With abuse of painkillers steadily on the rise, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended tighter controls on how doctors prescribe these drugs, according to The New York Times.

A debate over whether painkillers that contain the narcotic hydrocodone should be controlled as tightly are more powerful painkillers such as OxyContin has been argued for years in the medical community. Doctors use the less powerful drugs to treat pain from injuries, arthritis, dental extractions and other problems.

The change proposed by the FDA would reduce the number of refills patients could get before going back to see their doctor by half to 90 days. Currently, a patient can refill a prescription for such drugs five times over a six-month period before needing a new prescription.

“These are very difficult tradeoffs that our society has to make,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s center for drug evaluation and research. “The reason we approve these drugs is for people in pain. But we can’t ignore the epidemic on the other side.” Read the full details here:

NYT: FDA seeks tighter control on prescriptions for class of painkillers

This effort by the FDA is a start that is long overdue. Too many patients are prescribed narcotics with minimal oversight for their injuries, end up addicted, and, in some cases, even die from accidental overdoses and drug interactions.

If you or anyone in your family has suffered serious side effects or damages from a medication error you should seek legal investigation immediately. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.