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Hydrocodone Regulations

A new federal restriction is about to make the most prescribed drug in America harder to get.

The painkiller hydrocodone will be a Schedule II controlled substance, which is the same classification as morphine and methadone.

Hydrocodone is used to treat everything from back pain, to arthritis, to toothaches.

Experts believe its popularity and accessibility contribute to abuse, much of it recreational.

Tightening the rule is intended to keep hydrocodone away from people who don't need it.

But pharmacist Tom Duckett believes the new rule could be a safety issue.  "There's less supply on the street, for the products that aren't used appropriately, then there's always a little bit of concern that there'll be a increase in potential robberies in stores."

The change means patients will have to see their doctors more often, to get hydrocodone prescriptions signed in person.

Emails and phone-ins will no longer be accepted, the same as other Schedule II drugs.

Duckett says it is a change that is necessary.

"There's a real abuse potential, we hear about it, read about it all the time, and I think the more that we do to control these pain medications the better it's going to be for everybody."

The new regulation takes effect October 6th.  

By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracher


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