Prescription Drugs

Congress Mulls New Restrictions on Hydrocodone

Would reduce number of pills prescribed, place restrictions on refills

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Taking aim at "America's most abused narcotic," congressional lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would place tighter restrictions on the painkiller hydrocodone, which is a key contributor to the nation's prescription drug death epidemic.

Sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, hydrocodone-based medications "are some of the most potent and addictive narcotics on the market," U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said in a statement.

Buchanan is one of four lawmakers — two Republicans and two Democrats — who introduced the Safe Prescribing Act of 2013. The unusual display of bipartisan support extended to more than 40 additional members of Congress from both parties who signed on as co-sponsors.