What We're Reading: DEA Authorized Opioid Production Surge; Georgia Abortion Law Blocked; Drone Deliveries for Healthcare

October 2, 2019

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allowed large increases in the production of opioids even as the number of opioid-related deaths in the country soared; a federal judge has temporarily blocked Georgia’s new abortion law that was set to go into effect January 1; the United Parcel Service (UPS) has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to start setting up drones to deliver health supplies.

DEA Allowed Surge in Opioid Production as Epidemic Grew

A review from the Justice Department’s inspector general has revealed that the Drug Enforcement Administration allowed large increases in the production of opioids even as the number of opioid-related deaths in the country soared. The inspector general said that the administration was “slow to respond” to the opioid crisis, which has killed more than 300,000 American since 2000, reported The New York Times. Between 2002 and 2013, the agency increased production quotas for oxycodone by approximately 400%, despite evidence showing that opioids were being overprescribed and misused.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Georgia’s Abortion Law

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Georgia’s new abortion law, which would ban abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” is present, which could be as early as 6 weeks, before many women know they are pregnant, the Associated Press has reported. The law had limited exemptions, including in the case of rape or incest, as long as the woman files a police report first, as well as when the life of the woman is at risk or when a fetus is determined not to be viable because of a serious medical condition. The law was scheduled to take effect on January 1.

UPS Gets Approval for Drone Deliveries

The United Parcel Service (UPS) has received first-of-its-kind approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to start setting up drones to deliver health supplies. Under the approval, UPS’ Flight Forward unit for the immediate okay to ship medical products and specimens in North Carolina across multiple hospital campuses, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported that the approval does not apply to urban areas. UPS, which has already started limited flying under the new certification, called the approval a major step to enhance services for healthcare customers and said the approval “has no limits on the size or scope of operations.”