“Nearly 17 million fewer prescriptions were filled for opioid pain medications in the U.S. in 2015, driven largely by a significant decline in prescriptions for hydrocodone, according to a new report by IMS Health.
The report adds further evidence that the so-called “epidemic” of opioid abuse and addiction is increasingly being fueled by illegal opioids such as heroin and illicit fentanyl, not by prescription pain medication intended for patients.
Hydrocodone was reclassified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II controlled substance in October, 2014 – making 2015 the first full year that more restrictive prescribing rules for the pain medication were in effect. But hydrocodone prescriptions were falling even before the rescheduling. They peaked in 2011 at 137 million and fell to 97 million in 2015, a 30% decline.”
Source: PainNewsNetwork.org – April 15, 2016