Lawmakers urge stimulant use action

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently requested plans of action from a three government agencies regarding efforts to curb the nation’s rise in stimulant use.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) led a group of legislators in forwarding correspondence to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.

The letters address concerns about the increasing use of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine among Americans in recent years.

The inquiry stems from, reports that more than 10,000 Americans died from an overdose involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, in 2017 – a 37 percent increase from the year before while overdose deaths involving the use of cocaine in 2017 reached nearly 15,000 and accounted for approximately one in five overdose deaths nationwide that year.

“We are concerned that while the nation, rightly so, is devoting much of its attention and resources to the opioid epidemic, another epidemic involving cocaine and methamphetamine—is on the rise,” the lawmakers wrote. “Our country’s fight against illicit substances must be multi-faceted and we want to ensure that the appropriate attention and resources are devoted to combat these other substances as well. Accordingly, we seek to better understand how the relevant agencies are monitoring and combating this growing threat.”

DeGette, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel, said in continuation of bipartisan work looking at addiction and treatment issues, the committee is sending a bipartisan letter regarding what the administration is doing about the issues.