WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met virtually with Anne Milgram, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). During their meeting, Durbin discussed reining in excessive opioid production, incorporating public health approaches into law enforcement policies, and combatting the opioid epidemic.
“After years of absent leadership at DEA, I am pleased to see a qualified, experienced nominee chosen to steer DEA in a new direction. After today’s meeting, I believe Ms. Milgram has the expertise and capability to bridge the gap between public health and criminal justice and respond to the opioid crisis with the measured approach our country so desperately needs,” said Durbin.
A photo of today’s meeting is available here.
Durbin, along with U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), was the lead author of the 2018 law that enhanced DEA’s opioid quota-setting authority by improving transparency and enabling DEA to adjust quotas to prevent opioid diversion and abuse while ensuring an adequate supply for legitimate medical needs.
The DEA is responsible for establishing annual quotas determining the exact amount of each opioid drug that is permitted to be produced in the U.S. each year. Between 1993 and 2015, DEA allowed aggregate production quotas for oxycodone to increase 39-fold, hydrocodone to increase 12-fold, hydromorphone to increase 23-fold, and fentanyl to increase 25-fold. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry flooded tens of billions of painkillers to every corner of the nation, which ignited the current opioid epidemic. After two decades of dramatic increases to the volume of opioids allowed to come to the market, the DEA heeded Durbin and Kennedy’s call over the past four years to help prevent opioid addiction by responsibly reducing nearly all opioid quotas by more than 55 percent.
The Senate last confirmed an Administrator of the DEA in December 2010. She resigned in May 2015. Since then, the DEA has been led by Acting Administrators, and former President Trump never put forward a nominee.
Graduating from New York University (NYU) School of Law in 1996, Milgram is a former New Jersey Attorney General (2007-2010) and founder of the Criminal Justice Lab at NYU School of Law, which focuses on projects related to the intersection of public health and the criminal justice system. One such project includes a partnership with law enforcement agencies in McLean County, Illinois, to implement a mental health and substance use disorder screening tool to empower officers to make informed diversion decisions. She has earned the support of law enforcement organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE).