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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will closely examine unusual or disproportionate drug prescriptions, part of a 45-day enforcement “surge” intended to help quell the opioid crisis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday.
Much of the scrutiny involves analysis of about 80 million transaction reports collected each year from drugmakers and distributors, Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officials gathered in Louisville.
“These reports contain information like distribution figures and inventory,” Sessions said. “DEA will aggregate these numbers to find patterns, trends, statistical outliers and put them into targeting packages. That will help us make more arrests, secure more convictions and ultimately help us reduce the number of prescription drugs available for Americans to get addicted to or overdose from these dangerous drugs.”
The surge is designed to reinforce efforts by states and communities to prevent widespread addiction and curtail what some experts call the worst health crisis in modern U.S. history. Cities and small towns have been flooded with pain pills, investigators have found.
Sessions and 44 state attorneys general are calling for changes to a drug enforcement law to make it easier to shut down companies that fuel the epidemic, the Washington Post reported.
Sessions has recently boosted Justice Department resources to confront the opioid epidemic. On Monday he announced creation of an enforcement team of dozens of federal agents and analysts to disrupt illicit online opioid sales.