August 11, 2017

Cortez Masto Hosts Roundtable on Opioid Crisis, Touts Importance of Medicaid in Fighting the Epidemic

Opioid Roundtable

Reno, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto released the following statement after hosting a roundtable on the opioid crisis and the importance of Medicaid in treating addicts. Cortez Masto heard from law enforcement, clinicians, advocates, and individuals recovering from addiction.

“The opioid epidemic continues to devastate lives and has resulted in far too many deaths every single day. At today’s roundtable, we were able to discuss how we can fight this growing epidemic and I heard directly from Nevadans on how this crisis affects them. I am grateful to Governor Sandoval for expanding Medicaid in Nevada, which has dramatically improved access to opioid treatment in the state. Despite being under constant attack, Medicaid is the single largest payer of substance use disorder services in the nation. I am also pleased that DEA has recently taken a strong step in reducing the number of opioids produced in the country, but more needs to be done to combat the problem. After hearing from Nevadans today, I am more committed than ever to continue this fight and to work with my colleagues to combat the opioid epidemic.”

In July, Cortez Masto joined a group of sixteen senators in urging the DEA to better prevent painkillers from flooding the market by setting lower opioid production quotas for 2018. In their letter, the Senators also pressed the agency to improve transparency in its quota-setting process by providing an explanation of how it reaches a determination and publishes quotas granted to individual manufacturers of schedule II opioids.

The DEA last week announced a proposal to reduce production quotas for nearly all Schedule II prescription opioids. Three powerful, addictive painkillers will see a significant reduction from what was allowed on the market just two years prior: a 31 percent cut to oxycodone over two years; a 43 percent cut to hydrocodone over two years; and a 42 percent cut to fentanyl over two years.