The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 25, 2013

FDA recommends DHHS reschedule hydrocone

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has officially recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services reschedule hydrocodone from a Schedule III to Schedule II controlled substance, according to a release from Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin said rescheduling this drug, which is a highly addictive substance found in drugs like Vicodin and Loritab, will greatly help curb prescription drug abuse.

The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to pass this recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which will immediately begin the reclassification process.

“Today was a tremendous step forward in fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has ravaged West Virginia and our country,” Manchin said.

“Rescheduling hydrocodone from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug will help prevent these highly addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands and devastating families and communities. I want to sincerely thank my good friend Sen. Tom Harkin from Iowa for being so helpful in making this possible. I am also extremely grateful that the Food and Drug Administration has finally implemented its own advisory committee’s recommendations to reclassify these addictive drugs. The agency has just saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Manchin has been working since May 2012 to have the drug reclassified.

West Virginia State Police Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers said he recognizes that a legitimate need for pain management exists, but the illegal use of prescription pain medication is one of the biggest problems the state faces.

“The reclassification of hydrocodone is a major step toward restoring accountability and oversight between medical providers and patients suffering from acute injuries, chronic pain and terminal illness,” Smithers said.

“I would like to thank Sen. Manchin, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Drug Administration for proactively taking a major step toward addressing the issue of prescription drug diversion not only here in West Virginia, but nationwide,” Smithers said. “It is my sincere belief that this measure will decrease the amount of hydrocodone available to those who do not possess a legitimate prescription.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com