WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today released a statement following the announcement that Minnesota county attorneys have announced lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors for the public cost of the opioid crisis:
“The Minnesota Department of Health reported that 637 Minnesotans died from drug overdoses last year alone—and this crisis is not just in our state, it’s all over the country. Drug manufacturers and distributors spent years misleading the public about the addictive nature of their prescription drugs, contributing to the epidemic that has been officially deemed a public health emergency. These companies should be held accountable for their role in this crisis – and help pay for drug treatment for the people they got addicted.”
As a former Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. Klobuchar was one of four senators, along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to lead the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This bipartisan bill, which was signed into law in July 2016, encourages states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against opioid addiction. At the end of 2016, $1 billion was made available by Congress to fund the national effort. To build on the monumental first step of CARA, Klobuchar introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which would require the use of strong prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in all states that receive certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and also requires states to make their PDMP data available to other states.
Earlier this year, she and ten other senators introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, which would establish a reliable funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment. She and a bipartisan group of senators also introduced the Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act and the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. The SALTS Act would make it easier to prosecute the sale of “analogue” drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs. The STOP Act would help close a loophole in the U.S. postal system to stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the U.S.
In September 2014, the DEA implemented Klobuchar’s bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances.