DEA Sets New Rules for Hydrocodone Prescriptions

Published 08/27 2014 02:38PM

Updated 08/27 2014 09:52PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Hydrocodone is a painkiller misused by more and more Americans each day.

Nearly 16,000 people die every year from abusing it.

That's why the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified the drug from a schedule three, which is a low-risk of dependency, to a schedule two, a high-risk of dependency.

"I think that people don't really understand how potentially addictive, and how it can create a dependence, and before you know it, you're hooked on these things," said Dr. Cynthia Brownfield, a Physician at Heartland Hospital.

"Whether it's in an overdose amount, or just a bad interaction with your body, or multiple drug interactions," said Angela Reynolds from Youth Alliance.

The changes make it more tough for patients, in pain, to get a hold of the drug.

"We can no longer give refills. That's not going to be your doctor determining that. That's the DEA that there's not going to have refills on the prescription. Also, nurse practitioners can't fill it. They can't write this prescription," said Dr. Brownfield.

If a patient needs a refill, they have to call the doctor's office and get a new prescription, or see their doctor to prove they are in severe pain.

"It is definitely going to change the way we manage pain, but that's a good thing because we don't want to see everybody on these pain medicines. We want to keep people functional, and that's our goal," she said.

The DEA hopes the changes will reduce the misuse and abuse of Hydrocodone, while making sure patients, who really are in pain, get enough medicine to recover properly.

The changes are expected to go into effect October 6.

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