CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he is pleased with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's decision to reclassify hydrocodone-combination medications as Schedule II pharmaceuticals, which will result in tighter restrictions on how the medication can be prescribed.

“Our office is pleased with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s decision to begin listing hydrocodone combination products as Schedule II pharmaceuticals instead of Schedule III," Morrisey said in a statement. "This move will help to place some needed controls on these drugs, and hopefully make it harder for people to abuse them.

"Our office sent a letter to the DEA in March urging the change, and we are hopeful that this will be a positive step in fighting and preventing the scourge of prescription drug abuse in our state and the nation.

“This move will not prevent those men and women who legitimately need relief from chronic pain from accessing their medicine, but it will result in changes to how the medication, which includes the brands Vicodin and Lortab, may be prescribed.

"Schedule II medications usually require handwritten prescriptions with no refills, as well as other restrictions. Schedule III drugs, on the other hand, may be written or called in to a pharmacy and be refilled five times within six months.

“Many West Virginians are very familiar with the problems that prescription drug abuse and addiction can create. We believe it is a wise decision to reclassify hydrocodone-combination medication so they are handled with the same precautions as other pain medications, such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl."

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