Designates tramadol as a schedule III narcotic drug, and eliminates hydrocodone from the list of schedule III narcotic drugs; provides that such compounds shall continue to be handled by licensed distributors in the manner applicable to schedule III controlled substances.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to designating tramadol as a schedule III narcotic drug; and to repeal paragraphs 3 and 4 of subdivision (e) of schedule III of section 3306 of such law relating to the designation of hydrocodone as a schedule III narcotic drug
PURPOSE: This bill would place greater controls on hydrocodone, a highly addictive prescription pain medication, by moving it from a schedule III to a schedule II controlled substance. It also includes Tramadol, another opioid based prescription pain medication, to the list of schedule III controlled substances.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill amends section 3306 of the public health law to remove from schedule III controlled substances under subdivision (e) paragraphs (3) and (4) which refer to those drug that contain hydrocodone. Hydrocodone, like oxycodone, is already listed as a schedule II opioid. By removing these references in schedule III to drugs containing hydrocodone, all such medication will be classified in the more restrictive schedule II. It also adds a new paragraph (10) to include Tramadol, a currently unscheduled opiod, as a schedule III controlled substance.
Section two of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Drugs containing hydrocodone are currently listed under schedule III of the controlled substance statute section 3306 of the Public Health Law. Hydrocodone itself is listed under schedule 11, however it is not sold in its pure form. Tramadol is not currently listed as a controlled substance.
JUSTIFICATION: New York State, like the nation, is in the midst of a severe prescription drug epidemic. Prescriptions for opioids, particularly oxycodone and hydrocodone, have skyrocketed and are second only to marijuana among abused drugs. In New York City drug related ER visits increased 40% between 2004 and 2009 with fatalities from opioid overdoses alone increasing by 20% between 2005 and 2009.
According to information shared at a Senate Roundtable on Prescription Drug Abuse held in August 2011 (see: http://www.nysenate.gov/committee/health) the dramatic rise in abuse of hydrocodone, which is sold as vicodin, norco and lortab, is of particular concern. These medications are as addictive as the better-known oxycodone, morphine and heroin, however the federal government, and in turn the states, list hydrocodone on the less restrictive schedule III of controlled substances. This means that
unlike schedule II controlled substances, prescribers can give up to 5 refills without a doctors visit.
The FDA and DEA have been studying whether to move hydrocodone based drugs into schedule II controlled substances for over ten years. During this period prescriptions for hydrocodone have soared as have deaths from overdoses and violent pharmacy robberies by those addicted or seduced by the lucrative black market for this highly sought after prescription.
Hydrocodone was the drug stolen in the June 2011 robbery of a Medford pharmacy in which four people were gunned down. Moving the drug to a schedule II narcotic will enhance existing penalties for people who possess or sell large quantities of hydro cod one. The Special Narcotics Prosecutor of NYC will also be able to prosecute cases involving hydrocodone in boroughs outside of Manhattan once the drug is reclassified.
Tradadol, another opioid with addictive qualities a little less than hydrocodone and oxycodone, has not been added to the list of controlled substances at all. While the federal government continues to study whether to include it on the schedule, the number of prescriptions for it continue to rise as do those seeking help for tramadol addiction. It has been recommended that Tramadol be included as a schedule III controlled substance. This would limit the number of refills for Tramadol to 5 without a doctors visit and pharmacists would have to store the medicine more securely.
New York can no longer wait for the federal government to take action. We must reschedule hydrocodone to restrict its use and add tramadol to the list of controlled substances as this bill does.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Savings as drug diversion and addiction are reduced.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5880 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE September 9, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. HANNON, MARCELLINO, KLEIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to designating trama- dol as a schedule III narcotic drug; and to repeal paragraphs 3 and 4 of subdivision (e) of schedule III of section 3306 of such law relat- ing to the designation of hydrocodone as a schedule III narcotic drug THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of subdivision (e) of schedule III of section 3306 of the public health law are REPEALED and a new paragraph 10 is added to read as follows: (10) TRAMADOL IN ANY QUANTITIES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13421-02-1