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IPFS News Link • Legislative Mischief

The Misinformed & Misguided Prescription Abuse Prevention Act: A Response to Delfino

• by Robert Capodilupo & Jacob

 In her Yale Law & Policy Review Article, The Prescription Abuse Prevention Act: A New Federal Statute to Criminalize Overprescribing Opioids, Rebecca A. Delfino proposes novel legislation to reform how the federal government prosecutes doctors who overprescribe controlled substances. However, many of the statistics Delfino cites to justify her legislation, such as "[s]eventy percent of [opioid overdose] deaths involve an opioid that a doctor legally prescribed," are not supported by the literature. This comment corrects the errors presented in Delfino's Article and presents novel data describing the origins of the opioid crisis. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), Purdue Pharma's OxyContin was rarely used for nonmedical purposes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Overall, given that opioid prescribing has decreased every year over the past decade, further reductions in prescribing that follow Delfino's proposed Prescription Abuse Prevention Act may further exacerbate opioid overdoses by orienting both pain patients and recreational users to illicit alternatives, like heroin and fentanyl.

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