U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) testified today at a FDA hearing to urge the agency to consider placing tighter controls on drugs containing hydrocodone to help curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic.
"It is time to have a serious dialogue about the importance of rescheduling hydrocodone-combination drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II," Senator Manchin said. "This drug is a highly addictive prescription painkiller that can easily fall into the wrong hands. I have seen the effects of this addictive drug destroy too many communities and devastate too many families to ignore this growing nationwide problem.
"Whenever I go back to West Virginia, I hear how easy it is for anybody to get their hands on hydrocodone-combination drugs," Senator Manchin told the FDA. "The personal stories I hear from so many West Virginians convinced me that this change is so critical."
"It is my hope that the FDA considers this matter in a balanced way, with physicians, addiction specialists, pharmacologists, and -- most importantly -- those personally affected by this epidemic having a chance to discuss the overwhelming data demonstrating the serious abuse of hydrocodone-combination products.
"Now, I recognize patients and businesses alike may have legitimate concerns with my proposal, and I'm willing to sit down and work with anyone who wants to find a balanced approach to finding solutions to this problem. But with that being said, I believe we have a responsibility to this great nation of ours -- especially to our children and the generations to come -- to win this war on prescription drugs. And right now, hydrocodone is one of the most abused substances out there."
Moving hydrocodone to a Schedule II drug means that patients would need an original prescription to get their pills refilled. Pills would be stored and transported more securely, and traffickers would be subject to increased fines and penalties.