SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general asking United States Food and Drug Commissioner Stephen Hahn to provide an update on its current actions combatting the opioid epidemic amid COVID-19.
Becerra noted in a statement Monday that the pandemic has fueled a rise in overdoses, with opioid deaths surpassing COVID-19 deaths.
Today, we’re calling on Commissioner Hahn to provide an update on what the FDA has done and will continue to do to help us fight the growing opioid epidemic.
When the pandemic started, we were in the midst of the opioid epidemic and working to help our communities fight it. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all and further exacerbated the opioid crisis—people need support now more than ever. As a coalition, our goal is to work with the FDA to reduce opioid abuse.Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Last year, it was reported that 621 people had died of drug overdoses in San Francisco by early December, with recorded 173 deaths from COVID-19, Becerra’s office said.
In 2018, Congress passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act). It gave the FDA “new authority and new requirements for regulating opioids,” including setting prescription guidelines.
The attorneys generals’ letter asks the FDA for updated guidelines under the 2018 act.
Becerra joined the attorneys general of New Mexico, West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
A copy of the coalition’s letter is available here.