Reclassification for hydrocodone takes effect

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COLUMBIA - New regulations on hydrocodone prescriptions took effect Monday.

Refills for prescriptions will no longer be accepted for any products containing hydrocodone, because the drug has a risk of abuse. 

"I definitely agree that there is a big problem with abuse with that substance," said Dr. Bill Morrissey who works at Kilgore's Pharmacy. "Prescription drug abuse is a very big issue just in the 20 years that I have been a pharmacist."

The Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified hydrocodone products from Schedule III to Schedule II, which is more restrictive. Schedule II products have a higer risk of being abused compared to Schedule III-V. Schedule I is only used for drugs that have no accepted medical use.

The DEA has looked at studies and found twice as many seniors in high school use the hydrocodone-containing Vicodin for non-medical reasons than use OxyCotin which is a Schedule II drug.

People have had 45 days since the reclassification to prepare for the change, and Morrissey said Kilgore's has taken a proactive approach with customers.

"We have been handing things out for quite a while to inform them of that," he said, "but we have had a few that have come in and we had to tell them they could not refill their prescription."

For customers to get a new bottle of any hydrocodone products they must get a new prescription every time.