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DEA Reclassifies Hydrocodone With New Regulations

Daily Dose 2014-12-29 42 comments

All hydrocodone-based medications put in the same ranks as cocaine

DEA reclassifies hydrocodone. Since Americans cannot seem to refrain from killing themselves with prescription painkillers, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has made the decision to implement new restrictions that will reclassify all hydrocodone-based medications and put them in the same ranks as cocaine.

The DEA announced its latest rules for patients who receive popular hydrocodone combination drugs such as Vicodin and Lortab, which will only allow them to receive a 90-day prescription and force them to see a physician in order to obtain a refill. Previously, doctors were permitted to call in refills for pain medication over the phone, which was typically done by the nurses and physician assistants. However, the new regulations no longer allow anyone but a physician to approve refills on prescription opioids.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” DEA administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

It has been over a decade since the DEA first suggested the reclassification of hydrocodone over concerns of abuse and addiction. Yet, the effort was never able to gain much momentum due to predictions by the Food and Drug Administration that reclassifying the drug would be more of a hassle than what it is worth. That opinion changed last year, when the FDA finally admitted that prescription painkillers were causing an uprising in overdose deaths across the nation — killing 15,000 people in 2009, according to the CDC, following a 300 percent increase in opioid sales over a span of ten years.

Hydrocodone combination drugs, like Vicodin, were given a Schedule III classification

With the passing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, that provided them with looser restrictions than Schedule II drugs like Oxycodone and morphine. However, in 45 days, these combination painkillers, which were once believed to have a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence,” will be added to the Schedule II listing — preventing patients from taking these medication for up to six months without a check up with their doctor.

Many health experts believe this was a crucial move in protecting the average citizen from succumbing to the wrath of dangerous drugs.

“Regardless of the painkiller that they’re using, if you speak with them, nine times out of 10, they’ll tell you that their addiction began with use of Vicodin, either medical or recreational,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, with Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

“This is probably the single most important change that could happen on a federal level to bring this public health crisis under control,” Kolodny added. “It will take time to see the impact, but this will turn out to be a turning point in this epidemic.”


  1. tammy

    I understand the pain that you all go through. My symptoms that Ihave are spinabifida, pPTSD and fibermialga in my back and iIhave had this all my life and everyday the pain gets worse and iI have 4 children that I can’t go and do fun things with.

  2. Michael B.

    After struglleing with bi-polar issues and sleep depervation without my seroquil,”600 mg.” and I cant take the lithium,causes restless leg at night,depakote”1500 mg.” a day,causeing worseing depression. It would be great to see S.C. finnaly come around and pass some legeslation to legalize pot for special cases other than cancer and epilepsy. The is true medical value behind this lil amazing friend we like to call “weed”, or for tose of you who are a lil’ more prim and proper,”CANNABIS SATAVIA”


    Leave the shit alone ppl r killing themselves the meds are not killing ppl they’re killing themselves.

    • Mom of two

      I understand this is an epidemic. My question is how are they planning on rehabbing these coming off of it. They will just go to the streets and end up junkies. They need to have affordable rehab available if not pay for it since the dr is the one who has given it. Drs give it like candy so they need to be held responsible too. And I agree with above statement. People are killing themselves not the medicine. Like a kid with caffeine. Let them have it and they are going to abuse it. Get all the ducks in a row before you cut people off cold turkey.

    • marie

      I need my pain meds and I need
      My marijuana for pain when I go to bed….

  4. cskeer

    Listen if there are serios people that need ghe meds then they should b given the stuff. The people that go to dr first time couse there teeh hurt and have enough proof that you must have these meds or you will live in pain for ever. Not first visit . I was addictted to drugs but could not stand the down feeling it was making me sick and could not deal with my life or function at all .they need to b watched not taken off . More visits to dr to make shur they are not faking or abbusing the meds . They will never stop the sale or smuggling of illegal drugs in our country the sickness we have is more powerful then any law or judge . You dont wsnt to use then dont use thats only way you wont get addictid i go to medical canibus before any pill . How many people you know who rob people on weed or kill for weed and crash there cars on weed . Man they are all eating up the town laughing at everything there happy not sad or jonesing for it like pill heads or meth tweeks . It works just got go find witch way it works for you .

  5. janet smith

    this is hard on me because i have serious back problems and arthritis bad WHAT will i do i have to have this medicine do to so much pain all this is going to do is cause more deaths do to people who are in pain cant deal with it so death will be the only relief left come on help the people that truly need it so sad

  6. carla

    This really makes it hard on us that really are. In need of pain meds I have neuropathy and copd and lupus I live with the pain every day they can’t fix all my Dr can do is give me pain pills I don’t abuse my prescriptions but the government makes it to where it’s almost impossible to get a little relief now so my pain management Dr has dropped me like a hot potatoe what makes you think you have the right to take away any kind of relief I can have from my meds. I’m not a dope head I’m a. Mom with neuropathy I suffer enough now your gonna make me suffer even more it’s bad enough that I can’t get out and play with my kid what’s next ????

  7. Jim Greer

    They will never stop the abuse of medications, never control peoples appetite for escaping reality, never stop the flow of addictive drugs, never stop people from obtaining there high. So, go at it from another angle, this one is futile.

  8. Renee Miller

    This really makes me sick, I have been living with Kidney cancer since 2010 and disabled with a very bad back. Do I get pain meds hell no they don’t want me getting hooked on them so I live in pain 24/7 it makes me so pissed off that there are so many out there getting painkillers and nothing is wrong with them they fake it all. I beg for it and I cry and I get nothing. Now they want to make it even harder for folks like me to get anything . You all are sick bastard I pray one day that you never have to go through what my family and I go through ever single day.

    • Cheryl slegers

      My heart weeps for you. You need to see a pain manangement specialist wjo deals only with straight forward pain . I am a nurse i see a pain doc for my chronic pain related ro occipital neuralgia. Arthritis and pain, my doc no longer could predcribe anything dur yo the regulations, now he prescribed percocets and tramadol. Seems to work. I hope you find help my mother lost her battle to kidney diseases.

    • shalom

      You can always switch doctors

      • kay

        No, you can’t always switch doctors. This isn’t just a one doctor situation. People are in agony and their pain is not being treated. Doctors are afraid to prescribe pain medication for fear the DEA will raid their practice. Pharmacists are afraid to fill legal scripts for the same reason.

      • Tanya Camnitz

        i have the same issue. I feel everones pain also. i have lupus, arthritis, three disk out of line plus what they call whiplash. My dtomack id eaten up because of taking anti-inflamatory drugs. My doctor and insurance will not pay for what i have been taking so now back to the painful taking naproxen that make me dick but the subsides for about an hour.. if you change doctors often then i will be accused of doctor shopping. I live aloone no family close to me to help. I am disabled and without my suboxone i cant do daily task like walking my dog. cleaning myself and my house. I am min pain 24//7 and beleive me it changed a person. Wish i could smoke some weed but its illegal. Whats a person to do.? They invented those pain medications for pain and they work. I have a better quality of life better. I had a cleaniing business for 20 years. Between the hard labor and the chemicals i used is why i am in this condition. My mind works fine but my body doesn’t without my medication. Thanks for listening cause nobody else does. .

      • soberand lovinit

        Had no idea doctors could write scripts for cocaine? That’s right, it’s cuz they can’t! So how is hydrocodone on the same level as coke???it’s not! Real accurate article,, maybe next time smoke a little less of your” medical” Mary Jane

        • CNaz

          You ought to google schedule 1 drugs and become informed. You simply do not have the facts nor do you understand what the DEA drug schedules are and what are listed. The article is indeed very accurate.

    • bp

      I am an RN that works in an ED , a lot of doctors need to be retrained on this subject. At least once a week I have an argument with one of the doctors for prescribing narcotics needlessly and I question them if they have ever experienced addiction close up or their own family? Do they know the destruction that occurs throughout the family. Then when someone really needs narcotics for pain they get left in wind, sadly

  9. Lee Roy Sanders, Jr.

    Governments and religions are stupid! Humankind’s very civilization is an exploitation of humanity. They didn’t raise me and I don’t belong to them or anyone else. They have not the right to control the use and access to anything. Legalize all drugs and every product that is available to an government military etc. The world belongs to the people and not to just a government, military, business or religion!

    • clay a crumb rn retired

      Well said. /w one exception; God does not have a problem with Free Will. He is more likely to be on your side, so think about how nice it was of Him to make so many herbs that are so symbiotic with humans and enjoy the xxxx out of it cause He made it for your pleasure.

  10. Karen McIlwain

    This move has already impacted my life. Medical Marijuana is not legal in the State of Texas. With the serious back issues I have, now all complicated with the diagnosis of MS, this new law has caused me more grief. My doctor wants to take me off of the Hydrocodone. Honestly, it isn’t helping that much, but it is all that I can get. I was once on the Vicodin, Fentanyl patches, Soma, Xanax, Neurontin. I managed to eliminate the Fentanyl patches and the Soma, never again will I take that crap. I do wish that this Republican State that I live in would allow the medical marijuana, because I would much rather take that instead of putting all the chemicals in my body.

    • jim

      Talk with your doctor about Marinol. 50 state legal, doctor prescribed, pharmacy dispensed 100% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

    • Joseph DeWilde

      We did not have kidney problem or abuse when we used Quaalude’s. Let’s bring back Quaalude’s and see if our dependency goes down along with the price. Why does 270 IR oxycodone cost around $100 and Oxycodone ER cost over 2 thousand? After making them non crushable I would feel more relief from the lower cost IR’s. Bring back 714’s

    • clay a crumb rn retired

      what you have is cannibiniod deffidiency syndrome. Rx; find some really primo cannabis sativa . Smoke two tokes bid qD until you get over it. ha ha