HealthDay News — Significant cuts in the production of Schedule II opiate and opioid medications have been mandated by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The opioids in question include drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and morphine. The amount of these drugs allowed to be manufactured in the United States will be reduced by 25% or more in 2017, the DEA said. 

Production of certain opioid medications, such as hydrocodone, will be reduced by 34%, the agency said in a news release.

The DEA said it made the changes because legal prescriptions for these opioid medications have decreased, while illegal use of the drugs is on the rise.

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.5 million Americans older than 12 had illegally used prescription medications in the previous month. That rate was second only to marijuana and greater than past-month use of cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens combined, according to the DEA.

Reference

DEA Reduces Amount of Opioid Controlled Substances to be Manufactured in 2017 [press release]. Washington, DC: US Drug Enforcement Administration; October 4, 2016.

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