Manchin Applauds 1.1 Billion Reduction in Opioid Tablets Since Rescheduling of Hydrocodone
Senator fought to reschedule hydrocodone products from Schedule III to Schedule II
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today applauded the drastic reduction of opioid prescriptions by 26.3 million, or 1.1 billion tablets, since moving the hydrocodone-combination drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II, an effort he led in 2013 and 2014. The research, conducted by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was published in a JAMA Internal Medicine report on Monday.
“These reductions in opioid prescriptions are a direct result of rescheduling hydrocodone-combination drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II,” Senator Manchin said. “We are on the right path forward to curbing opioid abuse but more needs to be done. We must go after this problem from every angle – family assistance, counseling programs, consumer and medical education, law enforcement support, state and federal legislation. We have a responsibility to stop the scourge of prescription drug abuse and I will continue to do everything I can do to end this epidemic.”
Below is a timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to reschedule hydrocodone-combination drugs:
May 23, 2012: Senator Manchin included an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act to reschedule hydrocodone. The measure passed by the Senate unanimously. Unfortunately, this amendment was not included in the final bill that was signed into law.
January 25, 2013: The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) own advisory committee voted 19-10 to reclassify the highly addictive drug on the same day that Senator Manchin testified at its committee hearing. Senator Manchin shared several stories from West Virginians who have struggled with hydrocodone addictions or family members whose loved ones overdosed on these painkillers.
February 14, 2013: After numerous phone calls and meetings with FDA officials, Senator Manchin, along with seven additional Members of Congress, sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Hamburg to urge immediate action on rescheduling drugs containing hydrocodone to help curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic, as recommended by the FDA’s own advisory board in January 2013.
March 20, 2013: Senator Manchin sponsored the Safe Prescribing Act, along with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ed Markey (D-MA), to reclassify hydrocodone painkillers. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation received widespread support from Democrats and Republicans in both legislative chambers, as well as from health care providers, addiction specialists, law enforcement, advocacy groups and victims across the nation.
May 9, 2013: After allotting time for the FDA to implement its own committee’s recommendations to reschedule the drug, Senator Manchin sent a letter to Commissioner Hamburg urging the agency to immediately take action and move forward in hydrocodone’s reclassification process without delay.
October 24, 2013: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius informed Senator Manchin in October that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would recommend rescheduling hydrocodone combination drugs from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance.
February 26, 2014: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to place hydrocodone-containing products from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance, which kick-starts the reclassification process.
April 29, 2014: Senator Manchin submitted a public comment to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) encouraging the agency to reschedule hydrocodone-combination drugs from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance.
August 22, 2014: DEA officially announced the final rule to reschedule hydrocodone-combination drugs, a tremendous legislative victory for Senator Manchin and the entire country.
To review a full timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, please click here.
To review a fact sheet on the prescription drug abuse epidemic, please click here.
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