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House to Take Up Griffith Legislation to Close Opioid Loophole

House of Representatives Photo

This week, the House of Representatives will take up legislation introduced by a Virginia congressman aimed at tackling the opioid crisis.

Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith of Salem says licenses to sell opioids are not a commodity that should be bought and sold.

He says people who want to distribute opioids must earn their license, and he's introduced legislation to close a loophole in existing federal law.  "What we're trying to do today is to make sure that in the future, we don't have some rogue individual that comes in and buys somebody else's business or their license or their registration and doesn't go back to the DEA to get proper registration."

Robert McNab at Old Dominion University says the opioid crisis has accelerated during the pandemic, so now is the time to take action to make sure rogue actors aren't getting their hands on licenses.  "Somebody could obtain a license to dispense from a business or a doctor and use that to generate significant profits in the short run by just writing scripts. So if you are going to close a loophole, this is a loophole that you probably should close."

Griffith introduced a similar bill last year, and it passed the House during the lame duck session although the Senate never took it up. Advocates for the bill are hoping the new Senate will give the bill consideration and potentially even put it on the floor for a vote.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.