Portman Promises Another Pass at Tracking Opioid Prescriptions; Brown Says the DEA Failed at its Job

Oct 19, 2017

Portman says he's making another go at passing a federal law that tracks prescriptions more closely.

Ohio’s two senators are among the many members of Congress now condemning a law they passed last year that dismantled a key tool the DEA used to suspend suspicious shipments of opioids. And Sen. Rob Portman is suggesting the same forces could have helped strip a key provision from an addiction recovery bill he sponsored last year.

Sen. Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act initially included a provision that would have required more monitoring of prescriptions including cross-state compacts, and he’s ready to try again.

“It was dropped out in the conference with the House. Maybe some of the same people who helped get that other bill through quietly were not particularly supportive of that. But we’ve got that legislation right now in the United States Senate. It’s got … a quarter to a third of the Senate already sponsoring it.”

Meanwhile, Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says he’s troubled that the DEA under the Obama administration didn’t raise alarms to the administration and Congress about the other bill.

“I guess their answers were they were so beaten down by the drug industry but their job is to stand up to the drug industry.”

Sherrod Brown says the DEA gets no pass from him for failing to alert Congress and the president to problems in the bill.

Both Brown and Portman said they’re happy the Senate Judiciary Committee plans hold a hearing on how that bill became law with so little scrutiny. 

Here's the Washington Post examination of how the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act became law and what it's impact has been.