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 to get a written prescription from a doctor — instead of one submitted orally by phone.  And refills are prohibited; patients would have to check in with their doctors to get another prescription.

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