Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Many doctors find it difficult to prescribe high dosages of painkillers to patients because many of them are highly addictive. Prescription drug dependency may require individuals to seek help at a rehabilitation facility to detoxify.
This week, U.S. senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked federal officials to look into the doses of medication being prescribed to individuals under Medicare and Medicaid. After studying prescription rates across the country, Grassley concluded that there were few penalties for doctors who signed off on high doses of painkillers, according to the Miami Herald.
“These programs can’t spare a dollar for prescription drugs that aren’t properly prescribed,” Grassley told the Associated Press. “The conclusion might be that there isn’t any fraud, but it’s important to reach a conclusion one way or the other and fix whatever is broken.”
Patients may develop a dependency on prescription drugs if they are administered in high doses. Rehabilitation facilities can help addicts recover, but Grassley’s goal is to prevent the situation from happening in the first place.