DEA and FDA to enforce stricter rules on hydrocodone combination - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

DEA and FDA to enforce stricter rules on hydrocodone combination pills

Amarillo, TX - In order to decrease prescription drug overdoses, the drug enforcement administration is attempting to enforce stricter rules on prescribed hydrocodone combination pills.

The FDA, along with the DEA, is looking to re-categorize narcotic painkillers to make them less accessible.

Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo, Managing Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, said the hydrocodone combination products are being rescheduled from schedule three to schedule two.

"This means that the requirements, the security protocols, are much more strict on these medications," Jaramillo said. "And the rationale on that of a schedule three to two, is that they are highly abused and very addictive, and they're one of the top selling drugs in the country. They also lead to the most prescription related deaths, because they are so highly used."

She said the FDA and DEA feel that rescheduling them and making them more difficult to obtain will help reduce the number of deaths in the country from use and misuse.

When hydrocodone products become schedule two drugs, they will be less accessible and require a doctor's hand-written prescription, not just a phone call to your pharmacy.  Dr. Jarmillo questions the effects this regulation will have. 

"There are actually patients who end up doing without because its too difficult for them to obtain the medication," Jaramillo said. "It'll also draw the market toward different medications, so physicians are going to become more reluctant to prescribe this medication, they may prescribe something that is schedule three, and then we're going to see the cells of those medications, and the use and abuse of those medications increase as a result."


But one local substance abuse counselor, Melissa Preece, said the pros outweigh the cons.

"It's probably going to be more work for the doctors, more work for the pharmacists, however, how far are we willing to go to help save lives, especially when it comes to addiction," Preece said. "Yeah they're going to go out in the streets and go get whatever it is, but it reduces the liability for the doctors and pharmacists if they put in the extra work to save other people."

The DEA said the ruling of the new regulation is scheduled to go into effect in October.

For more information on substance abuse in our area, visit 

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