N.Y. imposes stricter controls on hydrocodone

purplepillsIn New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued a letter to doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals alerting them that the widely abused prescription painkiller hydrocodone is now a Schedule II controlled substance under new regulations recently passed by the state. In the letter, Schneiderman calls the drug “highly addictive,” noting that statewide prescriptions for hydrocodone filled increased from 3.8 million to 4.5 million from 2007 to 2009, an increase of 18.4%, while those for oxycodone have increased 82%. In many regions of the state, hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed controlled substance, according to the letter.

The changes apply only to New York state, although the FDA is currently considering whether to reclassify hydrocodone-containing painkillers from Schedule III drugs to the more restrictive Schedule II on a federal level. In January, an expert panel voted 19 to 10 in favor of the more stringent prescribing requirements. During a two-day hearing last week, the panel heard testimony from proponents who noted hydrocodone’s abuse potential (such products are currently the most-abused prescription medicine behind oxycodone), while critics argued that the move would hinder legitimate pain patients from obtaining treatment.

Overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in New York, where almost 22.5 million prescriptions for all types of narcotic painkillers were written in in 2010, according to a report issued by the state’s attorney general.

Read more about the prescription addiction epidemic in New York here.

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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One Response to N.Y. imposes stricter controls on hydrocodone

  1. Hello!

    I’ve started the petition “F.D.A. Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg: Require doctors to have mandatory training to prescribe painkillers.” and need your help to get it off the ground.

    Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:


    Here’s why it’s important:

    The problem of prescription drug abuse has become so severe that drug overdose deaths attributed to opioid pain medicines such as Vicodin or Oxycontin exceed overdose deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. In 2008, 36,450 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, and 20,044 of those were due to prescription drug overdose. Opioid pain relievers were involved in 14,800 of those 20,044 deaths. (Center for Disease Control, 2011)

    Yet, in the face of this national health epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration, overriding the advice of an expert panel, said that it would not require doctors to have special training before they could prescribe long-acting narcotic painkillers that can lead to addiction.

    The risk of painkiller abuse is particularly great for teens. The number of teens who abuse prescription drugs has nearly tripled since 1992

    Consider the following:

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