The Food and Drug Administration is proposing new regulations f0r opioid medications to fight the “misuse and abuse” of these pills. The new proposal would institute manufacturing quotas for hydrocodone products. It would also reschedule opioid drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II, meaning refills would be prohibited and patients would have to have a written prescription from a doctor. By early December, the FDA will submit its proposal to the Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA will make the final decision on reclassifying the drugs.
The decision is welcomed by advocates who are concerned about the skyrocketing number of painkiller overdose deaths.When it announced the proposal, the FDA said in a statement that it “has become increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reached epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States.” The United States consumes 80% of the world’s painkillers.