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Congress moves to put protections on painkiller

The Hill, March 21, 2013

A new bill to increase federal regulation of hydrocodone painkillers has already picked up 42 bipartisan cosponsors. Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) are leading the charge in the House, introducing the Safe Prescribing Act on Wednesday, which would move hydrocodone medications - such as Vicodin - from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug. The move would put them in line with other painkillers such as morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone and require the patient to present a doctor's written prescription in order to obtain the painkiller, among other protections. "Too many of our loved ones are dying every day from prescription drug overdoses and are abusing hydrocodone painkillers for non-medical purposes," Buchanan said in a press release.