Alaska joins other states in seeking repeal of 'dangerous' opioid law

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Officials in Alaska say that a federal law regarding opioid poses an immediate danger to the health and safety of the public.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the attorney general of Alaska, Jahna Lindemuth, joined 44 state and territorial attorneys general in sending a letter to that effect, asking for this law to be repealed.

The law itself, known as “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” (P.L. 114-145), served to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from "immediately suspending a drug manufacturer or distributor that poses an immediate danger to public health or safety," the release states.

In the letter signed by the attorneys general, they call the law "a step backward in our collective effort to prevent the diversion and misuse of prescription drugs and address our worsening epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths."

According to the release, nationally over two million U.S. citizens had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids last year. Lindemuth said the 2016 law "effectively [...] removed the ability to hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their actions."

In Lindemuth's release, she wrote that Alaska saw 774 drug overdose deaths between 2009 and 2015, 512 of which were prescription drug related.