Update: Feds change rule so drugmakers must justify need for opioids

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has approved a rule change requiring drugmakers to identify a legitimate need for opioids to justify their production in an attempt to rein in their diversion for illicit purposes.

Photo: FDA -- Photo: Pixabay

The DEA announced Wednesday that the final rule sent for publication in the Federal Register will consider the extent to which a legally prescribed drug is diverted for abuse when the agency sets its annual opioid production limits.

The rule requires DEA to share notices of proposed aggregate production quotas and final aggregate production quota orders with state attorneys general.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the new rule "will allow the DEA to be more responsive to the facts on the ground."

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought to limit how many opioid pills can be manufactured each year.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech and opened up the Drug Enforcement Administration 360 Heroin and Opioid Response Summit at the University of Charleston Thursday morning.

Throughout the speech he focused on three main points: enforcement, treatment, and prevention.

"Many people say, 'We can't arrest our way out of this problem.' But no one denies we need good prevention and treatment programs," Sessions said. "What we must recognize is that strong law enforcement efforts are also essential," Sessions added.

Sessions said he, along with President Donald Trump, is committed to securing borders and expelling violent drug cartels.

In addition to that, Sessions said he was dedicated to working with local law enforcement to curb the problem.

"The goal of all our enforcement efforts is to take back our neighborhoods from drug traffickers and criminals," Sessions said.

While Sessions spoke, protesters were outside.

Protesters outside the event said that Sessions' approach to fighting the drug epidemic relies too heavily on law enforcement and doesn't put enough emphasis on drug addiction treatment.

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