On October 6, 2014, the DEA changed the status of Hydrocodone products from Schedule III to a Schedule II substance, therefore rendering refills no longer possible for those in need.
Hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin, Lortab, or under the street name “Hydro”), albeit one of the more abused drugs in America, is one of the lowest strength opiate painkillers prescribed. It’s given out for a multitude of reasons, so anyone in America getting intensive dental work to minor injuries, to post-surgery healing and diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis is likely to be prescribed it at least once or twice in their lifetime. With the drug being pushed into this category, a patient would have to return to the doctor every month the medicine is needed to obtain a new prescription, something that may not be too complicated for someone with good health insurance, but those without insurance, people in chronic pain, those with financial difficulties, and many more could be put into tough situations.
For comparison, one can look at the other drugs in the Schedule II class: morphine, dilaudid, and fentanyl – drugs that are extremely potent and far more deadly. The DEA does have a point in making this switch, as the drug will definitely be harder to get on the street. Although, like most prohibitions, use of the drug won’t stop. It’ll become more expensive, and more dangerous to get, but people will still seek it out; it’s already gained notoriety as it’s use in America shows.
For more information, read the latest update on Drugs.com.