(HEALTHCAST)— Lawmakers questioned a panel of witnesses from all aspects of government to find out how America is fending off the opioid crisis.
“I don’t speak BS,” Senator John Kennedy said.
“We’re going no where on this conversation,” Senator Dick Durbin said.
In an hearing Tuesday, senators grilled federal officials on their response to America’s opioid addiction.
Witnesses from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, Health and Human Services Department and Office of National Drug Control Policy shared updates on their efforts to lower the number of opioid deaths.
But Louisiana Senator John Kennedy wasn’t satisfied.
“You’re telling me we need 8 billion that’s like nine zeros doses of opioids per year for the American people. 25 Vicodin lets say for every man woman and child we need every single one of them?” Kennedy said.
“Sir, I said the quota that we have is appropriate for what we believe for the United States,” William McDermott of the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
The senators pressed the agencies on policies they said threaten us.
This was a bipartisan effort from the committee- with members from both sides of the aisle teaming up to get answers,” Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer said.
“And what does that look like in terms of what we need to implement,” Senator Thom Tillis said.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis asked the panel what more Congress can do to help the process.
While California Senator Diane Feinstein pressed them to get on board with making fentanyl –illegal.
“Our country has been ravaged by an addition epidemic and it costs tens of thousands of lives each year. So failure should not be an option,” Senator Diane Fienstein said.
In the end, witnesses said they can do better.
“DEA realizes that we could have done things differently, we are doing things differently,” McDermott said.
Lawmakers here plan to hold them to that promise.