Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid analgesic narcotic used to treat and relieve pain. The most well known brand name is Vicodin which is hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen. It is the most prescribed medication in the country. Prior to August of 2014 Vicodin and other medications that were mixtures with hydrocodone were classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a schedule three drug meaning that it was less likely for abuse and therefore less restricted. Because the drug has grown in popularity and grown in abuse potential the DEA rescheduled the drug to schedule two which means it will be more strictly regulated. Other schedule two drugs include oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.
Shortly after the reclassification the United States Sentencing Commission decided to review the federal sentencing guidelines as it related to Hydrocodone. On January 9, 2015 the USSC proposed an amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to provide penalties for previously schedule three Hydrocodone drugs to equal drugs classified under schedule two. Depending upon the circumstances the increase can be as small as a 10 months or as much as 100 months more that a schedule three narcotic.
Based upon the elimination of schedule three hydrocodone it is very likely this amendment will become effective in November of 2015.