DEA To Increase Pain Medicine Production Quotas

DEA To Increase Pain Medicine Production Quotas

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week that it is increasing Aggregate Production Quotas (APQ) available to pharmaceutical manufacturers for the production of controlled substance medications. Many of those medications—and some doctors who prescribe them —have been targeted by the DEA. The result has been strong complaints from the chronic pain community that patients have been caught in the crossfire of the DEA crackdown.

Now those some medications are in high demand due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“DEA is committed to ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply of critical medications during this public health emergency,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “This will ensure that manufacturers can increase production of these important drugs, should the need arise.”

Aggregate Production Quotas for the schedule II-controlled substances represent the total amount necessary to meet the country’s medical, scientific, research and industrial needs, lawful export requirements, and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.

DEA has issued a final order to increase the 2020 APQ by 15 percent for certain substances needed for the treatment of COVID-19, including fentanyl, morphine, hydromorphone, codeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and certain controlled substance intermediates which are essential to their production.

DEA will also increase the APQ for methadone to ensure that opioid treatment programs have sufficient supplies to treat patients suffering from opioid use disorder.

In addition, DEA is increasing the authorized amounts of certain schedule III and IV controlled substances that may be imported into the United States, including ketamine, diazepam, midazolam, lorazepam, and phenobarbital, which are also necessary to treat patients on ventilators.

These increases apply to controlled substances identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as impacted by COVID-19. After the health emergency recedes, DEA will reevaluate demand and adjust APQ levels as needed.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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The DEA should have never been giving the power to trump doctor’s or his patient’s decisions in the 1st place. How did this ever happen?? What exactly is the DEA but a bunch of anti-drug zealots with no experience within the medical community. All they have is intimidation as a tool to make pain patients and their doctors miserable. This needs to STOP!

Maureen M.

@Sarah L, thank you for that explanation. I just can’t imagine all that the COVID hospital patients are going through! God help them all. Keep safe Warrior!

Thomas Wayne Kidd

The uncircumventable law of “Sowing and reaping” will set in on those who have brought this evil suffering upon us. Just hang on and watch as it takes place. It should make believers out of people but unfortunately not many will actually believe. The uncaring evil policy of the government on opioid medications is directly connected to the Coronavirus. Believe it or not. Evil begats more evil. If this insane policy isn’t changed more and much worse things are coming. “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ (of Christ) and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES and PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES in divers places. ALL THESE ARE THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS. (Matthew 24:4—8).

Georgia Carroll

Yea,DEA… but supply increase dose nothing for chronic sufferers who can’t get any doctor to write the prescription. I advocate for 500 legitimate abandon patients who hsve not been able to get opiates for 5months and 5 days now abd no help in sight.


Well in the article I failed to see where they’re increasing the availability to treat chronic pain patients but rather for the Covid-19 outbreak and opioid use disorder communities. So it doesn’t effect my situation in any way. It doesn’t re-open my pain clinic’s doors so I can get my needed spinal injections which are way overdo. And when it does, will there be any of the medications available for the treatments that I need so very much?
I like many people who depend upon their injections to maintain some resemblance of their prior life and function are set in a Hold pattern of failing function, increased pain , low energy &sleep loss from fighting pain, increased stress, and increased demands on our bodies just trying to get through each day without treatments we desperately need. Oh, but aren’t concerned essential, yeah right, bet they wouldn’t say that if they had to live in our bodies.
We really are a tough group of people when you think about it, having to deal with what we do on a daily basis.


Did everyone notice the last paragraph of the April 8 post by Ed, especially the last sentence?

“These increases apply to controlled substances identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as impacted by COVID-19. After the health emergency recedes, DEA will reevaluate demand and adjust APQ levels as needed.”

My PERSONAL opinion is that after the health emergency recedes, the levels will be adjusted right back to where they were pre-virus, and chronic pain patients will be making the same complaints they always have.


So does this mean when the virus crisis goes away then production for all the opioids goes way back down again? I’m sure this increase in production isn’t going to help us chronic pain sufferers any because we’ve been complaining for years and all they’ve been doing is titrating everyone off their opioids and telling us all that they don’t work! So why don’t they just give these virus patients Advil, Tylenol, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and when they start feeling better, send them to Physical Therapy and if they still don’t improve, just tell them it must be in their head. That’s what we’ve all had to deal with! I have great empathy for every coronovirus patient and I don’t mean to sound uncaring or flip. I am just very upset that it takes something like this virus to get production ramped up on opioids, in what? a couple of days or weeks, when we chronic pain patients have been denied these drugs and have been told over and over that we don’t need them, and that they don’t work for pain. All the while chronic pain patients are committing suicide and suffering everyday for NO reason.
Our doctors, the CDC and every other agency out there better not tell us again that opioids don’t work for pain!! They are proving this to us right now-LOUD AND CLEAR.

Robert Alba

Unfortunately, pain Management doctors are still scared [edit] of the DEA and the thought of losing their practice, case in point. I tried to arrange a telemed appointment with my PHD and scheduling said they couldn’t do it because it’s illegal.

First off telemed appointments for PM have been legal for quite some time as long as certain conditions are met the main one being at least one initial consultations person for purposes of evaluation, that criteria was met more than a year ago. Since the emergency declaration was put in place in late January the rule has been rescinded to the point that telephone consultations are allowed and both Medicare and Medicaid are covering these costs.

All of my PMD’s patients or over 60 and the highest risk of death if they contract the virus and this doctor is placing them in harm’s way out of fear of losing his practice, a fear that has no basis in reality. I thought that is was just him but I am discovering that other PMD’s in the area are also refusing to allow telemed consultations and placing all of their patients, staff a, themselves and the general public at risk for no legitimate reason.

Personally I have had enough and it’s time to make these doctors pay for their cowardness and greed. Now the can actually confront worse fears than what they previously imagined as they deal with the state Depatrment of Health and Human Services, DEA, CDC, and the local media.

The CDC and the law are quite specific as to what and how much pain medication a doctor can prescribe as long is it is deemed medically necessary.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

These hypocritical [edit]s are at it again and will continue until they are disbanded while should have happened years ago. I don’t trust them whatsoever and the government policy on opioid medications is about as evil as it can get. The doctors continue to quiver in fear and will march to whatever the government puts forth. I will never trust medical personnel again. They are one commentor said careless when it comes to us in daily pain. This Coronavirus is directly connected to the wicked and evil government policy, but blind and ignorant people will not nor hear the truth. My Medicare has declared that they will now pay for early prescriptions but I don’t expect my lilly livered doctor to do anything other than what they have been doing, coming up with insane made up diagnoses of fixation on medication. I am so sickened by these uncaring people. This pestilence can affect these heartless doctors to. I pray it doesn’t though. But many of these doctors don’t have a clues about what is actually taking place. Lord Jesus come soon.


At least those on their death beds will receive the medications they need. However, for those suffering from daily chronic pain this changes nothing. The Dr.s are still running in fear of their liscense if they prescribe and pain patients are still left without their needed medications. Most have been cut so far back or completely off that their life is no longer worth living. Until the DEA is told to “Stand Down” nothing will change.

Jeanette French

Let us hope that after this crisis, they will keep the increased quotes in place as the needs of the pain community continue to not be met and many are without their medications, some manufacturers have ceased production of er tabs and these are the safest ones they can make, which makes no sense at all. In the event that another crisis hits the following season they should continue to have enough on hand for pain patients and those sick with the virus next season and in other countries as well that do not have access to the supply that the US has. The need for these medications are in a higher demand then the current production and should stay at the increased amounts. At times it take pharmacist several phone calls and day to obtain the correct amount of medication which puts the patient in harms way, not to mention the many trips the patients or loved ones must make in the process, trips that are a hardship on them. Responsible patients should not be punished due to the un-responsible actions of others.

Sarah L

Maureen M, The reason the pain medication quota is being raised is not for the muscle aches on the virus but because they need to sedate and keep pain free the people who are intubated (have tubes as big as a garden hose shoved down their throats). There has been a shortage and in some cases intubation is being done while fully awake. This is barbaric. That is why the DEA has increased the quota.

This has nothing to do with helping pain patients. As soon as this crisis is over, they will simply go back to their draconian ways.

David Alvarado

The F.D.A and The C.D.C. are AT FAULT,for This Screw Up,It,s all about Commen Sense, Patients with Chronic Pain Everyday24/7 and dealing with Dr,s with No HELP against this paper pushers is an ACT of COWARDNESS.Leaving Hardworking Americans with NO RELIEF OF PAIN, I bet if it was one of your family members you all would FIX this INJUSTICE.Americans Deserve Better than this.Allow for us to Enjoy our last year’s on this earth,With some Pain Relief.We Ask for So little, God may still forgive all of You.If you ASK.!!!!!!?

Maureen M.

Oh Dear Jesus, Anthony…I am so so sorry about your daughter’s horrific and tragic abuse and subsequent death. Shame on the doctors involved!
I just don’t get it…my nephew was given #10 Vicodin to take home from the ER last year ‘just in case’ he passed a 2nd kidney stone! He passed the 1st one ‘without’ any med before going to the ER and was fine.
So why can’t someone like your daughter get what she deserved for pain treatment. It just never makes sense huh?!
These are the stories that need to flood the offices of the DEA,FDA and White House reps! Keep strong. Sending care and warm hugs to you and yours, Maureen M.

linda hull

Like I would believe anything the DEA puts out. They sure did not care about anyone suffering in horrific pain before

Kathleen Kaiser

So the DEA only increases production when it benefits them. This makes them look like heroes when there would be no shortage if they had not been decreasing the production signifying over the last 4 years.

Anthony Harding

Not sure how this story affects chronic pain suffers, but it’s always been a known fact that they increase production during any crisis. The world has not changed, 95% of doctors don’t care, 100% of the government doesn’t care. It only matters to law makers when it only affects them personally or their family. My daughter was brutally raped and beaten with a baseball bat and they would only prescribe her 3 days of Tamadol for the pain. She was in such tramatizing pain that she went to the streets to find pain medicine, but pain medicine was so expensive on the street she couldn’t afford it so she got heroin and it killed her because of an overdose. So my daughter died because the doctors and hospital refused to prescribe her real pain medicine. This happened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hopefully one day those doctors and the hospital staff will answer to God

Timothy Mason

Sounds great. About time. I have had no trouble getting my medications.

Lynette Higgins

This is good 👍

Kelly-Anne Bryan, RN

Well, well. So the DEA is recognizing that opioids have a legitimate place in medicine after all. Guess the IV Tylenol and mindfulness for ventilated patients was a fail.


Wow, now all of a sudden all the studies that state opiates/opioids do not “really” work are being revised? I’m sure it has nothing to do with NSAID’s making the lethality of those with Covid-19 increase. I could go on, but why?

I will say that it’s not a coincidence that last month the CMS authorized a 291% increase in the price of all generic 5mg. Oxycodone pills.

It would seem that the virus has had a major impact in our nation’s intelligentsia.

Maureen M.

Well now…that’s great news. But, I’m wondering why this could suddenly be happening?!
Another thing I’m wondering is…why is the pain med supply diminishing to begin with, in regard to the Virus? I’ve heard that he virus can cause muscle pain etc and that OTC meds/anti-inflammatory are suggested for it.
But, are they also prescribing opioids for the pain?!
If so, seems awfully unfair to me since a lot of patients can’t even get pain meds post op!!
Hmmm…something seems odd and confusing about this.
Keep safe and keep strong everyone!


Pandemic caused by no one and effects everyone. They increase production of drugs to relieve pain in everyone. I’ve been off iPods for 2 years. My health has fallen from ambulatory with better outlook to the future. Now I’m on canes or rolls for walking or standing. I have neuropathy in my legs and feet so bad it wakes me at night. Now I see said the blind man. Pain treatment is only for the masses. When it become so prevalent that 100 000 of Americans need it then wham you get it…. God help the children and old people cause no one else will. Opioid restriction thinned the population. Now the covid 19 will do the same.


It has been 3 years, a little longer since force “tapered” on a medication used for pain management, the same medication without increase for 25 years. Medication not increased, but, decreased to a level that cost me a business of 35 years, my mobility, all social function, and even increased much hardship even managing daily routine. I am sure I am not alone. It is good to read that DEA “is on the job” of allocating enough necessary medication of FULLY controlled substances in scheduled medication to “allow” our physicians and staff to save lives during this unprecedented occurrence world wide, of covid-19. I wonder how much anguish is being caused on those that can, will, and need to work, who are in a type of lock down? Now, take the anguish caused by social distancing, lockdown and ADD un managed, lifetime, incurable pain management issues with nothing…available that truly works for certain health issues AND necessary life saving procedures other than ….opiate medication. Welcome to our world. After covid-19 becomes a bad memory, “life” will go on for most people. I am very sorry for those that have lost loved ones in this period of time in in the world, but I do not believe for one second that anything will happen to aid the millions (reported) across this nation that suffer daily, everyday, 24/7 with pain generating disease, injury, and other issues causing lifetime pain management issues .For what it is worth.