When you have an injury at work and receive workers’ compensation benefits, your employer is responsible for paying for medical treatment that affects a cure, provides relief, or restores you to suitable employment. Almost every type of injury at work causes some degree of pain. Pain medication is one of the most common types of medical treatment used to relieve pain. There are many different types of pain medication, but the most prescribed pain medication is hydrocdone – either by itself or in medications which are known as hydrocodone combination products. There are many different hydrocodone combination products, but some of the most common include Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin, and Norco (all of which are combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
DEA Reclassifies Hydrocodone
The Drug Enforcement Agency recently reclassified hydrocodone under the Controlled Subtances Act. Hydrocodone was a Schedule III drug but it is now a Schedule II drug. This reclassification will officially go into effect on October 6. If you are being prescribed hydrocodone or a hydrocodone combination product for a workers’ compensation injury, then you should be aware of how this change in classification under the Controlled Substances Act could affect you.
Effects of Hydrocodone Reclassification
This reclassification affects the prescription of hydrocodone in at least a couple of ways.
- Prescriptions for Schedule II drugs almost always have to be in writing. The doctor cannot just call the prescription into the pharmacy or fax it over.
- Schedule II drugs cannot have refills. All Schedule II drug prescriptions must be original. As a result, if you are being prescribed hydrocodone or a hydrocodone combination product, you could have to see the doctor every time you need a prescription. If it is difficult for you to see the doctor every month. the doctor may be able to write you a series of three prescriptions with “do not fill until” dates on them.
Why Was Hydrocodone Reclassified
One major reason for the change in classification is an attempt to cut down on the amount of hydrocodone that is being used for nonmedical purposes. Unfortunately, many people misuse hydrocodone and other opiates and become addicted. Hopefully, making hydrocodone a little more difficult to obtain will cut down on misuse.
Where Can I Get More Information
If you are looking for more information about the reclassification of hydrocodone, there is a very good article by David Kroll on the Forbes website. For more information about prescription medication treatment for a workers’ compensation injury, you should read our blog article about how to deal with difficulties getting prescriptions filled in a workers’ compensation case. Also, if you have questions, you can get a free consultation with one of our attorneys specializing in workers’ compensation by calling the phone number or completing the “Need Help” form on the right of this page.