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39 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 347 (2020-2021)
The Prescription Abuse Prevention Act: A New Federal Statute to Criminalize Overprescribing Opioids

handle is hein.journals/yalpr39 and id is 379 raw text is: YALE LAW & POLICY REVIEW
The Prescription Abuse Prevention Act:
A New Federal Statute to Criminalize Overprescribing
Rebecca A. Delfino*
The United States is experiencing an epidemic of opioid abuse and
overdose deaths. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, the
opioid epidemic has shattered local communities, overwhelmed the health
care system, and devastated families across the country in ways that will have
profound effects for multiple generations ofAmericans. Even now, an average
of130 people die every day from an opioid overdose, making it a leading cause
of injury-related death in the United States. Seventy percent of those deaths
involve an opioid that a doctor legally prescribed and the COVID-19 pandemic
has only made the opioid epidemic worse.
Amidst this national crisis, there is a growing sense that those responsible
for the epidemic-specifically doctors who overprescribe these drugs-are
not being held accountable. In the last decade, criminal charges against
doctors have numbered only in the few hundred nationwide. Given the.
increasing number of opioid overdose deaths nationally, why are charges and
convictions of doctors so rare and why have existing legal mechanisms failed
to punish the improper prescribing practices? This Article argues that the
problem of overprescribing opioids persists because the existing federal law
in this area is unclear and lacks uniform application among the states.
Additionally, it is the first Article in legal scholarship to offer a concrete
solution rooted in common sense and federal criminal law. Specifically, the
Article recommends the adoption of a new federal criminal statute aimed
directly at those doctors who knowingly violate acceptable health care norms
in prescribing opioids. Not only will the novel federal homicide law proposed
*    Clinical Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. I am grateful and
indebted to Pamela Huynh, Rachel Ellis, Lauren Kim and Garrett Hutchinson
for their research assistance, Loyola Law School for its generous support of
faculty scholarship and, as always, my family for their patience, indulgence,
and encouragement


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