Atlanta, Georgia -
The Drug Enforcement Administration is taking action against prescription drug abuse. Addiction and death from prescription painkillers has become an epidemic, so the DEA is hoping to make the pills much harder to get.
One person dies every 19 minutes from prescription drug overdose. This is the kind of statistic the DEA hopes to change.
The agency is now tightening controls on hydrocodone combination products, such as the painkiller "vicodin", which are some of the most commonly abused painkillers on the market.
The agency is changing the classification of these drugs from schedule 3 to schedule 2. What does that mean?
The DEA puts all drugs into five different categories, or schedules based upon things like whether or not they have approved medical use, and the likelihood for abuse.
Moving hydrocodone products to schedule 2 means patients will need a written prescription to get the drug, it cannot be called in over the phone.
Refills are prohibited from schedule 2 drugs and schedule 2 puts manufacturing quotas in place for these products.