DEA issues final rule on the rescheduling of HCPs

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final rule rescheduling hydrocodone combination products from schedule III to schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. This final rule imposes the regulatory controls and sanctions applicable to schedule II substances on those who handle HCPs, according to the DEA. The rule is effective beginning Oct.6, 2014.

The CSA puts substances with medical uses into one of four schedules, the DEA said. Substances with the greatest potential for harm and abuse are categorized as schedule II and substances with less potential for harm and abuse are placed in schedules III through V. Schedule I is meant for controlled substances that don't currently have an accepted medical use. HCPs are drugs that contain hydrocodone (a schedule II drug) and specific amounts of other substances, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

The entire final rule may be reviewed here.

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