Sen. Charles Schumer is continuing his assault on the misuse of prescription drugs with a proposal to tighten control over the painkiller hydrocodone.
The idea by Schumer, a Democrat, is to reclassify hydrocondone, among the mostly highly abused and widely prescribed prescription painkillers, to a Schedule II drug. That would make it harder for physicians to write a prescription for it.
"They won't be able to call up on the phone. There are guidelines for how much to prescribe for what types of maladies and things like that," Schumer explained during a press conference in Syracuse Monday. "Right now there are no limits because when the prescription rules were put out for hydrocodone, it wasn't really abused."
Getting hydrocodone under control also will help corral an increase in heroin trafficking in central New York, according to Schumer. He noted that last week, 11 people were arrested on charges of dealing heroin in Syracuse.
Schumer says people, addicted to hydrocodone, often turn to heroin because the root of both drugs is opium.
"The high is very similar, and so if you're addicted to one of the prescription opioids," he says, "it's easy to satisfy your addiction with heroin."
Schumer says he has bipartisan support for the legislation, and is confident it will pass the Senate. He will continue lobbying for the change with a stop in Rochester Tuesday.