GLEN OAKS - Sen. Charles Schumer has announced legislation aimed at taking a harder stance against hydrocodone prescriptions.

Schumer spoke today at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, Queens, where he said the drug, currently classified as a level 2 substance, should be more difficult to obtain.

The new classification would limit the number of refills patients are able to obtain and change how pharmacies store the drug. Moreover, Dr. Jeff Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICAAD), says the bill is a key component to dealing with the supply of opiates in the area.

Reynolds also says hydrocodone often serves as a gateway drug to heroin.

Schumer says he hopes to get the bipartisan measure passed within the year.

For extended interviews on prescription drug use on Long Island, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.