DEA Increases Restrictions on Prescription Painkillers

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By Matthew Searcy

WSIL -- Getting some painkillers at your local pharmacy will soon get a little more difficult. The Drug Enforcement Administration is introducing tighter restrictions on hydrocodone products to help battle prescription drug abuse. 

"This is a reaction by the DEA and state board of pharmacy to try and curb abuse and abuse potential," said Mt. Vernon pharmacist Eric Black.  
 
All products containing hydrocodone such as Vicodin, Norco, and Vicoprofen will be labeled as CII drugs by the DEA. That means they'll be treated just like more powerful pain medications such as OxyContin and morphine.
 
"These drugs are commonly abused for several reasons," explained Black. "For one, they are readily available and very cheap. However, they are also very important to our patients in dealing with pain control."
 
Those patients will no longer be allowed refills. They'll have to get a new prescription every time and physically go to the pharmacy to place their order. No more phoning it in. Some people who rely on the medications aren't happy about the new rules.
 
"What we will see is frustration that they will have to go to the doctor every time for a brand new prescription," said Black. 
 
Despite the extra hurdles for patients, local physicians support the change.
 
"We in the medical community have been complaining about it for a long time," explained Dr. Daniel Hoffman."Emergency departments are filled with patients seeking drugs and offices being called by drug seekers and this is a good step toward weed them out." 
 
Any hydrocodone prescriptions written before October 6th will allow refills as usual.
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