Despite state crackdown, orders rise for hydrocodone

CINDY HORSWEL, HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Updated 11:56 p.m., Thursday, November 24, 2011           

Prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone have jumped dramatically in the Houston region during the last year, despite stricter state regulations designed to curtail the flow of this addictive drug and others that have been blamed in numerous overdose deaths.

A state law that went into effect last year appeared to significantly reduce prescriptions for a trio of drugs - including hydrocodone - that had turned Houston into a national hot spot for prescription drug abuse, especially at pain management clinics.

But in the last year, the number of prescriptions just for hydro­codone have increased by 22 percent from 2.5 million to 3.1 million in the eight-county Houston region, according to state data. Harris County alone now accounts for nearly one-fourth of all hydrocodone prescriptions in Texas.

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