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DEA Proposes Rescheduling Hydrocodone

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is taking steps to make the narcotic hydrocodone, one of the most widely prescribed medications in the country, more difficult to obtain, the Washington Post reported Feb. 15.

Hydrocodone is a painkiller and cough suppressant sold as Lortab, Vicodin, and under 200 generic brands. According to the DEA, the drug was prescribed more than 100 million times last year.

The DEA wants to move hydrocodone from Schedule III of the federal Controlled Substance Act to the more restrictive Schedule II.

“Hydrocodone is one of the most abused drugs in the nation,” said Christine Sannerud, deputy chief of the drug and chemical evaluation section of the DEA. “The agency thinks it would be wise to move it to Schedule II, because that would help a lot in terms of reducing abuse and trafficking.”

Doctors, pharmacists, and pain specialists said restricting the drug would place a significant burden on them and pain sufferers. The drug is used to treat serious pain from arthritis, AIDS, cancer, and chronic injuries.

“Rescheduling the drug will bring more hoops and barriers to getting access to the drugs, and it may prevent some minimal amount of abuse,” said Richard Payne, president of the American Pain Society. “But my concern is that it will come at the cost of denying access to thousands of patients.”

Susan Winkler of the American Pharmacists Association added, “Our members and doctors would have increased liability if hydrocodones are rescheduled, and that will inevitably reduce prescribing. We urge the DEA to make sure their decision is based on science and will make the situation better, not worse.”

The DEA action is part of a comprehensive campaign to address the issue of prescription-drug misuse.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of shar
    shar / November 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Ya know this is sooooo crazy that ya want to punish the people that are truely in PAIN and I mean PAIN that only this vicodan will help. Now we have to try to get a way every month to our doctor where we could get a 6 month refill before and now this will cost a trip and doctor visit every month and now we will live in PAIN cause ya want to cut the amount we get!!!!!
    Go after the alcohol drinkers—the drink drivers, make them show ID and limit them to one bottle a week!!!!
    get real…go after mopeds that cause so many accidents and dont have to buy insurance or tags and the crap of share the road for bicycles, which cause so many deaths.
    I just hope you reconcider this and leave vicodan along…you dont know none of us and if we died tonight ya sure wouldnt know it.
    I hope ya never get pain that is with ya every day..PAIN that only vicodan with help ya live a normal life and some one trys to take it from you!!!
    PLEASE leave it alone..
    People are going to abuse ANYTHING they can get if thats what they want to do..
    Im still floored about mariquanna….could never spell that drug:)
    I dont smoke it cause i heard it alters-affects the mind and it is legal!!!!!
    ya may be where us true PAIN suffers are one day—-think about that.

  2. Avatar of n/a
    n/a / January 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I live with someone addicted to hydrocodone. She goes to pain management claiming a false aliment to convince her doctor to prescribe Vicodin. I myself have mersa/spinal injuries and she will take my Tramadol to mix and abuse with her Vicodin. I myself am at the burden of a junkie. She no longer is the same person and has been arrested for thief at her job while under the effects of hydrocodone. We need much tighter restriction on such medications. Those who truly suffer can get a blood panel done to see the amount of additional hormones related to pain. That will cut the fakes out. We need to fix this. It’s not only a problem for me in a middle class setting but for other relatives and friends.

  3. Avatar of kelly
    kelly / September 11, 2013 at 12:59 am

    yes i agree abusers are horrible but now I have to wait hours and somtimes days for meds i need for real pain I have fibromyalgia and ankylosing spondylitis both are very painfull and togeather they aggrivate eachother and make it unbearable without my meds i cant fuction cause the pain is to high with the meds i still feel pain but its down enough to function my meds dont make me loopy or anything at all they just cut the pain so i can be a mom a wife and not be in bed 24/7 from pain now it is harder than ever to get meds and they make you feel like you are an abuser i get 60 pills a month i couldnt abuse with that many if i wanted to yet im made to feel like that its truely sad in severe pain but who judges how much pain im in only i know and those who see how much better i am when i have my right meds

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