When lobbyists killed Senator Manchin's measure to make it harder to abuse drugs containing hydrocodone in May, he vowed to West Virginians that he would keep up the fight to end the prescription drug epidemic.
Later this month, Senator Manchin will make good on that promise. The Food and Drug Administration is holding a public meeting on the dangers of hydrocodone at its headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. Senator Manchin will speak before the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, which advises the FDA on the abuse potential of drugs and makes recommendations about how they should be controlled.
"I promised that I would never give up the fight against prescription drugs, and that's why the FDA is holding this meeting," Senator Manchin said. "I ask all the people of West Virginia to call or write to my office so that I can share your personal stories about how the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is tearing apart your families, your schools, your businesses and your communities. I was so proud to have the support of groups on the front line, like law enforcement, prosecutors and medical groups. When all the people who are responsible for fighting this epidemic tell you that they need more tools and that we need to make hydrocodone tougher to abuse, Congress needs to listen -- and act."
Fourteen years ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration and FDA started studying whether hydrocodone is so addictive that it needs to be more closely guarded. Senator Manchin has repeatedly demanded that the results of those scientific studies be released immediately so that the public is made fully aware of the dangers associated with hydrocodone substances and so lawmakers can make better decisions about how to classify it.
The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29 and 30. Senator Manchin is scheduled to speak the morning of Oct. 30.
Since joining the Senate, Senator Manchin has been determined to put an end to prescription drug abuse. In May, Senator Manchin successfully amended a bill funding the Food and Drug Administration. With the unanimous consent of the Senate, his amendment would have made it harder to get hydrocodone combination drugs for illegitimate reasons. The measure was stripped out in negotiations with the House, and, as a compromise, Senator Manchin succeeded in securing a meeting later this month to air out the discussion in public.
To contact Senator Manchin's office, call (304) 342-5855 or toll-free in West Virginia at (855) 275-5737. Mail can be sent to 300 Virginia Street East, Suite 2630, Charleston, WV 25301.
The meeting is expected to be broadcast live online on Oct. 29 and 30. For West Virginians interested in attending the meeting in person, it will be held at the following location:
FDA White Oak Campus
The Great Room (Rm. 1503)
White Oak Conference Center
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland