DEA Rescheduling Hydrocodone

DEA Rescheduling Hydrocodone

The most widely prescribed drug in the U.S. will soon be harder to get.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced it is publishing in the Federal Register its Final Rule for the rescheduling of hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) from Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II.

“The DEA finds that the scientific, medical, and epidemiological data are robust and support rescheduling HCPs into schedule II of the CSA (Controlled Substances Act). Various drug abuse indicators for HCPs indicate that HCPs are widely diverted and abused at rates largely similar to that of oxycodone products,” the DEA said in the Final Rule.

Hydrocodonebtibu75200The rescheduling, which takes effect in 45 days, means that pain patients taking Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet or other HCP painkillers will be limited to an initial 90-day supply and then will have to see a doctor each time for a prescription when they need a refill. Prescriptions for Schedule II drugs also cannot be phoned or faxed in by physicians.

The rescheduling will affect dozens of pain medications that contain hydrocodone (a complete list is available here). Typically in these products, the hydrocodone is combined with either aspirin or acetaminophen. Over 130 million prescriptions are written annually in the U.S. for HCPs – drugs that the DEA says have a “high abuse potential.”

Oxycodone, codeine and some other opioid painkillers are already classified as Schedule II drugs.

“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.”

The DEA first recommended reclassifying HCPs several years ago, a move opposed by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as many physicians, pharmacists, and patients who feared the drugs would become too hard to get.

Last year the FDA changed its position, citing an “epidemic” of overdoses and deaths caused by prescription opioid painkillers. The agency was also under strong political pressure to back the rescheduling.

“I am confident that rescheduling hydrocodone will undoubtedly begin saving hundreds of thousands of lives immediately,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a longtime critic of the FDA.

“Family lives are ripped apart because of addiction and overdose deaths. Grandparents, great grandparents and neighbors are raising kids whose parents suffer from addiction. Students are unable to play outside because too many needles blanket their playgrounds. These circumstances are too common and simply unacceptable, which is why I am so grateful that the DEA has finalized the rescheduling process of hydrocodone.”

The DEA received 573 public comments on the rescheduling of HCPs. Over half (52%) supported the rescheduling and 41% opposed it.

“The U.S already loses hundreds of billions of dollars a year in productivity to chronic pain. Rescheduling hydrocodone will make this figure even worse. It will also add stress and undue burden to the people in pain who can’t see a pain specialist for a few weeks because of the doctor being booked,” said Andy, a chronic pain sufferer.

“I firmly believe that hydrocodone should remain a Schedule III medicine. It is a lifesaver for people who are in severe pain and cannot get a pain management specialist appointment soon enough.”

“Rescheduling the products to Schedule II would create significant hardships for all — leading to delayed access for vulnerable patients with legitimate chronic pain,” the National Community Pharmacists Association said in a statement.

But the DEA insists the agency “does not intend for legitimate patients to go without adequate care” and that patients will still be able to get the drugs if their doctor writes a prescription for them.

“There may be some practitioners who are reluctant to prescribe a schedule II controlled substance although authorized by State law to do so. However, the DEA notes that other schedule II controlled substances are widely prescribed. Given that classification has not deterred practitioners from prescribing those drugs, the DEA believes that when a practitioner makes a medical determination that a particular controlled substance is appropriate to treat a patient’s medical condition, the practitioner will prescribe the appropriate controlled substance, regardless of the substance’s schedule,” the DEA said in the Final Rule.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 70 comments for this article
  1. jonnie froyd at 7:58 pm

    i read in an editorial lettler in my local paper that the FDA will require HCP patients to take an annual urine test, to prove that they are taking the pain meds themselves and not selling them. Does anyone know if this is true? I have not seen it in any FDA rulings.

  2. BL at 3:13 pm

    verena, Methadone isn’t given for fibro. But, it is given for other things like the back problems that you have. Do the drs that are trying to stop your Methadone know about your back problems ? Do they have your medical records from the drs that were giving you Methadone for your back ?

  3. Reta Jiminez at 11:15 am

    I feel so sorry for you not having insurance and not getting the help you need for pain.
    I am O.K. for now I go to a pain clinic once a month.
    I do have insurance.
    Bless you.
    Reta

  4. verena at 7:12 am

    I have had degenerative disc disease for the past 20 to 25 years. I use to be a CNA, which is a Certified Nurse Aide. And that is when my back pain started. Well. Through the years I have had to have my left kidney removed. And after that my body could only move certain ways. And then I fell and broke my left knee cap. U have a quarter of my knew cap left. I have since then really hard pain. I had to find a pain doctor. I had a $10 an hr job. But lost it after I broke my knee. So then going from a $10 an hr job to a $6 an hr job really hit my family hard. Then my insurance at the time stopped paying for my pain meds. Cause I had been taking it for about a year so they didn’t want to keep paying for it. And thats when I was on Oxycontin. So then this dr put me on Methadone. Cause I had to start paying out of mt own pocket. And thats what I could afford. Well I was also taking Hydrocodone. Or Lortab. And that was for any break through pain. And then I had to start going to our local health department. And then this dr was keeping me on hydrocodone. Or lortab. Then that dr left health dept so then I had to start seeing this other person. Well she doesn’t give or like writing pain meds prescriptions. But I explained to her how worthless I am when I have and hurting from constant pain. Then they finally determined I have Fibromyalgia. And that really really really hurts. And of course there is no cure for fibro. So since I have to pay for my own meds that what I kept taking. And I git a months worth at a time. So now this lady is wanting to stop my methadone. Cause she says that is not was fibro patients normally take. And I’m trying to explain to this lady why I am still taking methadone. Cause I have to pay for my own meds. I have no insurance. Well I have whats called “Health Access”. And it does NOT pay for any meds at all. So know they r weaning me off the methadone. And I just saw her the other day and she says my blood pressure was a little elevated. And I was like well u r wanting to stop my pain meds. And I am extremely worried about that cause I am totally worried about when I no longer have any pain pills. I will be missing work. Which I take care of an elderly lady. And I will be down amd out when I use up all my pain meds. We do have a “Pain Clinic”. However they r refusing to accept me since I have no freaking health insurance. Andi have never ever sold any of my pain meds at all. I don’t even try to sell them. Cause I need them to freaking bad for myself.
    So please, please don’t stop the pain meds. There r a lot of people that use street drugs to help there pain. I really don’t want to use any street drugs but if thats all I can get for my pain then thats what I’ll have to do unfortunately. I agree with what a lot of three r talking about.
    But please continue bringing up pain meds. Well I guess this all I have to say for now. Thank u.

  5. Kendra James at 11:52 am

    I am a 40 year old female with 2 very painful herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and other physical ailments. Without pain mediation I am unableunable to function properly. It’s difficultdifficult fr me to bathe, or even cook a meal for my family. I am on disability because I can’t stand or sit for long periods if time and it makes working a near impossibility. I had to go through all kinds of hoops to find a doctor who , would prescribe me pain medicine, and even then I had to sign a pain contract and felt I was being treated like a junkie. But I put up with it because hydrocodones are really the only thing that gives me any kind of relief. And I am really confused because I was already having to see my doctor once a month to get my meds, my doctor never prescribed me more than a month at a time. So these stupid so called changes don’t apply because my doctor was already cautious.So imagine my shock .last month when she hit me out of the blue and told me she would no longer be able to prescribe my medicine. I am devastated this isis disrupting my life to the point that I am feeling suicidal. Without the hydrocodone I am not able to move around, what quality of life can I now expect to have? Then there are no pain management clinics within a hundred miles of where I live. I am on a fixed income and was already paying out of pocket for my meds because medicaid stopped paying for my hydrocodones. I am out if meds and in pain, I never sold or abused my medication, and all I can see is a bunch of beuarucrats ruining my life. I wish these people could feel the pain that pain patients go through and they would understand. This is going to do mpre harm than good, and people that want to abuse drugs are still going to abuse them, while people with legitimate pain suffer. And to put hydrocone in the same classification as meth is so wrong and despicable.

  6. BL at 3:00 pm

    CowgirlCat, Hydrocodone does some in long acting, Zohydro ER

  7. CowgirlCat at 10:51 am

    This is a travesty! I have suffered from pain for 25 or more years and I am also a pharmacist. This new regulation is inhumane and unnecessary. This change will only hurt legitimate people and will do nothing at all to affect the drug abuse problems. The DEA and our Legislatures have no idea what is happening in the real world. Restricting access will only create more pain and suffering and it will drive the underground market thru the roof. What a crock!! Every time the government gets involved they screw things up for everyone involved with prescribing, filling and taking the medications legitimately with out any abuse or deaths from the usage.
    The new law isnt just going to change the classification, there are also regulations that require drug testing on anyone receiving these medications and there is a national drug registry!!! The regulations also limit how many you may take per month and if you need more than that these idiots want to make us go on long acting forms of pain meds. Well folks hydrocodone does not come in a long acting form therefore the only other choices will be oxycontin or morphine!! They want us to change to a much stronger and more addictive drug. What the hell are they thinking and who are they to say what will work for me?. Every person responds differently to these meds and no one fits their perfect profile. Now there will be no effective pain medications that can be called in to the pharmacy. Hello emergency room because we wont be able to get anything for an acute injury!
    I cant wait until these government people get caught with no pain meds and have to suffer like all of us have to. Maybe then they will understand. These new regulations is going to cause the illegal drug market to skyrocket! Maybe that is what they want because they are being paid off by these drug dealers.
    I am saddened and disgusted to the point of being ill.

  8. Jaswars at 9:56 am

    Thank you DEA for the rise in Heroin use. I wonder why?

  9. Mary at 7:09 pm

    Using this as a reference in my article I published today “Pain Pills: Chronic Pain Sufferers Speak.”
    Thank you for always keeping us in the pain community better informed. This whole business with the medications is a mess. Criminalizing chronic and cancer pain patients and our doctors won’t solve the problem.

  10. Celeste Cooper at 4:09 pm

    There are two concerns as I see it. My own unease is that untreated or undertreated pain will lead to depression, loss of self worth, relationships, livelihood, function, or suicide. Withholding opioids from patients who have come to rely on them to live a more productive life and come out of the shadows of isolation leaves few choices. Secondly, there are legitimate concerns for those who purposely abuse opioids not to relieve, but to mask their depression, inability to cope, and promote behaviors that lead to degraded self worth. Their resources for treatment have been limited for far too long. So we are going to serve them better by creating another conundrum?

    I am unsure what people are trying to accomplish with their judgments of pain or mental health issues. Our perceptions need a complete overhaul. Quit placing blame. Offer support. Leave medicine up to the doctors, not the media. I am a disgusted and ashamed American. What has happened to our ability to treat people as human beings?

    Rescheduling hydrocodone is only going to lead to more problems. It is abusive to withhold treatment for chronic pain, and it is a disservice to the addict to think for one second it is going to treat the underlying cause of their addiction.

  11. Reta Coon-Jiminez at 8:39 pm

    I am on Oxycotin 40 mg and Oxycodone 15mg.
    I take Tylenol with the Oxycodone for extra strength.
    Each 3 times a day.
    My Doctor says he wants to change my meds but I
    don’t know what they will be.
    The Oxycotin is almost $300.00 per month.
    What else might I take that would take the pain away,
    that would be cheaper????

  12. BL at 5:24 pm

    Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD ,You’re Welcome.

  13. verena aubert at 9:44 am

    I have degenerative disc disease. And I have Fibromaylgia. I have had to have my left kidney removed. And before that I injured my back working as a certified nurses aide. And I also broke my left knee cap. And after each incident I am not able to do a whole lot of things. I can’t move my body in certain ways to exercise. And now I can’t stand for a long period of time and I can’t sit for a long period of time. And I have had to miss days and weeks of work due to the debilitating pain I have to endure. I was taking Oxycontin and Oxycodone. But after taking them for about a year my insurance company at the time no longer wanted to pay for them. And even when my doctor at that time wrote the insurance company to explain to them why I need these meds. But even that didn’t matter. They just did not want to pay. Amd I could not afford to pay out of my own pocket. Cause they cost hundreds of dollars. Well now today I take Methadone. Cause that is the only pain prescription I can afford to pay myself.
    Well today I have to go to our health department cause I have no insurance and I only work about 20 to 22 hrs per week taking care of a lady in her home. And with me only making about $9 an hr. Let me tell ya I can’t afford anything else. And this so called dr at the health department is scared to write my prescriptions cause she says she doesn’t like writing scripts for controlled substance. And she us telling me now that this pain pill is not used for fibromalgia pain. And I told her that I could not really understand why they say methadone is not used to treat fibromalgia pain. Amd I told her that I did know this. However since I have to pay out of my own bloody pocket that Methadone is the one and only thing I can afford to keep buying for my pain. Which is chronic back pain and fibromalgia pain. Oh and severe head aches.
    So please do not stop prescribing methadone. For it is the one and only pain pill I can afford to pay for myself. And as with others that if there is no more pain pills to take they have with drawels and man those r not fun at all. I would have to go somewhere on my own and just cry and cry and cry. And if I have to live the rest o my life without pain meds I don’t know what to do. But I’ve been there and did that. My prayers will go out to each and every person with these kind of debilitating pain problems.

  14. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD at 8:42 am

    Data point:
    In my office, my worse enemy which causes a stubborn, odd, aches, stiffness and miserable pain are cholesterol meds, Statins.

    If you are in joint pains, nerve pains, feel decrepit and on statins, talk to your doctors to determine if you truly need them. Doctors give them out like candy and I find that only <10% really need them. Most people just need diet changes.

    You could feel vitalized in a few day to weeks after being off of them.

    @BL thanks for the link.

  15. thebunk at 8:19 pm

    Looks like the street supply is about to get a little better. They’ll be flying out the back door of the pharmaceutical companies now!!! The price per pill should go down quite a bit, too.

    And with the Silk Road back up, the overseas suppliers will have to ramp up production, too.

    This is actually good news for the addicts.

  16. denise at 8:15 pm

    i understand what u mean….same thing happened to me and now i too have a drug problem….i dont…i have a pain problem that the drs refuse to treat aggressively and so i have pain no matter what…at this point death would be welcomed greatly

  17. john doe at 6:26 pm

    I think everyone will start doing heroine. Its cheaper and will be easier to get. Think about it powers to be. Why would a chronic pain suffer want to go to dr every month when they can go to the corner and get almost same thing cheaper with out the hassle of having to see a dr.

  18. BRENDA BLANKENSHIP at 5:53 pm

    I HAVE HAD CANCER FOR 4 years. I went to 4 different doctors before they found it. The thing is I was going to the doctors for severe stomach paln. I HAVE HAD 3 rounds of chemo and will have it again in OCTOBER. THE CHEMO IS TERRIBLE BUT THE CANCER HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY CANCER. IT’S FROM SCAR TISSUE FROM OTHER SURGERIES BUT I’M NOT A CANDIDATE FOR MORE SURGERY. I TAKE HYDROCODONE FOR THIS. I sit at the kitchen table until the pill takes effect and I can walk with my cane or walker. my insurance does not pay for any of my meds so being 72yrs old I sure WOULDN’T be taking them if I DIDN’T need them. like most people have said why do us old folks have to suffer because of others.

  19. Donna Murphy at 6:51 am

    I have chronic pain and use loritab as the bottle says… I don’t like being classified as a drug abuser!!! After saying that I say this in 2006 I lost my daughter because she took one Xanax and 1 methodone. That is the drug that needs to be taken off the market but they have clinic’s prescribing constantly. From what understand it was given to people to get of Heroin makes no sense give another stong drug to replace another what bright person thought that one up. Methodone is the killer!!! I live in a small town the year my daughter died 8 teenagers died of the same thing. Does the DEA care about methadone they need to work on that drug that is given freely at clinic’s everywhere without a precription and when u go they ask if u want to bump up your dose .. I just don’t know seems as though someone is worrying about the wrong thing.. Methodone is the KILLER!!!

  20. Karen at 6:51 am

    I had been using a Fentanyl patch for 6 yrs and never had a single issue or incident with it. I always used it exactly as prescribed. My medication was provided directly from the manufacturer on their patient assistance program and sent certified mail every month. One time an error was made in doing the refill and it was never sent. I went into withdrawal when I ran out and was forced into emergency protective custody and taken to a treatment facility until the withdrawal was under control. I have now been labeled a “drug addict seeking drugs” and now can’t get a doctor to treat me for pain at all because of “my addiction problems” HELLO!!! they knew and told me that I would be addicted within just a few days before I started using it, but the addiction would be medically controlled. I now have to endure pain that makes me scream and pray to die. When I have the intense pain all I can do is drive to a secluded place, lock myself in my car and scream for hours and hours, sometimes days, where no one can hear me screaming at the top of my lungs. Was I addict?? Yes. Did I have a drug problem?? NO! There is a big difference and only those who have been there understand that. It will come down to a point that I can no longer tolerate this pain and will have to end it myself because of a doctor who chose not to see the real facts and passed judgment that was incorrect.

  21. Reta Coon-Jiminez at 9:19 pm

    I take oxycotin and oxycodone for pain.
    In to way am I addicted.
    How do others get them with out a DR priscription?

  22. denise at 8:30 pm

    I am tired of all the chronic pain people being lumped in with the abusers…in my opionion…someone in chronic pain cant really abuse them, as I see it I dont have pill issues I have pain issues and because so many scam artists have abused the system us honest to God pain ridden people are the ones suffering. We get treated like drug addicts…have to take pee tests have to have random pill counts..never miss an appt. sign a contract…what the hell ever happened to dr do no harm?? I am being harmed by being in pain constantly, my lifestyle sucks im so limited in everything and i used to be soooooo active. going to appts every 30 days to get pills and spending 2 to 3 hrs going through the ropes to get that script is disgusting and painfilling. then every 3 months getting yet another shot that makes me eat constantly and really doesnt do much. at my age i would rather just die than live another 20yrs like this…and im sure there are many more like me….unfortunately.

  23. Reta Coon-Jiminez at 3:29 pm

    I am oxycotin 3 times a day and oxycodone 3 times a day.
    When needed.
    I don’t like having the pain and would like to be pain free!
    I don’t know what to do?

    Reta

  24. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD at 2:20 pm

    The problem and solutions are complex. I have found that you can not regulate people to do the what is in there best interest. That is just how we are designed.

    The “ruling parties” are in control of me, you and the committee heads, so a way to sanity would be to rally around a single cause and demand a seat at the decision making table.

    Ask for fair, safe, holistic, old and new, transparent, free and readily available pain care options.

    You all should know by now I’m a fan of Medical Acupuncture, Myofascial release therapies with hands-on and with needles.

  25. Stacy S. at 12:22 pm

    Diane and BL – I am not ignorant or uneducated. I’m sorry that you do not agree with my views. But as you say, “Walk a day in my shoes!” My statement was not directed at individuals who have to deal with chronic pain yet persevere, as hard as it may be, through their lives. YOU are not the problem. Unfortunately, there are people who do not have your integrity and continue to make bad choices….this is what needs to be addressed. I understand that some people do not get to see first-hand how horrible this epidemic is, so I apologize if my statement was misunderstood. I wish only the best for you through your struggle and pray that these upcoming changes do not negatively affect you as anticipated. Hang in there.

  26. BL at 11:52 am

    CC, the drug abuse epidemic will never go away. People must be responsible and use common sense and intelliegence when they are prescribed strong medications. You can’t compare the ones who have chosen to abuse drugs and the parents who contribute to it to those with severe chronic pain who require certain medications to function doing the basic activities of daily living. I can assure you if someone wants to get high, they will find a way. Out of curiosity, what about those who have driven drunk and the people they hit weren’t fortunate enough to make it to the ER ? Are you as outraged by that and do you put your time and energy into telling people about those patients and trying to reduce the number ?

    Jason B, just so you know, there is only one legal Methamphetamine product, Desoxyn®. It is currently marketed in 5-milligram tablets and has very limited use in the treatment of obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When anyone lumps the use of legally manufactured drugs prescribed by a physician for a legimate medical purpose and the use of illegally manufactured drugs and those who abused them together, it hurts those who need that medication. It is like those who lump legimate severe chronic pain patients who take their medications as prescribed by their physician for legimate pain with those who steal/sell/buy and abuse pain meds because they want to get high.

  27. Diane at 11:16 am

    Oh so that make you so above all of us that deal with real pain. I am not and never have been a pill popping drug shooting person so DO NOT lump us in the same category: Talk to the real people this is going to hurt. Us little people. No I do not get” high” on my meds no I do not SELL my meds. I take them just to live day to day. Walk 1 day in my shoes than we Wil talk.

  28. Jason B. at 8:41 am

    One more reason we don’t need the the DEA and their war on drugs i.e. war on poor people. They have classified marijuana as a schedule I drug, the most restricted. Yet meth is a schedule II drug, the same as a pain pill will be soon. I’m sorry but I have chronic pain and need hydrocodone daily. I in no way shape or form would put hydrocodone on the same plane as meth, for many reasons. There is no therapeutic dosage of meth, we all know how destructive and addicting that insidious drug is. I’m not a user so correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the sole purpose of meth to get an extremely euphoric high? And at the cost of damaging feel good receptors in the brain no less. Do pain pills cause that level of damage, even if abused? For some reason I doubt it. So now I, along with thousands of other people who require medication for pain management, will have to waste valuable time at the doctors because of why, the DEA, an organization that should be canned. I’m sure my doctor is going to be thrilled over how much time he is going to be wasting thanks to this stupid decision. Besides, I’m pretty sure a 3 month supply is enough to kill anyone when taken all at once. Just one more way, along with the losing drug war, the DEA causes more problems that it solves.

  29. CC at 6:40 am

    Epidemic people! SMH In the er I have to deal constantly with manipulating drug seekers, overdosers, injection site abscesses, poor kids of drug addicts sitting in the waiting room alone or on the room with their parent acting a fool…. This is ALL THE TIME AND EXISTS EVERYWHERE! Something definitely needs to be done b4 we continue with this “walking dead” population….

  30. Counselorchick at 12:47 am

    DIANE — you have chronic pain, that is evident and indisputable. You do NOT need to justify your needs to elevate your pain. You are a hardworking American like the majority of us. Only the ignorant, lazy, looking-of-a-handout American would say something as ignorant as that.

    They do not deserve your outrage. You do not need to prove anything to parasites like this who are terrified of people with integrity. They have nothing better to do than to judge others because it’s easier than looking a their own ugliness.

    Fight for what is right but don’t take it so personally. Ignorance is the affliction of the ignorant. It is not our job to fix ignorance. It is our job to stay away from it.

  31. BL at 6:53 pm

    Diane, unfortunately, if someone had never lived with severe chronic pain, they have no clue. Our physicians have been convinced that only terminal pain is that severe. But, those that make these statements have no clue. Unlike you, I wish this pain on those who believe this and I wish them not being able to get medication. Then and only then, will they realize what it is really like for many of those who suffer. I wish them having to quit theie jobs, not be able to do basic things like shower or prepare a quick meal, not being able to properly dress in just pants and a shirt without someone helping them every time, etc.

    Strong pain meds should not be given because someone hurts. Or because they suffer from chronic severe pain and don’t want to make lifestyle adjustments. But, we aren’t talking about someone hurting, or not being willing to make lifestyle adjustments. We are talking about severe chronic that prevents someone from doing basic activities of daily living without the help of pain medication. Non medication pain management should also be included, but some people require pain medication.

    I find it interesting that the Social Security Administration has guidelines for the evaluation of pain to determine if it is debilitating for disability cases. Yet those like Stacy S. remain uneducated and ignorant.

    As far as those who have died because they abused pain meds, that was their choice. They choose to get high. No one held a gun to their head and made them. Stop making excuses for their choices.

  32. S H. at 4:44 pm

    I have been told this was coming I will see how this will affect me and others ..I already have such concerns and I cannot understand how people can do this , punish everyone ..its like eliminating air because serial killers breath it . So very wrong and inhuman ,..My poor husband has to endure ( as many of you know ) when I wake in pain even with meds and of course cannot sleep because of it ..sometimes crying for hours because of the stress let alone the actual pain.. It becomes so fearful when you try and understand how you can live with this pain situation . I am 65 and have raised 4 children three college grads one in Navy and a programmer, One is a DA. Does that sound like I ever wasted a minute complaining or not being responsible / I grew gardens , sewed and worked in church etc started a business BTW paid taxes .. Seriously could gather a series of people that would swear in a court how productive I was ..until turning 50 and hit like a bomb went off in my life fatigue pain etc etc no sleep tested for two years experimented on by Drs. trying to help.. and slowly but surely loosing my life ..fighting taking any meds until I finally realized I was loosing the battle and gave in to medicine ( very little compared to most but it helped ) and got my life back ..Exercised , lost weight ..I was never really overweight and started eating fresh foods ..made a better routine for my life ( LIKE GETTING TO FINALLY SLEEP ) and with all combined I have improved. But I am still in Pain ( Fibro and I know what it will be like for me from this garbage thought up by seriously deranged people. I am not a addict as most or all in chronic pain are not .We do want to have a life ..I am so blessed to have GOOD Dr. ….Emory and Duke credentials Pain clinic and understands pain .Now this ..Incredible ..All the life I have tried to regain ..trying to clear my body of enduring pain ! More stupidity for people who are so misguided as usual from people making rules for all of us. I invite anyone to challenge me and my life and how I manage it with meds . How dare some one remove my chance to live out my life with dignity and have a relationship with my husband of 43 years. Now what will he have to endure ..He still works with a heart condition and cancer and chemo ..I have had to try and help and take over to help and its been hard but we have managed and now this. Without asking anything from Government ..Now this ..How will I be able to drive in the winter ..because I will not drive with medication in me and have a almost 4 hour drive ( there and back ) to see Dr. 2 times a year. In the winter as you know its harder to do anything ..Then also the new added cost..Really DEA ? I am so disgusted with the amount of freedom taken from people that don’t do anything but try and survive and do whats right ..I just poured my heart out to husband and he said don’t worry Ill take off work once a month and drive you..I said what about the ones suffering and having to work like that and don’t have anyone to drive them what about them what about those that cannot afford this ? Its not right ..Its wrong and should be exposed for the travesty this is. Iam going to try and find out all I can to fight this. Great use of my time ..Great use don’t you think having to go through what we go through and now this / I thank God I believe in Prayer and I pray for wisdom as should you all because we are going to need it. There are so many reason.. so many.. that this is a form of discrimination towards us. Its inhuman to make people have to suffer more . I am sick of the good.. having to pay for the acts of a few . I want to scream at times from the pain that shoots like electricity while asleep the weight of the pain and just getting though another day when its bad ..I will see how I a going to be able to do this..The only thing I do wish… that isn’t right .. is that they should have to endure the pain at its worst for just a day.To fellow sufferers of pain that you I am sure like me , try and hide the pain and put on your smile ..I am sorry for this know the way you feel as I do ..so cheated and robbed from pain and now this .

  33. Denise at 3:00 pm

    I.have read some more comments and I am sorry for you that have lost a love one. I did when he was 41/2 to a drunken driver. Why don’t they pull all beer,and liquor off the market. I have seen it kill more the prescription drugs so DEA put that in your little peace what ever and do ………..

  34. BL at 12:49 pm

    kay, “A practitioner may provide individual patients with multiple prescriptions for the same schedule II controlled substance to be filled sequentially. The combined effect of these multiple prescriptions is to allow the patient to receive, over time, up to a 90-day supply of that controlled substance.”

    Issuance of Multiple Prescriptions for Schedule II Controlled Substances-
    http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/faq/mult_rx_faq.htm#6

  35. Diane at 12:28 pm

    I don’t know who you deal with to make a blanket statement like this. 1st I am employed full time 45 to 60 hours a week on my feet the whole time. Yes I had 4 failed back surgeries the last 2 were hours apart. Yes I am in pain 24/7 with barely any relief so no I am NOT A LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHING DISABLED PERSON. You in your so called profession must know everything about what I live daily. God you wouldn’t make it a day. I just pray you NEVER have to deal with what NORMAL people deal with and if you do I pray you find a HONEST Dr who will help you.

  36. Ruth at 9:43 am

    I’m also prescribed pain meds. Had surgery on my lower back two years ago after working all my adult life to support myself and my children. I’ve been rediculed and called a “pill head” by family and friends. Why? I didn’t ask for it to happen to me. I’ve always been a hard working woman and to be treated the way I have been the last two years has just opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’m told a lot of my pain is from arthritis, but no arthritis medicine is ever offered to me because the doctors assume the pain meds is all I want. I even ask for it and I’m told that I’m on enough medication. I know people abuse their meds but what about the ones like me who take their meds as the are prescribed to them? It all boils down to this…The good have to suffer because of the bad.

  37. Pamela at 7:30 am

    For us that live daily lives with chronic pain….sucks. Maybe we should ground all air flight too because.. Well planes do have crashes..so it might save people. Maybe require drivers to retest for a new drivers licenses because people have auto wrecks too.so retest every 90 days to maintain safe driver skills..see where this can go?? We can regulate every aspect of life..gee why did you not require people that smoke have weekly test to make sure no one ever gets addicted to cigarette’s?? ¿

  38. koon at 7:30 am

    That’s great now the government can sell more heroin they smuggle in

  39. Stacy S. at 6:18 am

    I can understand the frustration of those who have true pain but you should direct your anger towards those who abuse prescription drugs….you know who you are….and not the DEA. Prescription drug addiction is an epidemic in America and it infuriates me. There are many things other than pain meds that help pain. “Chronic pain” does not have to be disabling. Let’s be honest, pain is subjective and some people aren’t honest with their healthcare provider or themselves….sometimes you just need to put your big girl panties/big boy pants on and deal with it. Reinsert yourself back into life and work. Trust me, YES I do not what I am talking about. I deal with this every single day. Working in a level one trauma center emergency department, I see people in pain but I also see people who are good for absolutely nothing because of their addiction. While it is sad, it is also very frustrating to deal with the entitlement these people express. Because these medications are so easy to get, America is saturated with “disabled”, non-working, non-productive members of society who do nothing more than complain about how unfair their FREE healthcare is and how difficult it is to get their pain meds(because providers are expected to support, encourage, and facilitate this behavior/addiction?). Do not get me wrong, I truly believe that people have pain but I KNOW that addiction is real as well. So before you respond, be honest with yourself. Could you be one of those people? If not, then try and understand why it is so important for these medications to be more controlled.

  40. Rhonda at 3:33 am

    I am one who did go to website and leave a very long statement about this decision before it was made. I can understand somewhat, why they are doing this, and do agree with a lot of the comments here. My biggest issue with this is that I have no insurance and costs me 150.00 just to walk thru the doors of my drs office. I already see him every four months, and its a struggle for me to get the money together to do that. Add another 150 on top and I’m screwed. Who has the money for that?? Not me!!! There is no assistance for folks like us who still work because they HAVE to, but are struggling to get thru even a six hour shift. Either I stop working at all and wait a year or longer for any assistance, or I don’t eat to be able to pay for the Dr. Its one big circus for folks like us, because of those that decide they are going to use them to get high instead of the intended use. I think the government has other issues to deal with, and let’s not worry about all the college binge drinking or those that spend all their time in the bars drinking themselves to death. Let’s just make it more difficult for those that actually NEED something to help with ADLs. I am also on tramadol which I take more than the hydro’s, but now they are trying to make those harder to get. They’ve already taken one med away that was helping me, let’s just take them all away.

  41. kay at 12:11 am

    BL, your doctor cannot write post dated scripts anymore. That is absolutely not correct. You can have one script at a time with no post dated scripts.

  42. Bill Fritsch at 11:48 pm

    Interesting comments. So far no one has commented about the economic hardship they will experience because they will no longer be able to sell their Vikes on the street. This is a fact! No surviving parents have made any mention about their teenagers dying from an overdose on their Norco prescription – that they weren’t abusing. Another fact! And what about all the folks who drive while impaired by pain meds they bought on the street. Can’t send in a comment when you’re in an ICU – fact! I’m still waiting to read a comment that is also a fact – hydrocodone works, not because it takes away pain, but because it makes you not care about pain. Or anything else.

  43. kay at 11:03 pm

    They keep saying these new changes don’t hurt pain patients, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that is not true. Pain patients are the ones suffering the most. Don’t believe me? Go to any online group and see how we are being treated.

    Chronic pain is unending. It isn’t something you can tough or wait out. There are diseases and injuries people will have the rest of their lives.

    It’s very easy for someone else to make comments and judgments when they are not living in our bodies or being treated they way we are.

    No one should have the right to force chronic pain patients to live in agony, but that is what is happening.

  44. Carol at 7:28 pm

    1 already have to do a yearly pee test have to be seen every 30 days by pain mgmt dr and it has been this way for at least 2 yrs. I live in NM…
    I don’t get “high” from these drugs they barely give me any relief!!! I have crappy insurance and have to pay over $100.00 per office visit.

  45. Mono at 4:48 pm

    So when and where did the DEA get it’s medical degree? The police state, in the guise of health, safety, and welfare, now heavy hands the medical profession and the patients they treat by mandating needless suffering for persons in chronic pain. What politician(s) is pushing this mandate upon the DEA in order to prove to the populace he or she really cares about the populace ?
    Yesterday I stopped at a crosswalk to allow a man obviously in his sixties slowly cross the street. I could tell by the way he walked, his slow pace, it pained him to walk. He wore a construction hat and his jeans and t shirt covered in plastering dust. Thank the Great Recession of 2007-2008 forcing baby boomers working past their physical endurance to economically survive in our inflated economy. Denying these hard working baby boomers hydro codons will make their daily lives painful misery.

  46. BL at 3:14 pm

    Kurt W.G. Matthies, I agree. I bet the number of Emergency Room visits for toothaches soar as well as Emergency Room visits for the flu. Cough meds that drs use to call in, especially for children at 2 am, will also become Schedule II.

  47. Kurt W.G. Matthies at 2:45 pm

    I feel sorry for all the people with Friday night toothaches. No longer will your dentist be able to telephone the pharmacy and get you some relief over the weekend, until you can be seen Monday morning.

  48. BL at 1:56 pm

    People drinking alcohol while they are taking certain meds meds is one of the reasons people dying. Their deaths are counted as dying due to opioids and/or certain other meds. Unfortunately, had they not been drinking they would still be alive, but that is never mentioned.

  49. Trasee at 1:40 pm

    Lula, The DEA was formed to expunge and keep ILLEGAL drugs from the US. Not decide what legal medications are allowed to be manufactured and what quantity can be manufactured. The FDA should be making these decisions based on need and Dr discretion
    This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. This drives up costs to everyone. You may think it doesn’t effect you, but when it happens to you or someone you love, you will wonder why the DEA was the driving force behind these types of decisions.

  50. Diane at 1:25 pm

    Why do the people who actually need these meds to function get penalized again and again. Go after the crooked Dr’s who write fake prescriptions to people who do NOT need them. Stop going after the ones who actually do need them to ease the pain. I have not slept more than 2 hours a night because of the pain and I had to jump through hoops to get them. So now you want to make it next to impossible. Something has got to give.

  51. Anne at 11:40 am

    I would like for any or all of these “law makers” to live a day in my body and not want something stronger than a Tylenol or Ibuprofen (which come with their own bad side effects) after 2 hours, IF they make it THAT long. I’m in pain 24/7, sleep is no relief. Sleep, what is sleep?? All these articles about drug related deaths are not true as in, they are misleading. If a person has minute traces of any drug in their body when they die then it is considered ‘drug related.” You could just happen to die after ingesting say, an aspirin. Would it be considered drug related then? I think not. Its only narcotics that are “drug related.” I’ve been on narcotics for years and I’m not dead. You DO NOT die from one pill! Zohydro!!!! Two pills will kill ya!! I THINK NOT!!!!! (Uneducated persons who haven’t done pills shouldn’t spew facts that are unfounded.) Why don’t they ever mention all the alcohol people were imbibing in when they “overdosed”??? Oh, I know….alcohol is legal !!!! It couldn’t possibly be involved in any way! The {higher ups} like it too much. Let me get drunk, pee myself and beat my wife and kids. Maybe I can even kill someone on the road! Junk food is killing our obese children every day and nothing is done about it. What about all the salt and sugar in our food? The poison in our air and water? The lost soldiers in all the wars we didn’t want to be involved in? Law makers don’t care about the American people. Pharmaceuticals are the only thing they can control and control them they will by golly!! Hypocrites!!!

  52. BL at 10:30 am

    duane pool, these changes were made public on the news, in the newpapers and various other way. It is not your physicians responsibility to keep you informed of things like this. It is your responsibility to keep yourself informed. The public could make comments & appear before the FDA REMS panel in Jan 2014, but few people choose to except those who had lost loved ones to drug addiction & the drs who proposed this change. There was also room for public comments when the proposed rule change was published in the Federal Registery in March.

    About having to go to the de every month. That is your dr decision, not the DEA’s Federal Law states a dr can write 3 30 days rxs for a patient receiving a Schedule II med without seeing them each month. Some drs will write their patients the 3 rxs at the same office visit, some will have their patients call & come in & pick up a new rx, the majority of the drs have their patients come in every month for a regular office visit. But, you need to talk to your dr if he has you come in every month & you can’t afford it because that is his decision.

  53. Denise at 10:27 am

    I have been on pain meds for over 10 yrs. I have fibromyalgia and two spurs on my neck. And bulging disc in lower back. I have conic migraines for over 26 yrs. I can’t get out of bed some morning and you are going to make it harder for me because idiots that abuse them. What about my rights and other people like me.it’s ohwell to bad you don’t have any. That’s. Bs. I don’t think we should suffer because of we don’t abuse them!!!!!!!!

  54. Lisa at 10:06 am

    Great. I understand why the laws are there, however, it it making it harder for those to actually need it and don’t abuse it to get it. It’s stupid. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I shouldn’t
    Have to jump through hoops to get the
    Meds I need to stay comfortable.

  55. Shelly H. at 7:34 am

    I have had 3 fusions to my neck, my lower back is going to hell, recent hand surgery, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. This is ridiculous to the people that actually use this Narco for what it was intended for…chronic pain. I take half the dose that the doctor prescribes just to get through the day and function (surviving actually). I’m not addicted as I don’t take this for “the high”. How about the DEA worry about illegal drugs making its way into the country!

  56. Lulu at 7:13 am

    Did you seriously say that the DEA needs to stay out of this? The Drug Enforcement Agency? Are you from Mars?

  57. duane pool at 6:21 am

    As a chronic pain patient, as a result of a motor vehicle accident, I have endured untold discrimination from my healthcare providers. While, I take very little pain medication, given my circumstances now, I will be expected to jump through additional hoops and continued endless scrutiny without basis or merit. I placed a call to my pain management physician today, to inquire why I was not advised of these proposed changes, and why I was not given information on how I could voice my opinion to Drug Enforcement Administration on these proposed changes and how this would directly impact me. I let them know, in no uncertain terms, that I felt that they have an obligation to empower their patients to participate in this debate and to have a their voices actually heard in any kind of DEA public discourse about proposed changes. While there may be a problem with the dissemination of these medications, patients who require these types of medications and physicians who endeavor wholeheartedly to relieve pain, should not be thrown continuously under the bus to resolve these social issues. In addition, as far as I can see, a great deal of patients who require pain management, did not receive appropriate care to begin with, and are faced with long term problems, because their initial complaints were minimized and improperly managed. We can all thank the managed care companies for that. As a final note, complementary therapy such as acupuncture and massage should be made more accessible and affordable as alternative treatments. And, I suggest that the views of healthcare providers be further studied, in terms of discrimination, from initial complaint to final outcome, as often a patient’s complaints are dismissed, minimized, and not legitimized until they are in a catastrophic situation. That is not medicine, and that is certainly not considered compassionate humane medical care. The issue goes much deeper than regulating pain medications, with holding assertive medical early in treatment to save healthcare dollars needs to be considered as a root cause in terms of these issues. Signed, a former healthcare provider and a current patient

  58. Marty at 5:53 am

    I am a 62 year old woman in chronic pain from my back thru my hip down my leg and into my foot. If not for Vicodin taking the edge off every few hours I would not be here anymore because I live thru such pain every single day for 3 years. I have had Fibro for 20 plus years and never took pain killers for that like I see some doing. I know by living it that it can be controlled to an extent thru diet, exercise and healthy living.
    Unfortunately now that I can’t lift my leg a inch off the floor and am in this non stop pain it’s harder. I have to use a walker and still the pain shoots thru me. They have tried me on all sorts of things. Fentynal, Butrans etc but I can’t and won’t take stuff like that because I can’t think or function on it.
    All these changes in chronic pain patients medications will no doubt increase suicide in pain patients because without small amounts of pills to at least dull the pain a little we have no life to live.

  59. Diane Succio at 4:50 am

    I to am 1 of the people with chronic pain. After 3 failed back surgeries I am on pain meds just to back able to function. I work 45 hrs a week on my feet and see my Dr every 2 months. It costs me 800.00 a year out of pocket so I guess the FDA is going to pay the extra 800.00. I will have to pay. I signed all necessary paperwork but apparently that still is not good enough. Please stay out of my business this. Is between. My Dr. And myself.

  60. Mary R at 3:38 am

    It is going to be devastating for my elderly mother. She is in terrible pain and having to get out and go to the doctor is very difficult for her. Winter time especially with ice and the cold. Sitting in the waiting room in the chairs is agony for her. It is too bad the doctors can’t decide what is best for the patient.

  61. Lee Ann Maples at 11:30 pm

    I, too, have chronic pain from head to toe, caused by a myriad of conditions. My latest surgery, in March, 2014, was Instrumented Fusion in my lower back. In my doctor’s own words, it wasn’t a fix all procedure. Before the surgery, I was on Oxycodone, and now, I’m on Norco, 7.5. I’ll probably have to take it for the rest of my life; that is, if I want to function at all.
    The FDA would not put tighter rules into place for heart medicine or insulin. Just because it’s addictive, we with chronic pain have to fight to get and keep our meds? Not fair! The ones that have to have it to function shouldn’t be punished because it’s being abused by others.
    I don’t mind going to the Dr. more often – I am just wary that the copays will go up or the docs will tire of all the red tape and quit prescribing it at all.

  62. Megan at 10:40 pm

    I don’t think changing this will be fair to many of us. In order to get my script now I will have to go to a pain clinic, which costs $50 a MONTH, instead of the normal $25 dollars I pay every 3 months. Is the FDA going to pay the extra bills now? Instead of $100 a year to be seen and check in with my doctor, it will now cost $600. Where is the extra $500 going to come from? I have no income while I’m fighting for my SSD, which the state seems to think isn’t expected to last longer than 6 months……Did we suddenly find a cure for Fibro that I didn’t know about?

  63. Deborah at 5:43 pm

    Melissa H, I am glad you were able to get off these “nasty drugs”. I take Norco and without it I can’t walk. Literally. I don’t know what you took the medication for but I have a spinal birth defect in my tailbone that is excruciating. I’ve worked hard for YEARS to stay on the Norcos and not go up to a stronger medication and take just enough to help dull the 24/7 pain. In addition to my first comment I just realized that my neurologist can’t write schedule 2’s which means I’ll have to have another doctor that I pay out of pocket for. I will not drop my doctor who has worked so hard trying to help me get my SSDI and the medical coverage that comes with it so somehow I have to squeeze this budget to cover TWO doctors along with all my out of pocket expenses that my medications cost me.

  64. Deborah at 5:32 pm

    I’m screwed. I have no insurance and being in Alabama I fall in the gap, too much income for state help and not enough to enroll in the plans offered by the healthcare law.

    Now I’ll have to pay out of pocket to see my doctor monthly. This will mean the money for these extra visits MUST come from somewhere and it will come the food budget which is barely sustainable now.

    My family would be better off if I were dead.

  65. Trasee at 4:29 pm

    These previous comments are really assumptive. Your experiences are not every chronic pain suffers experience. Not everyone is able to do other things to control their pain. My Doctor and I know what is best for me. The DEA has to focus on legal drugs because God Forbid they do their job on illegal drugs, that in turn keeps Corporate incarceration in business. Just infuriating that the US gov’t deciding my fate where medications are concerned!

  66. trudy myers at 4:11 pm

    The DEA needs to stay out of this!! It really makes me angry that they keep making it harder and harder for pain patients to be treated. Saying chronic pain patients shouldn’t be treated with opiates, and then NOW changing hydrocodone to a higher schedule-just makes me so angry.
    Only people who suffer the agony of pain day in/day out knows that pain meds are like a blessing. I am under medicated now because my doctor is afraid to up my dosage.

  67. BL at 2:39 pm

    Pain meds are only needed when they reduce the level of severe chronic pain to the level that allows someone to be able to do the basic activities of daily living. The meds also need to be combined with other forms of non medication pain management. And that is what all of the tigher regulations are trying to get across. If someone can get along without the pain meds and function, then they don’t need them.

  68. BL at 1:28 pm

    I don’t know if the data is kept on the actual number of prescriptions that are written for certain meds in general. I do know that that data is kept when Medicare and Medicaid pay for it. It will be interesting to compare the number of rxs written for hydrocodone combinations meds in the previous quarters of 2014 compared to the last.

  69. Melisa H. at 12:53 pm

    Another fine mess!!
    Thank God I’ve been able to get off my 60 mgs/daily of Oxycotin! I went through withdrawals in March-its not easy. But I realized I’m not in any more pain than when I was on them. A lot of times the drugs cause even more pain-believe it or not.
    Side effects were killing me-along with the “every 30 day” visit to get a refill. What a joke!
    Not to mention, the nasty family comments that come with taking these prescribed drugs. Not one person has ever seen me “high” because I always took them as prescribed and never abused my prescriptions-but a family member had the audacity to say I was “highly addicted to narcotics”. Be a long time before I forgive them!
    If you can, get off these nasty drugs-I NEVER thought I would be able to do it.