Bits and Pieces

Sunday, February 15, 2004

DEA to Cut Pain Drug Availability

WASHINGTON - The Drug Enforcement Administration is working to make one of the most widely prescribed medications more difficult for patients to obtain as part of its stepped-up offensive against the diversion and abuse of prescription painkillers.

Top DEA officials confirm that the agency is eager to change the official listing of the narcotic hydrocodone -- which was prescribed more than 100 million times last year -- to the highly restricted Schedule II category of the Controlled Substances Act. A painkiller and cough suppressant sold as Lortab, Vicodin and 200 generic brands, hydrocodone combined with other medications has long been available under the less stringent rules of Schedule III.

Is this announcement timed to coincide with the Cymbalta suicide? If it is it seems a little heartless to pin a policy on the back off such a sad event. Still, as I said the other day, if it helps to decrease the use of needless medication it can only be a good thing.
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