The amount of post-surgery opioids in prescriptions actually increased after the DEA placed restrictions on the distribution of the drug, hydrocodone, according to the Washington Times.
After the DEA classified hydrocodone as a more restrictive “Schedule II” drug in 2014, researchers from the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that the amount of opioids increased despite the number of prescriptions decreasing.
Dr. Joe Habbouche, a study co-author and surgery resident at Michigan Medicine told the Washington Times, “Our main thought was that since surgeons were more limited in their ability to prescribe extra pain medications after the patient left the hospital, they prescribed more up-front to avoid the risk of patients running out.”
The study was published in August and analyzed almost 22,000 Michigan patients between 2012 and 2015. Researchers found that prescriptions increased the amount of opioids by an average of seven pills.
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