FDA may restrict access to hydrocodone

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A father, who lost his son to a powerful addiction, hopes a new mission will end painkiller abuse once and for all.

A greater push is underway to tighten control of hydrocodone, one of the most addictive painkillers on the market. If the FDA approves a drug panel's recommendation, Senator Charles Schumer and a local father-turned-activist believe more lives will be saved.

Avi Israel's son Michael took his own life after battling prescription drug abuse. Israel just returned from Washington D.C. where he served on a panel that fought to move highly addictive and widely abused painkillers that contain hydrocodone to a more restrictive schedule II list. The federal government would view hydrocodone as a more dangerous drug, which would restrict its use.

"This in itself being a schedule II will make doctors more aware of prescribing, will not prescribe it as often, will not prescribe it in large quantities," Israel explained.

Right now patients who take hydrocodone can get refills for six months. If the FDA approves the change, you won't be able to get refills. Instead patients will need to get a new prescription from their doctor in person, and not over the phone. The number of pills prescribed, for something like having wisdom teeth removed, will also be less.

"It's a huge step," Israel said. "I'm really happy they did it; I just hope they follow through now."

Senator Schumer says he will be pushing hard for this change because he believes it will save lives in western New York and across the country.

"I don't know how it would have impacted Michael. I'm hoping it will impact other people in the future so people will not suffer what we suffered," Israel said.

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