February 06, 2020

Senator Hassan Continues Oversight of Department of Justice’s Handling of the Opioid Crisis in Meeting with the Agency’s Inspector General

Meeting Follows Release of Inspector General Report Highlighting Need for Implementation of Drug Diversion Measures That Senator Hassan Authored and Were Signed into Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) met yesterday with Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz as part of her continued oversight of the Department’s handling of the opioid epidemic. The Department’s Office of the Inspector General serves as an independent entity to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct at the agency.


Senator Hassan and Horowitz discussed a report released by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General that recommended a number of actions for the Department to take, including measures authored by Senator Hassan that were signed into law as part of the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act but have not been fully implemented yet. Specifically, the measures aim to strengthen the Drug Enforcement Administration’s system for addressing suspicious orders of opioid-based prescription drugs from drug distributors and increasing penalties for bad actors in the pharmaceutical industry that fail to report suspicious orders to the agency.


“The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act included an important measure that I wrote to help crack down on bad actors in the pharmaceutical industry, and the Inspector General’s report underscored the importance of the Drug Enforcement Administration swiftly and effectively implementing these provisions,” Senator Hassan said. “I was glad to meet with Inspector General Horowitz and appreciate his scrutiny of the Department of Justice’s response to the opioid crisis. As we keep focusing on efforts to stem the flow of deadly opioids into our communities, I look forward to continue working with the Inspector General on oversight efforts.”


Senator Hassan and Inspector General Horowitz also discussed Senator Hassan’s calls for the Department to turn over a 2006 memo laying out federal prosecutors’ strong criminal case against Purdue Pharma—and related documents that could show why the Department failed to act on the memo’s recommendations and instead let Purdue Pharma off with a slap on the wrist. In addition, the two discussed the Senator’s request to the Department for an update on what the Bureau of Prisons is doing to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated individuals, which can play a key role both in combating the opioid epidemic and reducing crime.