Seven U.S. senators sharply criticized the Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday for failing to answer questions about enforcement actions against pharmaceutical companies accused of violating laws designed to prevent painkillers from reaching the black market.
“We received an insufficient response that ignored those questions almost entirely and recited boilerplate information about the DEA’s mission,” said the letter to the acting DEA administrator, Chuck Rosenberg.
The DEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The senators first sent the questions to the DEA in October after The Washington Post reported that the agency had slowed its enforcement efforts in the face of the opioid epidemic, which has cost nearly 180,000 lives since 2000. In 2015 alone, about 16,000 people died of prescription opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.