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FDA and Legislators Introduce Bill Aimed at Reclassifying and Restricting Hydrocodone Drugs

Malibu, CA (PRWEB) April 03, 2013

New congressional legislation has been put forward in order to reduce the significantly increasing prescription drug problem, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

Hydrocodone-based medications, which include Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab, are a class of drugs that account for the highest rates of abuse in the country. Prescription drugs continue to cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, and drug fatalities have also surpassed deaths from vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental fatalities in America.

In January, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) met and an advisory panel approved strengthening the restrictions on Hydrocodone combination drugs in order to make them more difficult to obtain and prescribe.

Following the FDA panel suggestion, new legislation called the Safe Prescribing Act of 2013 was proposed by legislators. The new bill, which was signed by 41 members of Congress from both parties, would tighten regulations on Hydrocodone by limiting the number of pills given out at one time, stopping new refills without new prescriptions, disapproving prescriptions made by fax or over the phone prescriptions, and creating new protocols and storage procedures for pharmacies and distributors.

“It’s great that Congress is stepping up and taking action to help fight this epidemic of prescription drug abuse sweeping the country,” said Pax Prentiss, CEO and co-founder of the Passages Addiction Treatment Centers in Malibu and Ventura, California.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies a drugs’ potential for addiction on a 5 stage scale. Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance (which is the second highest level of addictive potential) and Hydrocodone combination drugs, such as Vicodin, are Schedule III drugs, which have significantly fewer restrictions. Under the new bill, Hydrocodone combination products would move from the Schedule III to Schedule II class.

Lawmakers are strongly pushing the changes; however the FDA recently cautioned that the protocol for reclassifying these drugs could be a long and involved process, stating that much research and regulatory procedures must be completed before these new rules could go into effect.

Hydrocodone combination drugs were introduced over forty years ago and have seen virtually no restrictions or updates since. Alarming figures show that the United States consumes 99% of the total worldwide Hydrocodone produced, and general practitioners and dentists use and prescribe it more than any other group of painkillers.

“At Passages, we see the prescription drug problem firsthand, and this new legislation is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Prentiss.

At Passages Malibu - Addiction Ends Here™

About Passages Malibu & Passages Ventura:
Father and son team Chris and Pax Prentiss founded Passages Malibu in 2001. Its second location, Passages Ventura, first opened its doors in 2009. The two alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers offer an alternative to the 12 step/AA model of addiction treatment by utilizing a holistic program that focuses on the underlying issues of substance dependency, rather than attributing addiction to an incurable disease.

Both Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura accept insurance and each have earned the coveted Joint Commission (JCAHO) accreditation, which has only been given to 6% of the nation’s behavioral health treatment programs.

Passages Malibu was named the #1 treatment center in the world by Healthcare Global and one of the "Most Luxurious Places to Dry Out" by Forbes magazine. The co-founders are also authors of an acclaimed series of addiction treatment books, including their groundbreaking, flagship title, The Alcoholism & Addiction Cure. For general inquiries about treatment, contact: 866-233-1753.

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