Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III this week joined a broad coalition of 48 attorneys general in pushing federal regulators to examine recent progress in their fight against opioid abuse.

The bipartisan coalition seeks a progress report regarding recent steps taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to combat the opioid crisis, given the new authorities Congress granted the agency in 2018, a news release said.

In their letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the attorneys general contend the requested information will help reduce prescription opioid abuse and accidental deaths.

“In Tennessee we see every day the devastating effects of opioid addition — the lives lost and the cost to our healthcare systems and local economies. Every tool should be used, from the federal level on down-to protect consumers, educate patients, and provide relief as we work to abate the ongoing crisis,” Slatery said in the release.

The coalition’s letter seeks clarification of how the FDA is using and plans to use powers granted under the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, known as the SUPPORT Act.

Provisions include safer opioid packaging and disposal features, research and issuance of new regulations on non-addictive alternatives to opioids and guidelines for opioid prescribing.

The attorneys general believe the FDA plays a critical role in ensuring both the safety and efficacy of opioids and encouraging non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives for treating pain.

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