Opioid Dispensing Rates in Workers Comp Cases
Virtually every day an article appears in the news highlighting the United States’ opioid crisis. That is not surprising, when one considers that more than 130 people die each day from opioid overdoses. This serious public health crisis affects the entire country’s social and economic welfare.
Recently, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) conducted a 27-state study of pain medication prescriptions filled post-injury between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. The purpose was meant to help public officials to better predict which injured workers were more or less likely to be prescribed opioids for pain relief.
The study analyzed a number of possible factors, including worker age, gender, type of injury, industry, company size and location. The hope was that such information would assist in setting priorities for targeting interventions, and cut down on inappropriate opioid prescriptions in workers’ compensation cases.
Who Is More Likely to Be Prescribed Opioids in a Workers Comp Case?
The WCRI study indicated that workers in the mining and construction industries, those in rural counties or those who suffer fractures, carpal tunnel and neurologic spine pain were more likely to receive prescriptions for opioids than workers in other industries or locations or with other injuries. Age was also a factor, showing that younger works were less likely to be prescribed opioids than older employees. Injured workers residing in metropolitan counties were less likely to receive opioid prescriptions.
The following are some sample findings from the study on Opioid usage in workers’ comp cases:
• Mining and construction workers receiving the same injury as a worker in a different industry and who received pain medications were more likely to receive opioids, as well as to receive opioids for a longer period of time and at higher doses.
• Injured workers residing in rural and very rural counties were more likely to receive opioid prescriptions, again in higher amounts and for a longer duration.
• Older workers were more likely to receive opioid prescriptions compared to younger workers.
• A higher proportion of workers who sustained fractures, carpal tunnel, and neurologic spine pain received at least one opioid prescription for pain relief than those with other types of injuries.
Workers Comp Attorneys Can Help
If you were prescribed opioids for a work related injury, there are alternatives to help you avoid the downward spiral of opioid addiction. Talk you your health care providers about alternative treatments, and better access to cutting-edge pain management and treatment services.
And, if your workers’ comp insurer will not pay for the alternative pain management treatments, talk to your workers’ comp attorney to advocate on your behalf for access to less dangerous treatment options than opioid prescriptions.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp attorney immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.
Call our Workers Compensation attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047