FDA Tightening Restrictions On Opioids Like Lortab

Very recently, we are witnessing a shift in particular venue of psychoactive substances.  A very large portion of substances that cause numerous health risks and addictive qualities are prescription opiates, such as Vicodin and Lortab.  While opiate painkillers may be legal under medical prescription, many medications like Lortab have been known to possess addictive qualities.  Now, the Food and Drug Administration is requesting that Lortab and similar medication be rescheduled by federal standards to have more restricted access.

What is Lortab?

Lortab generally consists of a mixture of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.  Lortab’s addictive properties often derive from hydrocodone, an opiate-based ingredient in many prescription pain medications.  While the acetaminophen component does not possess addictive qualities when isolated, but it increases the painkilling effects of the hydrocodone.  Given this enhancement of the effects of the hydrocodone, Lortab can be known to have addictive properties.  Oftentimes, many individuals who are addicted to medications like Lortab may report similar negative withdrawal symptoms (which consist of diarrhea, restlessness, joint and bone pain, psycho-motor agitation and other involuntary movements, vomiting, anxiety and depression).  While medications like Lortab may not have as potent effects as other narcotics (like heroin), their accessibility to the general population makes them more of a concern in facets of substance use.  Drugs like Lortab with an increased accessibility may often be referred to as “gateway drugs,” as they commonly act as a stepping stone of sorts to more serious narcotics (such as methamphetamines, heroin, or immensely potent doses of other drugs). For more information on Lortab addiction, talk to an addiction specialist at (866) 578-7471 .

FDA Scheduling of Lortab

In response to this increasingly apparent issue, the Food and Drug Administration has been making numerous recommendations in creating more stringent restrictions on opiate-based substances.  Most mind-altering substance are classified under five different schedules.  A schedule I (like heroin and methamphetamine) substance is a highly restricted chemical that is not to be used for medical purposes and is considered to be highly addictive.  Schedule II drugs are less addictive than schedule I drugs, but are still to be administrated under great caution in medical capacity.  These schedules continue until they reach Schedule V, in which the effects are considered to be less potent.  Currently, opiate-based medication like Vicoden and Lortab are schedule III substances, which means that they can still be somewhat prominent, but should be taken with a doctor’s prescription.  The FDA is heavily recommending that these medications be re-classified as Schedule II, marking an increased restriction on the access to these substances.

The Impact of Federal Restrictions

If these restrictions were to take place in the near future, there may be physical change we could be witnessing.  First, we would quickly be noticing a marked decrease in the ability to gain access to opiate-based medication like Vicodin or Lortab, both in the medical field and in the illegal prescription drug trafficking organizations.  In addition, we may witness a temporary mass escalation of drug use to more potent substances, like methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine or more powerful sedatives to fill the addiction when the supply of prescription drugs runs out.  However, while there may be initial repercussions, our society could later witness a decrease in opiate addiction, as another gateway to other drugs would be closed.

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