Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined a bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory attorneys general to call on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and stem diversion.
"Diversion of prescription opioids has devastated communities in our states," said Attorney General Kilmartin and the other attorneys general in their letter. "The consequences of turning a blind eye to a suspicious opioid order cannot merely be a cost of doing business."
Attorney General Kilmartin led the efforts by the National Association of Attorneys General in advocating for the passage of the initial Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which passed Congress in 2016.
CARA expanded alcohol and drug prevention and education, expanded the availability of Narcan, increased collaboration with law enforcement and criminal justice systems, created more disposal and turn-in sites for unwanted prescription medications, increased availability of treatment including evidence-based and medication-assisted programs, and created prescription drug monitoring programs to help at-risk individuals access critical services. In addition, it provided funding for specialized courts that confront substance abuse and addiction issues including the Veterans Court and Drug Court, two programs supported by the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General.
"We took a great step forward with the passage of CARA, and as a result, we recognize that more must be done to end the opioid crisis, including holding all those responsible for their role in this crisis," added Attorney General Kilmartin
In its latest initiative, the attorneys general sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, the committees of jurisdiction, urging them to pass the S.2456, the CARA 2.0 and S.2440, the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act.
Opioid manufacturers have a duty to ensure that they take steps to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market. Among other provisions, CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act increase penalties on drug manufactures that fail to report suspicious transactions and maintain effective controls against diversion of their drugs to the illicit market. The bills would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation for negligence in reporting suspicious activity and double the criminal penalty to $500,000 for companies that willfully disregard or knowingly fail to keep proper reporting systems or fail to report suspicious activity.
More information on CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act on congress.gov.