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DEA tightens regulations on common prescription pills

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The DEA moved Friday to move the highly addictive hydrocodone combination medications from a schedule III to the more restrictive schedule II classification.

Hydrocodone, which is used to make painkillers including Vicodin, has been in the news as prescription drug abuse becomes more common, often leading to heroin addiction. The new classification means that the drugs will be grouped with harmful drugs, like OxyContin.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”     

Schedule II is the classification for drugs that have an accepted medical use, but also the highest potential for harm. Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, while schedules III through V represent drugs that have progressively less potential for abuse.

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