick in prescriptions in the mid-90s, pushing the drugs on patients who did not need them and kicking off the opioid crisis we know today where people who get hooked after injury end up overdosing or moving on to heroin.5

    For years, one of the DEA's best tools was its ability to suspend the operations of distributors who were funneling suspiciously large shipments of painkillers – for instance, millions of pills to a pharmacy in a sparsely populated county. But a former DEA agent – who walked through the revolving door to a drug industry lobbying firm, and then a drug distributor – worked with lobbyists to rewrite the law to effectively rob the DEA of that power.6

    Rep. Tom Marino, who Trump had named as his anti-drug czar, recently had to withdraw his name from consideration. He was the primary sponsor of the lobbyist-written legislation to hamstring the DEA, all in pursuit of making drug enforcement less of a nuisance to deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies.7 Now, Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation to undo the glaring 2016 mistake that hampered the DEA,8 and with enough public outcry we can overcome Big Pharma opposition and strike a blow against the opioid epidemic.

    Tell Congress: Stop Big Pharma from fueling the opioid epidemic.

    Marino's bill changed the standard under which the DEA could intervene when it saw suspicious behavior – kind of like introducing a new rule that all students need to get straight A's in order to graduate and then acting surprised when the graduation rate falls. Selling opioid painkillers is big business for Big Pharma, and companies are willing to make significant political contributions and spend millions on lobbyists to keep profiting off an epidemic.

    Siding with big companies who are getting rich off addiction, death and suffering is everything that is wrong with Washington. This bill won't end the epidemic, but it will undo a major misstep and we need to fight hard to make it real.

    Tell Congress: Stop Big Pharma from fueling the opioid epidemic.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, "The drug industry's triumph over the DEA," The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2017.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Patrick Radden Keefe, "The family that built an empire of pain," The New Yorker, Oct. 30, 2017 Issue.
    6. Higham and Bernstein, "The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA."
    7. Ibid.
    8. Nathaniel Weixel, "Senate Dem introduces bill to repeal controversial opioid law," The Hill, Oct. 16, 2017.