FDA To Place Limits On Narcotics Prescriptions

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

The FDA plans to place new limits on prescriptions of two dozen popular narcotics.
It is part of an effort to reduce the deaths and injuries caused by abuse of drugs like Oxycontin.
We talked to a man who says he became an expert at fooling doctors into writing prescriptions he did not need.

Daniel Natter says he abused narcotics for years.

Natter says, "Oxycontin, heroin, and basically every opiate that's available."

His arm was severed as a child, causing permanent nerve damage. After his addiction started through experimentation, Natter used his childhood injury as a reason for doctors to prescribe more powerful drugs.

Natter says, "I was actually able to go to a pain clinic and just report pain in my arm, and it really didn't exist."

Oxycontin was at the top of his agenda.

Natter says, "Every month I would go in and say, 'No this isn't working for me, I need something stronger,' you know whatever I had to say."

But a new program known as REMS - Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies - will allow the FDA to place strong restrictions on the distribution of oxycontin and 23 other drugs. Proponents of the legislation that made REMS possible say it's long overdue.

Operation UNITE Director Karen Engle says, "This should have happened years ago, and maybe we wouldn't be where we are today."

Rep. Hal Rogers says, "I even went to the FDA in 2003 and testified requesting that the FDA change the rules by which Oxycontin can be prescribed."

No immediate changes are planned, but next month the FDA will begin meetings with manufacturers, patient and consumer advocates, and health care professionals to develop guidelines.

The FDA is planning a public meeting in late spring or early summer for broader input.
Daniel Natter is currently in recovery at Chad's Hope center in Clay County.

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