60 Minutes and Washington Post trivialize opioid crisis, ignore CDC data for political purposes

Oct. 16, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to a 60 Minutes and Washington Post report linking the opioid crisis to a bill passed unanimously by Congress in 2016:

“60 Minutes and the Washington Post once again have proven an unwillingness to let facts get in the way of a good headline. The opioid crisis began more than a decade prior to the 2016 passage of the law by Congress governing DEA license suspensions, which merely puts in place a 30-day process for the Attorney General to approve license suspensions of drug distributors recommended by the DEA in a considered manner.

“The 60 Minutes segment contends DEA immediate license suspensions are the ‘most potent tool in fighting the spread of dangerous narcotics.’ Yet, according to Centers for Disease Control data, opioid related deaths caused by commonly prescribed opioids peaked in 2011 and has remained relatively constant since that point. That covers the very period the original Washington Post story notes the slowdown of license suspensions by the Obama Justice Department. Apparently, the Justice Department’s new approach to enforcement away from immediate license suspensions had no bearing on the overall crisis. The same amount of deaths related to prescription overdoses occurred with the immediate license suspensions as without.

“Given these basic facts, the 60 Minutes and Washington Post report appears as nothing more than a political hit job on Tom Marino and Marsha Blackburn. Why weren’t the Democrat cosponsors in the House, Peter Welch and Judy Chu, mentioned? Or the Senate sponsors for that matter, Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse? This bipartisan law was passed unanimously in 2016 without objection by both the House and Senate and promptly signed into law by then-President Obama. It is despicable that 60 Minutes and the Washington Post are so cynical as to want to politicize the pain and suffering of so many Americans, as if this was a partisan issue, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

“The opioid crisis is serious. Families are being ripped apart as their sons and daughters fall in to this private hell. The 60 Minutes and Washington Post do a grave disservice to everyone when they engage in the trivialization and political misrepresentation when discussing this issue.”


Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, United States, 2000-2015 at https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html

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