U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging the Food and Drug Administration to restrict access to hydrocodone by classifying it as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Schedule II drugs include narcotics such as oxycodone and morphine and stimulants such as methamphetamine. These substances require a written or electronic prescription that must be signed by a medical practitioner. A new prescription must be issued every time a patient needs a refill.
Sen. Schumer is urging the FDA to initiate the category change following its recent efforts to curb hydrocodone abuse and a recommendation from the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee.
In the north country, there were 1,070 reported cases of prescription drug abuse in 2011, according to the Upstate New York Poison Control Center.