DEA Schedule Changes for Opioids

Prescription medication abuse has become an issue of great concern.  The DEA moved hydrocodone combination pills, also known as opioids, from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug.  The final ruling goes into effect in 45 days. Drugs are categorized into one of five “schedules” by the DEA based on “whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative abuse potential and their likelihood of causing dependence when abused.”  Other drugs, such as Adderall and morphine, are also labeled as Schedule II. Now, in order to use these drugs, patients will have…

DEA Expands Controlled Substance Take Back

As of today, October 9th,  DEA will allow the transfer of unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal.  Authorized collectors will include:  manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies, and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy.  Additionally, long-term-care facilities will do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities. “These new regulations will expand the public’s options to safely and responsibly dispose of unused or unwanted medications,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart.  “The new rules will allow for around-the-clock, simple solutions to this ongoing problem.  Now everyone can easily play a…

DEA Placement of Tramadol Into Schedule IV

Tramadol is an opioid analgesic and is most commonly abused by those addicted to narcotics, chronic pain patients, and health professionals.  Tramadol was approved for marketing in the United States as a noncontrolled analgesic in 1995 under the trade name of Ultram®.  Until recently, it had remained an uncontrolled substance.  Starting August 18, 2014, tramadol is now a schedule IV controlled substance, and will be regulated as such moving forward. Supporters of this ruling have been concerned about the abuse potential and have referred to tramadol as a ” ‘loop hole’ drug which is addictive, abused and diverted, but which…