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US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: <a href="">Propublica </a>CC <a href="">some rights reserved</a>
US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: Propublica CC some rights reserved

Schumer would crack down on oft-abused painkiller hydrocodone

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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the federal Food and Drug Administration to make it harder for people to get painkillers that contain hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is one of the most heavily prescribed drugs in New York state and nationwide. It's a popular and effective painkiller, but according to the Upstate New York Poison Control Center, it was named in more than 12,800 cases of prescription drug abuse in 2011.

Schumer wants it included in the FDA's Schedule II drug list, joining morphine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.

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Reported by

Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Schumer said doctors prescribe hydrocodone for things like wisdom tooth extractions and broken bones. "But too often, this painkiller becomes a cold-blooded killer to many of our friends, students and parents. It's prescribed sometimes for things that are not needed."

And he said, it's often prescribed too much. "If you have a wisdom tooth [removed], and let's say it's very painful - you need it for three days, but the doctor might prescribe 30 pills. So there are far too many pills around."

Schumer said the biggest hurdle to cracking down on hydrocodone is getting FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to accept the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee's recommendation to change the drug's classification to what's known as Schedule Two. Schumer said Schedule II classification would make it harder for people to acquire and abuse the drug.


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