MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Top Minnesota lawmakers are asking Congress to repeal a controversial new law they say is actually making the opioid problem worse.
The outcry comes after a shocking 60 Minutes investigation found the law weakens U.S. drug enforcement to allow drug companies to send millions of opioids to small communities.
Now, that 60 Minutes report has lawmakers from both parties demanding action.
“We are all outraged,” said Minnesota State Sen. Chris Eaton, a Democrat from Brooklyn Center.
Eaton lost her daughter, Ariel, to an overdose 10 years ago and is the author of numerous bills to curb the opioid epidemic.
“Here we’re fighting so hard, and our federal government is giving them carte blanche to ship this stuff all over the place,” she said.
60 Minutes reported the pharmaceutical industry wrote legislation making it harder for the DEA to curb the flow of opioids.
This is part of why state lawmakers on both sides are calling for the law to be repealed.
Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican from Willmar, lost his son, Dan, to a drug overdose.
“Everyone owns this one,” he said, adding: “When you see that [report], it makes you wonder why the system that we have on the federal level is so upside down, and who’s really driving the bus out there.”
At least 330 Minnesotans died from opioid overdoses last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. That’s almost one every day.
Eaton says she’s frustrated, but undeterred.
“I guess I feel a lot of despair sometimes,” Eaton said. “Is this going to stop before we’ve lost a whole generation?”
Minnesota Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson’s office told state lawmakers he will introduce a bill to repeal the controversial drug law.