DEA tightens restrictions on hydrocodone products

Hydrocodone combination products are now considered Schedule II drugs.
Hydrocodone combination products are now considered Schedule II drugs.

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Drugs such as Vicodin are now considered Schedule II drugs after action from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The rescheduling is for drugs known as hydrocodone combination products or HCPs. They contain both hydrocodone and other ingredients, such as aspirin.

“The pro to that is that we are going to see less people abusing the medication,” said Scott Lynch, the Admissions Call Center supervisor for Austin Recovery. “However, the con: You’re going to see more people turning to the harder street drugs, such as heroin.”

Lynch is now working to help those who struggle with addiction after his own experience with drugs.

“I began using prescription medications at a very young age, and it took a lot from me. It caused me to go to prison for four-plus years,” said Lynch. “So I got into this field basically just to spread the message, let people know that I’ve been there, that I’ve done that and that there’s a way out and that we can help you find that way.”

The change means doctors will need to make written prescriptions on official Department of Public Safety prescription pads. Refills of the drugs will also not be allowed.

“Almost 7 million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart in a press statement when the rule was first announced. “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

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