Attorney General Jim Hood joined an 11-state coalition in calling upon the federal government to implement sweeping reforms to account for the misuse of prescription painkillers and ultimately lead to the manufacturing of fewer opioid pills in 2019.

The attorneys general wrote a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration emphasizing that the proposed 2019 aggregate production quotas for Schedule II opioids are “excessive” due to the DEA not yet accounting for illicit diversion and relevant input from states and federal agencies.

“Mississippi ranks fifth in the nation for painkiller prescriptions, and our state’s opioid overdose death rate has increased dramatically,” said General Hood. “Because of this, we have particular interest in how the DEA handles the growing problem of a high rate of opioid manufacturing, especially the everyday occurrence of pills getting into the hands of someone who didn’t receive a prescription.”

The letter states: “These “aggregate production quotas” are intended to prevent unnecessary increases in the supply of potentially dangerous Schedule II drugs, including highly addictive and frequently abused opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. To that end, the DEA has a responsibility to limit the production of controlled substances to levels sufficient for—and not beyond—“the estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States, for lawful export requirements, and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”

The coalition contends further reduction in the supply of dangerous, addictive opioids is possible and would be of greater benefit to the nation as a whole. Fully implementing the reforms (found in full here LINK) will require the DEA to consider relevant information from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and relevant information obtained from states.

Mississippi joined the West Virginia-led filing with attorneys general from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah.

Read the coalition’s filing.

Attorney General Jim Hood Press Release