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Forty-eight attorneys general, led by those in West Virginia and New Mexico, have joined in a coalition seeking information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on what it is doing to help combat the opioid crisis.

In a letter sent to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the group requests a report to figure out what it is doing to address opioid abuse, a power it was given by Congress in 2018.

The attorneys general, including Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, said they believe the FDA now plays an important role in ensuring both the safety and efficiency of opioid prescribing and want to know how the FDA is using that power.

“As the chief legal officers of our states, we are committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain or addiction, who are among the most vulnerable consumers in our society,” Morrisey said.

The coalition is seeing clarification on how the FDA has used and plans on how it will continue to use powers given under the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, better known as the SUPPORT Act.

The act was meant to create safer opioid packaging and disposal features, research and issuance of new regulations on non-addictive alternatives to opioids and guidelines for opioid prescribing.

The letter, addressed to Hahn, contended the requested information would help reduce prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths.

Morrisey said he co-led a similar group asking health insurance companies in 2017 to review and revise their payment and coverage policies to prioritize non-opioid pain management options for chronic, non-cancer pain.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.