The Trump Administration is looking to increase the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed in states where it has no opioid overdose prevention program, the White House said Thursday.
The administration is considering setting up a Task Force on Prescription Opioid Prescribing in which it would issue more prescription opioid painkiller approvals and establish more coordination with the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to a statement from the White Board on Drug Policy.
The White House has already established the opioid overdose response task force, which is led by Dr. Michael Lebowitz, who has also served as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as a part of its response to the opioid crisis.
Dr. Lebowtz was a senior advisor to President Donald Trump’s opioid commission and has also been a senior adviser to President George W. Bush’s opioid advisory council.
In January, Trump signed an executive order directing the DEA to “take additional action to address the opioid epidemic.”
According to a March report by the New York Times, the DEA has approved more than 20,000 more opioids in the last two years than were approved in the previous 12 months.
During the same period, the number of opioid prescriptions approved by the DEA fell by nearly 20 percent, according the report.
Trump has said the epidemic is a “national emergency,” but critics have questioned how that will translate to the administration’s priorities.